Saturday, March 21, 2009
Interlude: Vacations - preparation
Just as a garden is a big solution to the inevitable and expensive need for food, camping is a great solution to the need to take a vacation.
John and I had both had favorable camping experiences at Girl Scout or YMCA camp as kids, so the thought of camping trips hit us very well. Even before we were married we were planning where we would go. Someday. When we had a car. And gas money. And camping equipment. And kids to share it all with.
The first opportunity to put the concept into practice happened when he was nearing the end of his student days. His dissertation would be done soon, and he could reasonably expect good employment. So we went shopping.
We bought: an 11x11 blue canvas tent; a Coleman camp stove; 2 sleeping bags that could be zipped together; 2 air mattresses; a Coleman lantern; a Rubbermaid wash tub; a clothesline and pins.
It came to about $90 at a time when John was earning a stipend of $250 a month. We had a long-term view of the use of all of it, though, and it seemed a worthwhile purchase.
We went to Mt Palomar, a couple of hours from our home in La Jolla CA, and tested everything out. At that time we had baby VJ, who was a little over a year old. It was a bit warm at Palomar, but otherwise it was a great way to check out that we knew how to put up the tent, take it down again (causing us to add a whisk broom before our next trip), start the stove, and use the lantern. At the end of the weekend, we were all set to go on a real trip.