Daily Prompt – The Evolution of My Camping Experiences

Daily writing prompt
Have you ever been camping?
Photo by Mac DeStroir on Pexels.com

Today’s writing prompt: “Have you ever been camping?”

Seemed like an odd question to me. A better question for me and most of the people I know would have been: “Have you never been camping?” Most of the people I know either do currently camp or have at one time in their life gone camping.

I started camping so long back that I do not remember my first camping trip. Why do I not remember it? Because I was a newborn the first time. My family camped almost every summer weekend from the time I was born until I moved out of my parent’s home after graduating from college.

Upon further reflection, the title for this post is: The Evolution of My Camping Experiences.

Thinking back on my experiences the way we camped changed dramatically during my lifetime.

Full disclosure, I have not ‘camped’ in several years. My idea of a great camping experience now is a VRBO or condo within a short drive of the great outdoors.

From the beginning. I was born in the early 60s, last of the Baby Boomers. If I had to guess the first type of camping, I experienced was from birth until roughly 10 years old. This camping involved a large tent, cots and sleeping bags, a camp stove, and an old Coleman lantern.

My parents owned a station wagon. Dad built a slide in cabinet organizer for the back tailgate. It was filled with things like plates, bowls, pots & pans, a coffee pot, silverware, cups, etc.

Dad converted an antique 10-gallon milk can into a water container with a spigot on the bottom. Mom and dad would wrap the can in burlap to help keep it cool for the weekend. I remember the water always being cold, so there must’ve been ice involved somehow. The four of us would share 10 gallons of drinking water. Water used to wash dishes, and such would be pumped from a well.

Not the same can, but the same type and size. Dad installed a spigot on the bottom for easy dispensing of water in our ‘milk” can.

Enter the next stage of camping. Dad bought an old Ford school bus and converted it into camper. Dad pulled out all the seats and inserted a table that converted into a bed for two, a couch that pulled out to become a bed for two, two bunk beds, a sink, a full refrigerator, a water tank, a camper toilet, and a forced air furnace. We would camp this way until I left the home for college in 1979.

Again, not mom and dad’s bus camper, but very similar. Theirs was dark blue with light blue stripes.

After the nest was empty, dad sold the bus camper and purchased a slide in camper for his pickup truck. They used it only a few times. I used it occasionally as well.

You guessed it, not mom and dad’s but darned close…

During my 3rd year of college, dad purchased a trailer that was on leased land at Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa. We ‘camped’ in this trailer weekends all year long for several years. Until I was in my early 20s.

In the late 80s mom and dad upgraded from a trailer on leased land to buying a cottage with 100’ of lakefront on the same lake. They would own this property for the next 10 years. “Camping” in a cottage was right up my alley.

From 2005 until 2015 we camped one weekend per year at the WI region water ski show tournament in a rented 36’ camper. This camper was delivered, set up and hauled away by the guy we rented it from.

Since then? No camping. VRBOs and condos and an occasional hotel near our destinations.

One exception. In 2017 Beth and I ‘camped’ in a large sailboat that slept 10 in the British Virgin Islands. Seven nights in a sailboat’s below deck bunk. A small price to pay for a week in paradise.

BVI “camping” for Beth & R Dub below deck in our bunk area.
R Dub enjoying ‘camping’ on deck in the BVI.
Our BVI ‘camper’

Memorable moments while camping?

The school bus camper was a popular means of traveling the USA in the 70s by people commonly referred to as Hippies. One year while vacationing our travel family which included my dad’s parents, my parents, my brother and me found ourselves in the middle of a hippy convoy. The entire line of bus campers, probably 20 vehicles long was pulled over by the Kansas State Patrol. Each bus was boarded by law enforcement. When we were boarded, dad informed the officers that we were NOT part of the convoy. We were just stuck in the middle. It seems that the daughter of a Senator was onboard one of the vehicles. Once we were cleared, the State Patrol escorted our bus past the convoy and we proceeded to our destination in Texas far from our hippie friends.

I do not remember how old I was, but one weekend a tornado touched down in our campground while tent camping at a campsite on Lewis & Clark Lake between Nebraska and South Dakota, on the Nebraska side of the lake. We hid under the station wagon. My mind’s eye remembers seeing the tornado travel from the northwest to a spot north and east of where we were camping. I’ve been fascinated by tornadoes ever since and have recurring tornado dreams.

So…Have I ever camped? Damned straight I have.


Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

2 thoughts on “Daily Prompt – The Evolution of My Camping Experiences

  1. I have also been a camper for a good share of my life! We started in a tent for many years, then a camper that would basically get us off the ground, from there it was several Jayco pop up campers until we went to a permanent on site upright camper. While I also like using Verbo, I miss all of the camping adventures, the friendships made and great memories!

    I still go visit family and friends who camp which fortunately I have many that do! It was very hard to give it up when dad got ill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I love(d) about camping, and we are not ruling out a two day one night hike when Beth’s knees are whole, is the camp fires and the bonding with your fellow campers. I love to hike and I love to be in the water. We’ve had several conversations about maybe buying a nice self contained camper. Maybe some day! Thanks Di!


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