I am writing this from my happiest of happy places. I am currently sitting at a picnic table in my campsite with a fire going. It is still fairly early in the day (yet another one of my happy places, morning). The sun is shining. Kids are still sleeping. I have a little buddy that jumps on the table every now and then to see if I have anything to offer him. No squirrel, I am not sharing my coffee with you.
Some of my fondest memories growing up involve camping. As a family, we would head out to a lake to enjoy the weekend. At times, a whole week! I now know that my Mom would spend a good portion of her time packing the trailer in preparation for us to enjoy that weekend. Back then, I never put any thought into how the food, clothing and entertainment all made it into the trailer. I sure do now! (Thanks Mom!). And let’s not forget Dad… gassing up the car, making sure the trailer was in working order, and the patience he would exhibit as we lost yet another hook while fishing.
I love to be outdoors. All those fond memories I have as a kid, I have tried to pass them down to my kids. Every one of my kids has starting their camping career in a tent, as a relatively newborn baby. Now you wanna talk about work! All the bins I use to have, loaded with camping gear and food. Each of my kids have been camping since they were born. Yup, crazy lady in campsite 32 with a brand new baby. In a tent! At first it was just myself and my oldest. Then we met the man that would become the father to not only her, but 3 others as well. On weekends when we would get the chance, we would load up the Cherokee and head out to the lake.
The tent camping lasted for a number of years (the Cherokee, no. The camping, yes). It all changed the year that my Mom and Dad went on a 6 week trip to Alaska. They weren’t taking their trailer…. Oh yes! Hey Mom and Dad, can we borrow your trailer??? I can still remember my ex saying this was going to cost him money. And he was right, once we had the comforts of that trailer, I knew I had to have one on my own!
Our first trailer was a Duck. Ok, that wasn’t the brand, but what I called it. It was a 28’ Mallard. With cupboards to put all our camping gear in! (if you’ve never gone from a tent to a trailer, this statement would just not make sense to you). It was a pretty plain jane kinda trailer. Nothing fancy. But it held all our stuff. I was so happy when I put those plastic bins to other uses! No more lugging around all that shit! It was in the trailer!
From the Mallard, we stepped up to a Cougar (that name itself holds some special laughs. Picture 4 women at a county music festival). It was a little bigger and had even more room for camping gear. Included was a slide out (4 kids, 2 adults. Yes, the extra 2 feet was appreciated). The extra room called for a bigger truck. So the ex wasn’t too upset. He got a new truck outta the deal!
As a stay at home Mom, I loved to go camping during the week. The camp sites were nearly empty. Ok, the real reason, I didn’t have to do laundry or clean the house while I was camping! The kids would be able to just run free! Ride their bikes anywhere, ok almost anywhere (hey, don’t you go down to the lake without me!). Problem was, I had to rely on my ex to get the trailer out to the campsite then pick us up again. The ex had started his new business at that point and I felt like I was imposing when I wanted to go camping. So I did what any crazy ass, stuck at home, mother to 4 kids would do… I asked him to teach me how to hook it up, pull it, and back it into a camping space. Oh the memories on those lessons are probably best left unspoken! Let’s just say, I eventually learned.
Then the divorce happened. In my mind, I was the one that loved camping. I was the one that took the kids in the summers while he was working. I was the one that bought the food, loaded the trailer, got us out camping. So I should get the trailer in the divorce. Right?? Well, apparently he wanted the trailer too. Imagine my shock when as we were separating assets when he laid claim to the trailer. Wait a min… YOU want the trailer?? Do you even remember how to hook it up, pull it and back it into a campsite??!! Without going in to details on that collaborative divorce meeting, it ended with me calling my dad.
Me: “Hey Dad, whatcha doin this weekend?”
Dad: “Not much, why?”
Me: “Can you teach me to drive this boat?”
Dad: “The boat? Why the boat?”
Me: “I ended up with the boat. Not the trailer”
Dad: “How did you end up with the boat, not the trailer?”
Me: “How about we don’t talk about that. Can you teach me to drive the boat or not?”
So back to tenting for me. After just under 10 years of having all the camping gear neatly backed into a trailer, I was back to plastic bins. It will be an adventure I told the kids! We bought this big ass tent that would sleep a small army. All the camping gear we would need. Besides, we had the boat! This will be fun! (I believe I was trying to convince myself more than the kids).
The tenting lasted a couple of years before I said enough of this shit! I need a trailer! Off to the RV show in the spring I went. In and out of trailers. Looking for just the right one. Then finally… there it was. The Tracer Ultra Lite, Touring Edition. I found it. I bought it. I LOVE it. Packing all our camping gear into it was like a small victory for me. I, once again, had a trailer.
I have pulled this trailer up to our favorite camping spot many times over the last 3 summers. I even pulled it down to Utah to visit with my oldest son who was attending school down there. I have driven thru rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City (trust me, no small feat!). I have almost taken out a gas pump with it (ok, sometimes I misjudge the distance when this thing is hooked up). The point in all of this, I have my freedom back! That is what this trailer is to me.
The kids laugh at my camping now. They tell me I have become a Princess Camper. I have my Keurig coffee maker, my Margaritaville maker, my ice machine and my big ass queen size bed (that I don’t share!!). Princess Camper or not… I am back to enjoying my happiest of happy places. Out in the wilderness, chasing squirrels away from my coffee. Here, you little pest, have a peanut!