By: Trisha Yanke
It all started around a campfire last August. Little did we know that one train of thought could take us down a whole new path from our current “camping-status-quo”.
Every summer for the past 4 years, or so, our small church group has picked a long weekend (usually August long) to go camping together. Some families come earlier, some stay later, but we all aim to be there together for the weekend. The kids love the chance to run, play, visit and spend full days/evenings with their friends; and the adults love…..well….pretty much all of those same things!
Six families were able to join together this past summer. Our group ranged from tenters, to tent-trailer-ers (lol, my spell check really doesn’t like that word), to those with travel trailers. One thing we all agree on though: we like spending time outdoors, regardless of the accommodations where we lay our head at night.
So now, picture this scene: it’s later in the week and only 2 families remain, the Yanke’s (that would be us) and the Herrera’s. The sun is setting, the fire is crackling, and the kids are playing as Sherri and I relax and visit by the flames. Our conversation turns to a trip to Wisconsin Dells that our families took together about 5 years ago. We stayed in hotels on the way there, and then rented a cabin in the Dells area. I have been telling Dale for years that I would like to go back for another week. Sherri suggests that we should go, but why not camp there instead this time?
The guys (Dale and Erick – who’d been out on the boat) get back to our campsites around this time and we run the idea of The Dells by them. Dale doesn’t mind…..but says he would rather make a trip out to the East Coast; see something new. Sherri’s been there before, but was totally on board with that idea. “It’s beautiful,” she promises.
Now, I have to admit , my memory is a bit hazy on how this all snowballed, but snowball it did! Here’s the gist of it:
“Yeah, let’s do the coast”
“It’s so expensive for our family of 7 to fly anywhere….we’ll have to drive”
“We should camp along the way”
“The guys have talked about visiting all the Major League baseball parks, we should incorporate that into the trip”
“We could plan to do a road trip for the next few summers and try to eventually hit them all”
“So, we should go out through Canada to the east coast, and come back through the United States”
“We could totally hit Wisconsin Dells on the way back too”
“So 4, maybe 5 weeks to do it all then?”
“We should buy trailers….”
“……and start a blog.”
So here’s the thing about me and camping. I love it. I grew up doing it. As a kid we did everything from tenting, to tent-trailering, to 5th wheeling. I will fully embrace the smoky smelling, beachy hair, sunscreen baked person I become……while I’m around other smoky smelling, beachy haired, sunscreen baked campers. However, expect me to make a foray into regular life, around people who’ve showered more than once this week and whose laundry doesn’t smell like a campfire, and I better have a chance to clean myself up. The idea of even road-tripping and camping at the Dells, never mind 5 weeks on the road, already had me questioning our tent-trailer situation. I told Dale I thought I would like to upgrade to something with a few more conveniences. Sherri also wanted to look into a small towable trailer, as opposed to the tenting they were currently doing. Little did we know the ‘Can of Worms’/’Exciting Journey’ we were setting upon!
I feel I should first take a minute to say, both our families were actually fairly happy with our camping situation as it was – but road tripping would be a whole different set of parameters. The community we live in is about 3.5 hours (of muskeg surrounded gravel road) away from the nearest town/city. We do not tow our tent trailer down that road! So, anytime we camp we have to make sure we leave on a day it’s not raining so we can pack everything down dry, and store it in the city. For the last 6 years it’s worked out fine, but it’s certainly an inconvenience. Tent trailers also take a bit of time to set up. We’ve gotten pretty good at it, and I’d like to think Dale and I work like a well oiled machine when it comes to set up (now…), but I still didn’t think I wanted to do it every day or two while we travel.
And so began the emotional roller-coaster search for our new trailer(s).