Monday, 18 January 2021

Molloy: Camping’s not what it used to be

“Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.”

— Dave Barry

Friends we find ourselves in the dog days of summer and, like most of you, I’ve ticked off the better portion of my summertime to-do list. Gone to the beach? Check. Climbed a mountain? Check. Got a suntan? Check. Gone skinny dipping? That’s none of your business, but yeah, that box can be checked off too.

The only confusing part of the “dog days of summer” is when I told that phrase to Miss Maggie (the puppy), who now thinks it’s some national holiday and expects me to bring home cake for a canine celebration. Laugh all you want but you’d be surprised how assertive an 8-inch high furry dog can be when she gets her dander in a dispute.

To make up for my lack of pastries I decided to take Maggie on a weekend getaway and this, friends, is how we found ourselves inside a tent, in the middle of the woods, wishing we were home. It’s a given that I’m not the most rugged of men but I was a Boy Scout and in my youth my troop would go camping at least once a month. We’d sleep out in the woods and learn skills like knot tying, fire building and first aid. It was probably one of the happiest times of my life so why wouldn’t I want to share such an experience with my little one?

Well, a lot has changed from the days of lean-tos and rucksacks. Today’s modern camper has more in common with an Urban Outfitters than it does with any adventurist. Gone are the small orange tents I once slept in and in their place are these monoliths of recreational trailers. Now when I say “trailer” I should just call them mobile apartments because their main job seems to be that whenever you’re in the great outdoors, you will never have to experience any actual “nature.”

In the camping spot next to us sat an R.V. with more gadgets than a Bond movie. It had a large wide screen television on the outside in case squirrels want to binge Netflix and indoors was a full sized living room with working gas fireplace. To say this was “roughing it” would be a breach of reality. Seriously this transport is nicer than my house because even with all my remodeling it still doesn’t have power steering.

The owners were friendly though and even invited us in for dinner, which was never interrupted by ants or any other insect. As we made our good nights we retreated to our now measly tent, crawled into our sleeping bag and started experiencing the sounds and smells of the great outdoors where I’m sure that Maggie was thinking the same thing as I: being in nature kind of sucks and we should probably start saving up for an RV. Perhaps one with a Jacuzzi. You know — like the pioneers had.


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