I am not a dirty kind of gal. Scratch that, I mean I don't like to be dirty. Wait, that still doesn't sound quite right. I like to be clean, and have all modern conveniences around me. I'm getting closer to it now. In short, camping in a tent is not my cup of tea (not that I like tea, but you know what I mean).
I think most women would agree that daily showers and 4 walls are the way to go. However, my husband had a mother who didn't mind backpacking for a week on a dirt trail with a tent strapped to her back and eating freeze-dried food, so he grew up believing that was a normal summer holiday. Then he married me, and I told him my idea of a holiday, and it certainly didn't include stew in a one inch cube that inflated when you poured boiling water on it.
We tented once when Ava was 5 months old. She didn't sleep well the first night, crying often, and around 4 am when I was very frustrated I realized that summer pajamas in a tent in a valley in August was not great for her, considering I was in flannel jammies and socks in my fluffy sleepy bag. I bundled her up warm and she slept great for the rest of the trip, but the damage was done that first night, and my great tenting adventure was over.
Jason is a rugged, hearty kind of guy. He likes the outdoors. Bugs don't phase him. Temperature doesn't rattle him. He just likes to be outside. I'm more of an indoor, hot-house plant type, but in Alberta, where virtually every person owns a trailer and goes camping all spring, summer and fall, I began to be sucked into the camping vortex two years ago. I did have my high standards, and we found a tent trailer which adhered to them. It was pimped out with hot water, a furnace, a porta-potty and a king bed for us. We could pull it with our van.
I had fun packing it up and going camping in it two summers ago. I was up off the ground and it was fun to see the kids reveling in the camping experience. I started to slowly come around to why people did this. As long as we camped with power and showers, my basic needs were met.
Last spring, Jason's CR-V died suddenly and we needed another vehicle. Jason felt the Alberta pressure to own a 1/2 ton, and soon his transformation from BC boy to Alberta man was complete and he was driving a truck. It took about 5 minutes of the truck sitting in our driveway for me to realize that I could now be in a trailer with 4 hard walls and a real toilet instead of our tent trailer (I really did come to love the tent trailer, but carrying a potty full of my own pee to the bathroom in the morning was not my favourite part).
Suddenly I was on Kijiji every 30 minutes looking for the right trailer at the right price, and I found it days before our planned May long weekend camping trip: a 1999 Terry 24' that smelled and looked brand spanking new, and the price was $3K lower than it should've been. For me, it was perfect. I fell hard and fast for this piece of stylish outdoor living. You could say we formed an instant bond.
We camped quite a bit in it last summer, each trip better than the one before. I could not believe my transformation from hotel-preferring girl to camping fanatic. Having the trailer made all of the difference. Then came the fateful August long weekend at the church camp my family has attended since I was 12 years old. One of the fiercest hailstorms on record hit hard on the Sunday of the long weekend around 1 am. Besides terrorizing us and our kids, the storm pummeled my beautiful trailer, and created an instant insurance write-off.
I was devastated to say goodbye to my Terry trailer. I wanted to keep it, but with suspected seam damage, we couldn't get insurance on it unless we fixed everything, and that would've cost more than the insurance payout, so it didn't make financial sense. But when you love something like I loved that trailer, it's hard to let it go. We decided last fall to take the insurance cheque and skip camping for this summer since we don't have a truck anymore, and buy a truck and trailer next year.
It seemed like a solid decision at the time, but in the next few weeks we'll see all of the trailers around us start to rustle back to life, and I will miss mine. We'll go stay in our timeshare this summer and do some small hotel trips, and I'll have fun, but I'll still miss my trailer. Next spring seems a long time away right now. Every time I see a Terry trailer I'll have to turn away and wipe my eye. I'll pray for a miracle and see if camping this year is a possibility after all. What is life without the hope of a miracle? The fact that I'll miss camping at all is a miracle in itself.