And now I'll continue with our history of family camping! We graduated to a nice tent for the 4 of us, and then to a pop-up trailer when the kids were a little older. At that time, when the kids were 4 and 6, we found ourselves needing to recommit and make our family solid again. So, we went camping! We were able to take about 8 weeks away from work. We loaded up our new mini-van and towed that trailer from Minnesota to Florida then slowly up the east coast to Maine before turning back towards home. That turned out to be the best thing we could have dreamed of to heal up our family. And we made so many big memories that have stayed with us ever since.
Dan (age 4) was a little too young to still have many specific memories of that long trip, but he has seen the pictures and heard the stories enough to feel like he experienced it all. He does remember something about Disney World (who could forget that?) and having perpetually skinned up knees, which was true. Brita (age 6 and very wise) was a trooper. Being a nut for reading, we could count on her to read any brochure we picked up, and always reading the campground rules to us!
Bob and I also found out that there was another form of camping that we had never tried before. That was canoe camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. It was a very fun experience, and with the help of an outfitter we made several more trips with the kids. The kids didn't have to paddle on the first trip out, but after that we took 2 canoes and split up the kids to do their own share of paddling and packing our gear across the portages.
That pop-up trailer stayed with us for a lot of miles and campouts. I think the last time we slept in it was on a visit to see our son in college! We discovered that we were lucky that the bed hadn’t collapsed during the night because things were pretty unstable underneath! It eventually was stripped down and finally dismantled. That left the empty-nesters without a good camping device. We really were at a time when we found a lot of other vacation routines that didn’t involve camping, so the gear that we still had was boxed up and stored away to gather dust. We didn’t have the heart to get rid of any of it, always feeling sure that “someday” we would need it again. I longed to be able to go canoeing up north again, or camp in the mountains, but without the trailer and without other arrangements, it just didn’t happen. We weren’t really particularly sad or unhappy about it, we had plenty of other fun adventures and excursions. We did love to see that both of our adult kids still had a liking for camping. Our daughter had married and started a family, and still would get out camping in the summer. And our son actually moved to those mountains that we loved to visit! I remember one morning when we talked on the phone, he was living in the Sierras, and walking somewhere, to work or home. He said he could hardly believe that he was really living there, and it smelled so good, and he felt like he was always in a campground!
A few more years passed and we found ourselves looking ahead. Actually moving close enough to retirement to have it really sink in that the day will come when we have no more work schedules! What an amazing concept! What will we do? We definitely want to travel more, because even though we do travel, we feel limited on the time that we can spend in any one place. Stay tuned for the next chapter!
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Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!