May 11, 2013

Big Things for Blog Post 200

I saw the most enormous recreational vehicle the other day. It was nearly twice as long as my neighbour's RV, which is the size of a small motel room and much fancier. She gave me a tour one day. The kitchen was complete with cupboards above and below, a decent amount of counter space along with a tidy sink, stove and refrigerator. The dining area could be expanded out the side with the push of a button, and the bedroom was fitted with a queen-sized bed, wood paneling, carpeting and mood lighting - and hers is a moderately sized 'fifth wheel trailer', called such because the front of it attaches over the box of her truck. Plenty of people around here have nearly the same one, so I suppose one could call it the average.

The R.V. I saw the other day blew by me on the highway when I was running and just seemed, like a train, to keep on going. It reminded me of another RV I saw years ago. I remember driving (nearly twenty-one years ago now) on the Alaska Highway with my very new husband, when we were passed by a bus. Except this was no ordinary bus. It was a private bus with dark windows and a pastel pink and blue paint job which exactly matched the expensive S.U.V. it was towing behind it. After the bus pulled into our lane, purring as it went, we saw the brand name in gold, three-dimensional script: Ferrari. I am fairly sure that Ferrari does not make recreational vehicles of that sort, so the bus we saw must have been a custom job for someone. "Ooooooo," we both said, and wondered who was hidden behind those tinted windows.

With our camping gear stuffed in the back of our Toyota Tercel hatchback, we were slung low to the road, the RVs towering high above us. After living and working a few months at Panorama Mountain Village resort in the high and dry cattle country of the eastern part of our province, the dry heat was what we were used to, and anyway, we had no air conditioning in that car. We drove a long way without enough water for drinking and few places to buy any bottled drinks. While the travelers in the RVs enjoyed the luxuries we went without, a place to go pee when they needed to, cupboards full of food and a fridge full of cold beverages, we sweltered in the hot afternoons and listened to music from our cassette collection. We arrived at the campground and, if it had showers, we gratefully washed off the road dust and grimy sweat. We slept alright, everything considered, in our much needed bug-proof tent each night of our three day journey from the south of the province 'due up,' as Daffy Duck would have it, to The North to take part in a seven-day river rafting expedition down the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers.

Living near the TransCanada Highway now, we see giant RVs, although I have yet to see another Ferrari bus, all the time, especially at this time of year. They don't impress me much anymore. I think of the amount of gas they guzzle and shudder. We are car campers and always have been. I am, however, especially as I get older, open to moderately priced and environmentally friendly change.

It was when we started camping on the West Coast, land of fog and mist and the occasional downpour, that I found myself slightly envying those with trailers. While I have never desired the Las Vegas-hotel-suite-on-wheels sort of experience, it did occur to me that being able to sleep up off the damp ground might not be a bad thing. I began to dream of a pop-up tent/trailer hybrid such as some of our friends had, with storage on board and a simple fold out kitchen on the side. I would see people pulling these tent-trailers behind their mini-vans and think, 'I could get into that.'

We still don't have a tent -trailer for two reasons:

 1)  So far, my husband is a camping purist, which means tents, sleeping bags, roll-up mats, and a camp stove in dubious working order that will burn the hair off your arms when you are trying to light it. I don't try.

2)  It is hard to justify arguing for one when we rarely go camping these days. Sad, but true, although I am determined we go this summer.

So, I will continue to be fine with sleeping in our tent as long as I can have the following: two roll-up mats to sleep on, and my husband being the first one up in the morning, boiling the water for my coffee. I will even enjoy the experience, after the first night, of course. I never have a good first night anywhere away from home. Not even if I were to sleep on a Ferrari bus.

Yes, this is my 200th post, believe it or not. I started this blog back in the fall of 2009, and it has been a rich experience, meeting other bloggers from around the world and writing all these letters. 
I also want to welcome the two people who have recently joined this blog. I hope you like it here.


  1. Tell him to get over himself. There comes a point when no matter how fit sleeping on the ground is a recipe for damp invading the joints. And frankly, since you spent a honeymoon on bare ground you've more than done your duty. Hell at our latitudes you need a tent with hydrostatic head so high that it becomes a plastic airless bag. :-D

  2. First of all, congratulations on your bicentennial post!

    We are purists too, what's camping if not feral?! We do have a full-sized van, however, that could serve as a place for all of us to sleep in the case of bad weather or bears. At least I think it will keep out the bears.

    I've seen a few huge RV's. Why bother leaving home if to take it all along?

    1. Thank, Abby!
      I've seen your U.S. bears. You might be safe, and you might not ;)
      I remember pulling into a KOA in Washington State and seeing a virtual neighbourhood of huge RV's all lined up with people sitting outside on lawn furniture chatting with each other. Kind of funny, and it occurred to me they might all be neighbours back home, too!

  3. Big congratulations to you on your 200th post. My camping days are over but I did get back on a bike recently. The last time was when we cycled round Lake Constance through Switzerland, Austria and Germany. I'm still amazed I managed that.

    1. Thank you Lucille! As for your cycling trip, I'm sure you were so busy admiring the scenery that you forgot about your sore legs?

  4. I see the RVs, too, and imagine myself traveling across country in one - which is different from picking a site to camp.

    My girls have done camping trips with groups, but each time, they had a bed to sleep on - not guite "feral" as Abby says, or as you and your family tend to do.

    It's on my bucket list. Wish me luck. And good luck to you, too, to get back out into the "wilderness" while experiencing whatever comfort you desire.

    I started blogging a year before you, but it seems that we started together. Let's keep at it...together. :)

  5. Congratulations!

    My husbands idea of camping is a Holiday Inn.

    I used to poo-poo his 'wussiness' but now I'm with him all the way!

  6. I did some legal work for a man who wanted to sue the business which sold him a top of the time RV. He claimed it was lemon (and rightly so, it turned out) because the wiring from the satellite dish to the master bedroom was not done properly, and the washing machine was off balance so when it was on the spin cycle it shook the entire vehicle. Yes, I said satellite TV, master bedroom, and washing machine. On wheels. For what that thing cost to buy, drive, and maintain, I would rather fly and stay in a hotel.

  7. Oh, and congratulations on your 200th. And Happy Anniversary a week late. And I'm sure I missed a birthday, so Happy Birthday.


I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!