Sunday, July 3, 2011

Not Just Any Princess

Thirty feet. Fifty AMP. Electricity/water/sewage. Modern facilities. Pets allowed. Trailer plus vehicle. Wooded site.

Another language? A secret code? Until recently, I had no idea what the terms above meant when used together (okay, I had no idea what 50 AMP meant in any context ...). But not anymore. Over the past couple months, I have tenatively embarked on a hobby that I never in a million years thought I would even consider. I am, after all, a princess. But now I'm not just any princess--I am The Camping Princess.

My little "code" above should be familiar to the campers--especially RV campers--out there. I do not know if I am ready to put myself in the category of--gulp--campers yet, but I have recently found myself scouring the Web for campgrounds where we could take--and easily entertain--the kids for a weekend. I don't think my requirements are that high--I simply require more than pretty natural surroundings, because otherwise my kids will be plugged into their various electronic devices while "enjoying" nature. We're not exactly a hiking and bird-watching family.

We had a perfect first family camping trip in the RV, which we affectionately call "Betty." Brian had taken the kids camping a couple times, but I did not join them (I had to take care of the dogs!). We joined two other families at a somewhat-local amusement park with an adjacent campground. There were plenty of other people around, there was plenty to do, the kids had playmates, the ADULTS had playmates--it was all good.

A couple weeks later, our family went to Lake Raystown, which had been highly recommended to me by avid campers. The weekend got off to a very rocky start, due to lack of cell phone service in the "wild" (damn Verizon). Brian was driving separately in the RV because of a late meeting. The kids and I arrived around 8 p.m. and anticipated Brian would arrive by 9 p.m. At about 9:45, after we had roamed around the gift shop for the umpteenth time, I was ready to get in my car and look for our RV toppled over along the side of the road. But then Brian came careening into the parking lot (as much as an RV can "careen") with the dogs yapping inside. My heart rate returned to normal.

Because we reserved a campsite relatively late in the season, our spot was awful, with a somewhat steep incline down to our fire pit. It didn't matter much where the fire pit was, though. When the kids decided they wanted s'mores, we made them in the microwave. Like I said, we're far from hard core.

There was plenty to do at Raystown, but after two nights I was DONE (well, "finished," if you want to get nit-picky about word choice). The kids' behavior was less than ideal, probably because they were stuck with each other and their parents for two days straight; it was hot; and a 35-foot RV may be large by RV standards, but not by "normal" standards. I told Brian I was finished with camping until Labor Day.

So now, two-thirds of the way through summer vacation (eek!) and with two somewhat-major camping trips under my belt, I can say I am "okay" with camping. In an RV. With electricity, running water, and lots of activities nearby. After all, The Camping Princess can spend only so much time lounging in her air-conditioned abode, eating microwaved s'mores.

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