Virtual Camping

In spite of two fairly recent camping posts (Enemies in the Gate and We’re Campers!), we really don’t camp much as a family. We do, however, love to shop.

Directions are for sissies
Unlike his father, Joshua sometimes does read directions.

A week ago Kathy and I snuck away with the two youngest children to do a little back-to-school shopping (David and I both scored some fresh boxers, so the trip wasn’t a total loss). While wandering the sports equipment aisle, I came upon this snazzy Eddie Bauer tent marked down to half its list price.

The mists of time close in around me as visions of the Father/Son Camping Trip swim before my eyes. David’s foot in my face, Joshua’s elbow in my side. Daniel squashed up against the side of the tent but vainly trying to steal my cushy air mattress. It was, shall we say, a little snug. And that was without any of the girls joining us (as if we have any hope of luring Kathy to the Great Outdoors)! I shake my head, and the mists of time clear; I find myself standing bemusedly in the checkout line with a two-room tent in my cart!

Truth be told, I never can resist a bargain — I just can’t seem pass those sad little red clearance tags by! I chortled all the way home, as David and Sarah wrangled over who got to show it to Joshua.

Sarah Supervises
I don’t know what Joshua would have done, without Sarah’s leadership and confidence.

As is the case with many impulse shoppers, I fall into the ‘buy first, justify later‘ school of thought on this and a few other kinds of purchases. So when I got home with the tent, I jumped online and made a reservation for a Forest Service campground near Mount Rainier. I craftily told the kids my intentions before Kathy had a chance to object.

These poles can be tricky ...
Having extra poles when you’re finished is often a warning sign that something is wrong.

Before we can go camping, though, we need to put the tent through its paces. It would be a crying shame if we got to our campsite and discovered the tent had no roof panels, no stakes had been provided, or that the poles didn’t fit together (I speak hypothetically, of course). So Kathy and I generously permitted Joshua to set up the tent, with assistance from some of the other minions. (Naturally, we traded on his enthusiasm and made him mow the lawn, first, as would any prudent parent.)

Enjoying the fruits of Joshua's labor
Once the tent was fully erected, the virtual campers assembled.

As we surveyed the assembled tent and its convenient proximity to a fully-equipped kitchen, flush toilets and hot showers, it occurred to me that perhaps ‘virtual camping’ is more our style. Won’t the kids be surprised when I drive them around in circles for a few hours, only to return home to our ‘campsite’. I only wish I could get my reservation fee back from the Forest Service campground …

Weary David
David was exhausted, just from watching Joshua set up the tent!

Project 365, Day 236

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12 thoughts on “Virtual Camping”

  1. What a cool tent! Y’all are going to have so much fun in it – whether in the backyard or near Mt. Ranier. I think that was a great purchase.

  2. ah, a two room tent, how clever of you to pick one with a separate sleeping area for those squirmy kids! I remember our camping days, with Mom and Dad having one half all to themselves, and the four of us kids all crammed into the other half. Chalk it up to one of the perks of being the parent.
    Of course in those days, tents did not come with those wondeful tension poles that do not have to be pieced together. I have many memories of waiting patiently (OK, not so patiently) in the car while my dad did battle with alumunium poles that never quite wanted to go together once they came out of the bag.
    Virtual Camping, does that come with virtual marshmallows or real ones? It is hard to get that nice crusty coating on your marshmallow roasting it over a flashlight. :)

  3. Oooooohhhhhhhhhh virtual camping ~ now that’s MY kind of camping!! I am all for that.

    I’m with you – I simply cannot resist those beautiful, red clearance tags; they call my name like turkish-delight!!! Red clearance tags are like double coupons on something that only ends up costing a nickel. Hence the 10 bottles of soy-sauce in my pantry – ha! Anyone need some soy sauce?????

  4. Good blog, dear Tim. Andy and Anne love camping and are trying to get more and more into it. It probably helps that Anne grew up camping with her family and has fond memories of it. We never did it much (at all??) and so it’s pretty new to the kids. Trav and Rachael like it and have gone some. So maybe they can surpass their folks in outdoor life.

    The tent looks great. Love you, Aunt Kate

  5. What fun! We have done the gambit of camping. Brian and I actually went tent camping on our honeymoon! We progressed to a pop-up camper, a small travel trailer and now we have a larger travel trailer although it doesn’t seem nearly large enough with five kids and a dog along.

    You will have so much…come on, Kathy…you have to go…you could take your grill, does the campground have electric hookup?!

  6. I remember when we used to go on Camping Trips with our family that My Mom and Dad got their own room ( with the air mattress!) While Tim, Hannah, Lizzy, and I had to share a room! Luckily Tarah was a baby and got to sleep with Mama and Papa!

  7. LOL Virtual camping. I like it.

    We have a two room tent that we simply can’t get rid of even after we bought the big trailer… memories.

  8. We have a tent and we have only gone “backyard” camping so far! We are still practicing until we fell comfortable to venture out into the wild :-)

  9. I also love a good bargain. I found some $200+ tents on sale at Target one time…. 3 rooms with a “great” room as well…. for $19.99…. I thought for sure they had made a mistake, but I asked and they said it was right. So, I bought all of them that were marked down (LOL).

  10. Wow, $20 for a big tent, what a bargain, indeed! Now I’m jealous, because my bargain was ‘only’ marked down to 50% … :)

  11. Oh, I see ALL kinds of hs lessons in this post!!! Kathy, you’re free for another day to plan your year, lol!

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