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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Back to the Beginning



My lovely wife and and I have been traveling in the winter for a very long time. She was working as a hospital lab tech back then. They could not give her the months off that we needed every winter, so she'd quit her job. They always said they could not promise they'd hire back in the spring. We didn't worry about it and they always did.

We had bought a second hand Dodge Neon for one of my daughters to use when she went to school in Florida. After she graduated she wanted to buy a new car, so we were stuck with the Neon. It would not have been our choice for car camping, but it's the car we had.

I made some modifications. It already had a good Thule roof rack for our canoe. I added a small hitch so I could hang a cargo rack off the back. On the rack set a custom plywood box that contained most of our camping gear. It also carried a 12 volt deep discharge battery to run a 12 volt cooler and other electrical needs. The battery was charged off the car's alternator using a battery isolator.

That winter we did a lot of tent camping. One tent was huge with an attached screened in sitting area. The other was a small 4 season tent that we often used when just staying someplace for one night.

Dodge Neons are not known for being great cars, but ours never let us down. We traveled all over the Southeast that winter. We fell in love with the gypsy lifestyle.

By the second year we simplified a bit. Our load got trimmed back some. The cargo rack stayed home. I stuffed some of our gear into dry bags and tied them under the canoe on the roof. It worked just fine.

Now we have our comfortable converted ambulance/motorhome. However, we still occasionally load our gear in my lovely wife's little Nissan Versa hatchback and go tent camping. After all these years we still like tents.

-Sixbears

11 comments:

  1. lol - My wife has never slept on the ground and ain't gonna start now!

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    1. so get her a cot. her bed is five feet from the ground, through wood and paint.

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    2. Quality air mattresses with warm sleeping bags that zip together have made all the difference.

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  2. love this post as its showing how its so difficult to get beyond the hype of society. That if you leave a job, you might not have one later. Its complete bull. If you have talent and you know how to communicate, and explain your talent skills, you will get a new job. There is just a lot of people that have no talent in a skill that is useful in the market. If more people would just find a niche in the market for a talent, they might have a good paying career forever. Of course need to admit all the hype about homeless and not finding jobs, or finding crappy jobs to get by kind of scares me a lot.

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    1. My lovely wife worked hard to get a skill that was in demand. I have a small pension from injuries suffered while a firefighter. At the time I was editing an on-line magazine but I figured out I could do that from a laptop. As long as I could occasionally get an Internet connection now and then I was good to go. That was back in the days of dialup and pay phones. However, one beach bar in Key Largo had good connections, excellent workspace overlooking the bay, and cold beer.

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  3. Used to camp a lot when working races. Don't do that any more but enjoyed it while I did.

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    1. You might enjoy it again. The gear is so good these days you don't really have to suffer. Of course, much of that is state of mind.

      I've a friend's wife who tried it, but found it took her three hours to put her makeup on before she could leave the tent.

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  4. About 17 years ago we explored Newfoundland and Labrador in my 94 Toyota T100. Four wheel drive allowed us to get in to some remote places we could not have accessed in a regular car. The Leer fiberglass cap allowed us a large dry space so we did not have to deal with a tent. We had plenty of space to carry weeks of gear and supplies. A roof rack to carry the kayaks. We still have the truck but I now have an older Honda Odyssey, and though I have yet to use it for car camping I figure it could not get much better than that. If I were to build a plywood platform a foot off the floor with storage underneath it would save a great deal of shuffling come evening time.

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    1. Sounds like that was a great trip!

      I've seen trucks with storage platforms under the bed. They work out pretty well. Sometimes it's a pretty high climb into the truck, but that can be worked around.

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  5. I did a lot of tent camping in the Marines, for weeks at a time, in some really unpleasant places. Then when I had kids, we went camping because all kids should have that experience. But these days, the Holiday Inn is as rough as I go.

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    1. Just because it's a tent doesn't mean it's rough. This isn't the Marines after all. Big tent, screen room, comfy camp chairs, nice mattress, good coffee -it all makes a difference.

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