Sunday, April 28, 2019
My childhood memories are full of family camping trips. We spent our summers camping as much as we could. We had a camper that mounted on to the back of my Dad's pickup truck and we often traveled in it. Back then, it wasn't required to wear seatbelts. And riding in the back of a pickup, or inside a mounted camper, was perfectly legal.
Our camper had a big bed situated over the top of the truck cab. There was a big window in the front and smaller ones on the sides. My brothers, sisters and I would all pile up there, laying side by side, as we traveled so we could all see out the window.
There was a table and benches that also converted into a bed, as well as a small bunk that folded down above it. Still, there was no where near enough beds to accommodate all of us, so we had tents as well.
We would often just set the tents up in our yard and sleep in them, or just sleep in the camper. Dad would build a big campfire and we would roast hot dogs and marshmallows. We even had outdoor party lights strung through the trees around our little campsite. We had so much fun.
For a few years, my parents kept a large lot at a particular campground that we liked. Dad would park the camper there and leave it year round. Then we would just jump in the cars and make the drive each time we wanted to go camping. It was great. There was both a swimming pool and a lake to swim in. There was a big playground for us kids to play in and tons of trails for walking or riding bicycles. We spent the majority of our summers there.
Eventually Dad traded the truck camper in for a motorhome. My siblings had all moved out by this time, and it was just Mom, Dad and me. We made several trips from Ohio to Arizona, or from Ohio to Tennessee, in that motorhome. It was nice because it had everything we needed. Water, bathroom, stove, refrigerator; even a TV and VCR combo. I often watched movies as we drove down the freeway.
But my favorite memories of camping were the times we camped out in our own backyard, or in my Aunt and Uncle's yard. All of my siblings would bring their tents or campers and we would have one big campout. We would cook on grills and spend the entire weekend out there. Sometimes we would stay the entire week, with people only leaving long enough to go to work if they had to.
We enjoyed spending time together, playing yard darts, horseshoes or just regular cards. I really miss those days.
I'm hoping to give my kids some camping memories of their own. We've never really had a chance to take them camping. But we're planning to remedy that this summer. So throughout the summer, watch for my posts on Camping and Outdoor Gear, as well as some family outdoor activites.