Dorothy Harris

Camping memories for sale

Mr. Harris didn't find it a hard decision, but it was for me. I am usually very logical, but I had to admit I was attaching emotions to a thing. The thing was our family camper.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you already know how Mr. Harris made his distaste for camping very clear this past summer. Apparently as we have, ahem, matured, the effort required to pack and set up; only to tear it all down, re-pack and transport back home; then clean and maintain it all had grown old for him. Camping was no longer the restful, relaxing experience he was looking for in a vacation. Since marriage is all about compromise, it was time to start doing something else. Thus we began the process of selling the camper.

A trip to the RV spa brought her back all gussied up for the next owner, making me feel a bit like a jilted lover. "Why do the new owners get to enjoy a brand new awning," I found myself whining as I lovingly ran my hands over the honey-colored wood interior. It was clear logic being smothered by memories of the camping trips we had enjoyed.

This self-contained trailer was a huge step up in comfort compared to the pop-up we first owned. I can still remember the very first time we fragranced the campground with our microwave popcorn. Or the time we realized we could pack a pint of ice cream and popsicles to enjoy while at the beach for 10 days. It was absolute bliss to have ice cubes in our drinks and meat that wasn't melting in a cooler. If it rained, we simply went inside and I cooked on the gas stove. This was a camping experience we could all agree on.

Real beds, with actual mattresses, not plastic, blow up ones that always lose their air overnight resulting in your body feeling like it's been run over by a truck the next day. Did I mention the air conditioning? Having ducted air in an RV, regardless of the size you choose is the only, and I mean only, way to go.

The first, and maybe the only time we ever used the heat, it worked so well we ran Mr. Harris out with the toasty warmth. We even had a bathroom, a real bathroom; no more trips to the freezing, open-air campground potties after dark.

It was bliss I tell you. Then something peculiar happened. Our little girl kept growing into a tall young woman with friends and loads of gear. Our perfect little camper began feeling cramped and soon became unbearable for more than a weekend. There was just no room to put anything because we seemed to be bringing everything with us. Mr. Harris finally pulled the plug after our last beach excursion this past summer. "It's too small for all of us," he groused and the teen agreed. Being outnumbered, I waved the white flag.

In life there are many stages and we have moved past family campouts for now. Soon our gal will be visiting colleges and preparing to fledge from the nest. Perhaps someday grandchildren will come and we will find ourselves shopping for a really big RV to make new camping memories, but that's years away. In the meantime, I hope whoever becomes the new owner will enjoy many memories of traveling bliss. She's a good ship and I'll miss her when she sets sail for new horizons, especially since the crew is now talking about boats.