Recently I was thinking about camping transitions I have made in my life. My parents encouraged travel when my 3 siblings and I were young. Many school holidays throughout the year we traveled from New York State to Florida or northward to Canada. We had a couple of camper trailers: a pop-up tent trailer and later a hard-top trailer towed by a station wagon. Each of us were provided a small box to pack our clothing in; everything had a specific place for it to be stored. Our collie, Ginger, traveled with us too. I have many fond memories of various trips and especially the 10 week trip around the USA.
As years went by and I continued my travel adventures, I often backpacked in NYS’s Adirondack Mountains, and also ventured on trails in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona. The simplicity of carrying all my gear on my back was what I really enjoyed. In the 1970’s one sister of mine and I added a new dimension to our travel by bicycling from Miami to Homestead, Florida which is at the southern tip of the Everglades National Park and then across the state of Florida to Fort Meyers. The bicycling and tenting bug hit me again in 2018 when I bicycled 600 miles solo and self-contained from Minnesota to Indiana.
In 2021 I built a bed platform, for rainy and quick night sleeping, in the my Honda Element and tented as I traveled 9300 miles around the USA. I also began to realize Covid-19 might be an international concern for a few more years and purchasing a van may allow me to roll off a bed mattress rather than crawl out of a tent each night. And that’s how I have Ram Promaster 1500, low roof, 118 wheelbase van now!
My first overnight went okay! I was at Whitewater Draw in Arizona to see sandhill cranes, more about that in my next blog post. To watch a sunset, cook and eat meals outdoors, hike as I wished to view the birds was great fun. I refer to my van as a “glorified tent”. There is so much in it that I need to chart where certain things are … much more complicated than knowing where in each pocket things were in my backpack … or even in my Honda Element! I have tried to keep it all simple and will tweak some things before my next adventure. But overall, I was a happy camper! I am looking forward to more adventure in my van, meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying the great outdoors!