Summer Sunday: Happy Campers

Summer Sunday: Happy Campers

I never thought I would want to buy a camper. I was always a tent person, or a sleep-outside kind of person. But then, we had kids. photo(7)

The truth is, camping with kids is not that easy. There is a lot more gear involved. There is a lot more whining involved. And even though kids don’t melt in the rain, they certainly do melt down. After a few nights in the tent of getting pushed off of the camping pads and sleeping on the cold ground, I was ready for a change.

We needed something agile, something that we could take up rough mountain roads. Nothing fancy, no bathroom or shower, just a rain-proof tent on wheels in which we could store all of our gear so that we could take off without spending a day packing and getting ready. And we needed something cheap.

Voila! The perfect camper appeared on the Telluride Sweet Deals Facebook page. A 1965 Scotsman, light enough to tow with any vehicle, with good suspension to travel off-road. One big bed, and one small bed that converts into a table and chairs for eating or playing cards when it rains. We jumped on it.

But I can’t shake the feeling that somehow I’ve gone soft. That I’ve given up the true spirit of outdoor adventure for the creature comfort of a mattress and a bug-free environment. That I’ve become the unlikely comrade of the RVers that parade around the state all summer, with satellite dishes, wifi, hot showers, fancy curtains, and small, well-groomed dogs. But then I take an honest look at the camper. It is older than I am, and very simple and modest compared to your average RV. It has a rusty, retro look, the kind of camper you expect to find a shepherd sleeping in next to his herd in Patagonia. The kind of camper you might find enjoying its retirement in Baja, with a plot of cacti next to it and without wheels, somewhere near the beach.

Maybe someday, once the kids are old enough to carry their own gear and go backpacking, that’s where the Scotty will end up—in Baja, or as a “guest room” next to someone’s house. But for now it is our respite from the rain, the wind, and the whining. On our inaugural night in the camper, rain sprinkled from the sky and made a melodic drumming sound on the roof, accompanied by the steady rushing noise of the river. It wasn’t exactly like camping outside, but it was still perfect.

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