Memory Monday ~ Vacation Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Once again, I’m joining Judy @ retired-not-tired for ‘Memory Monday’.  Today’s prompt is vacation memories.

Vacation.  Now there’s a subject that’s near and dear to almost everyone’s heart!  However, growing up as children, neither my husband, Ed, or I experienced a lot of  family vacations.  Ed’s vacation experiences consisted of, occasionally, visiting family in Florida, and my vacation experiences were… well, actually my vacation experiences were very similar to Ed’s!  We wanted life for our children to be different.

After Ed and I were married, at first, there wasn’t a lot of extra money for vacations.  We’d take an occasional two-day trip somewhere, but not very often.  One trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, with friends, comes to mind, as well as a short trip to the mountains of north Georgia and Tennessee, with a different set of friends.  Both of these trips were taken before we had any children.

Ed and I had been married for about thirteen years when he first brought up the subject of buying a camper.  He’d seen a good used one, and thought he might could buy it for a decent price.  At first, I balked.  When I heard the word “camping”, staying in a tent immediately popped in my head!  I didn’t like that idea, at all.  Then I looked inside of a camper, saw it had all the comforts of home, and changed my mind.  There was a stove, refrigerator, twin sinks, air conditioning, even a shower!  Ed bought that camper he’d seen, and our camping adventures began!

Keep in mind, I’d been a stay-at-home wife and mother for about eight years when we bought our first camper.  We had three children–a seven-year old, a four-year old, and an eleven month old.  There were not a lot of activities we were easily able to do, at the time.  I felt like I’d been let out of jail, that summer, when we took our first vacation trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia!

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early camping adventures…

We camped that first summer, and for the next seven summers, afterward.  Every summer we would take two ‘week-long’ vacations to different destinations, which were usually within a couple of hours of home since none of us liked to ride long distances.  Even after seven full days of camping, I was never ready to go home at the end of those vacations, and, sometimes, I’d convince Ed to stay an extra day.

Staying in campgrounds was relatively cheap, back then, so we could afford to do more activities with all of the money we saved on lodging.  In addition to enjoying campfires, playgrounds, fishing, and swimming, we’d play putt putt golf, and visit all of the near-by tourist attractions.  Our children greatly enjoyed just watching cable television in the camper, too, something we didn’t have at home.

Sometimes, we’d invite our parents or other family members along to go camping with us.  We always had a lot of fun during these times, and still have lots of great memories.  The saying, “The more, the merrier”, always proved to be true, for us.  It’s funny, but a lot of our good times centered around eating!

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sharing camping adventures with family…

While camping, we stayed on Jekyll Island, several times, as well as on Blythe Island, in Brunswick, Georgia.  We went to St. Augustine, Florida, to Fernandina Beach/Fort Clinch, Florida, toured many of the Georgia State Parks, in the upper part of the state, stayed on Hilton Head Island, and in the Stone Mountain Campground, near Atlanta. One summer, we even left our camper at Clark Hill Lake, near Augusta, Georgia, while we traveled, by car, to Dollywood (Dolly Parton’s amusement park) in Tennessee.

When I remember all those years of camping, one thing always comes to mind–we took everything with us except the kitchen sink!  ‘Everything’ consisted of seven outfits of clothing for five people, a week’s worth of groceries, five bicycles, five lawn chairs, a large piece of outdoor carpeting, some party lights, and even our pet parakeet and guinea pig!  We’ve even been known to throw in a kiddie pool, occasionally!

Our camping vacations lasted for a total of eight years, before they eventually came to an end.  By that time, our children had grown older, and no longer enjoyed camping as much as they once did.  It was about this time when I first became sick with rheumatoid arthritis, as well.  Camping activities weren’t as much fun for me, either.  Ed and I ultimately decided to sell our camper and put in a swimming pool and satellite television, at home, thus ending our camping vacations.

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Ed and I owned three different campers before officially retiring from camping, for good.  Although, our next-to-the-last camper was much larger and nicer, we didn’t have nearly as much fun in it as we did our first camper.  I think, by then, the magic of camping was beginning to wear thin, even though we had a bigger and better place to stay.

Several years later, after most of our children were grown, Ed and I purchased one last small, pop-up camper.  We only used it a couple of times, then ended up selling it.  We found that camping, just like lots of other things in life, wasn’t quite as much fun without our children.

We can’t complain.  We managed to keep, and use, our campers for several years, and still get all of our money back (plus some extra, on the first one) when we sold each one of them.

Published in: on January 5, 2015 at 9:28 am  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have never been a big camper because I was a cottage girl however when I did go camping I took all of the conveniences of home with me. Today i would rather travel and stay in a less expensive hotel than sleep on a camp bed. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  2. Sound like great memories. I’ve only camped in a camper once. My brother rented a camper and 4 of the 5 of us siblings went to Disney World together and stayed in their campground. It was totally awesome!

  3. I did not have small children, so camping vacations were never something I ever gave any thought to. We did camp some when I was growing up, but not much. My stance has always been – if I still have to cook, do dishes, and make beds, it isn’t a vacation. Going out in a camper/RV has never held any interest for me. Not a vacation….just the same drudgery in a smaller and less-convenient space. Bah humbug. I have lots of friends who love camping, though! But give me a nice comfy hotel, with three meals a day from a restaurant….that’s a vacation.

  4. You’re so right about things not being quite as much fun without the kids. We camped a lot when I was growing up and I loved it. I’ve been to all those places you mentioned. And now, I realize I need to go back because I haven’t been in EONS!

  5. We part ways over the subject of camping. When my ex and I got engaged, he had an old van he’d raised the roof on and converted to a camper. When we moved to California, his company agreed to pay for 2 vehicles to be transported. I suggested he choose his car and mine since God would never have invented hotels if he meant us to go camping!

  6. Camping with the children sounds like a lot of fun. Your wonderful photos make me feel happy.

  7. You and I share a love of the beach … but we differ on the subject of camping.

    DH and I didn’t have money in the budget for much traveling until 8-9 years ago. I think that’s part of the reason why we travel so much now … making up for lost time.

  8. LOL… we do tent camping usually only one night though 😦 cuz’ we have responsibilities at our church that are hard to pass off more than once in a while, but we still have fun. Most of the time we have extra kiddos with us. I can’t really imagine camping without them though because, yeah, that would probably be kinda boring.

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