Do you enjoy camping? I don’t. Never did. I even grew up near the great Rocky Mountains. No, not even camping there changed my impression of the experience.
Maybe it was the way my dad liked to camp. We had a huge army green tent that smelled like mildew. Used in a WWI battle? Perhaps. It was gross.
I never slept well from fear of bears. No really…Bears. Mountains have them. Thought I’d wake up seeing breath come in from the side of the flimsy tent. Just before it mauled me while my family saved themselves by making a run for it.
Things I remember about camping. It was cold at night. No running water. No day-to-day essentials. Lousy food. Feeling claustrophobic in my sleeping bag. Smoke from campfire choking me. Having to hide from my brother as I peed in the woods. Roughing it was never my idea of relaxation.
I did witness some funny moments while camping however. My family and I used to drive from Colorado to Ohio to visit relatives. In lieu of a hotel room, my dad always like to park at a KOA campground, pitch a tent and cook our dinner over a Coleman propane tabletop grill.
We usually stopped somewhere in Kansas…I don’t remember the town. Who cares where exactly. All of Kansas looks the same. Fields of wheat. And corn. And more wheat still….The weather was looking pretty ominous as we parked. Still, my dad had it in his head that the family was camping out. Come hell or high water….
After setting up our tent, Dad began dinner…Mmmm…Burgers on the propane grill. Sounds good right? Except his entire family was waiting in the van, terrified of the black clouds forming in the sky. And they were gathering…quickly.
We watched in amazement as our seemingly fearless Dad fired up the grill and made hamburger patties. Soon smoke was billowing from the little grill. "Not long until dinner now..", we thought…
Only now it started to rain. Dad kind of brushed that off…Rain. So What. Then hail. OK, kind of hurts getting pelted with that. I sat amused as he swatted at it like flies. Then larger hail still. That kind of ruined the grilling vibe he had going…Now cue the wickedly evil lightening and gale force winds. Gusts so strong they collapsed the tent.
Next thing we knew, we saw Dad running for his life among bolts of lightening while carrying the grill. The burgers were still sizzling on top. He threw it into the back of our van. We were screaming in terror.
We got a hotel that night. Thank god. I had to hide my shit-eating grin as we drove to the Holiday Inn.
Did I mention I hate camping?