There was a time, some 30+ years ago, when we would be out camping somewhere every couple of weeks in the summer. At that time, this meant we slept on sleeping bags atop air mattresses inside a tent. Times changed and we went from a couple to three and then four, with the birth of our sons. We kept on camping, but due to the extra work required to look after the wee ones, the trips were fewer, shorter and closer to home.
The kids grew bigger and developed other interests and the number of camping trips slowed to a trickle. Ooops, bad choice of words. There were a few wet sleeping bags during the early years. Anyway, the trips slowed to a trickle and stopped and for the last 20 years, the camping supplies have been gathering dust in my garage.
We have been striving for the last 2 years to get the family together for what we adults used to call “Enforced Family Bonding Time”. We have managed get-togethers with one son or the other and their partner a few times over the 2 years since they both got married. But we have not managed to get all 6 of us together, due to everyone’s commitments and logistics.
After a concerted effort by all, we were successful in arranging a 48 hour period of togetherness in Jasper National Park. Originally, we were all going to be located in cabins. The kids had other ideas and opted to camp instead. This was not an option for my beloved and I as we developed a new saying as we approached and surpassed 60….”We do not do ground.”
After the decision was made, campsites were booked. L and A have a Westfalia van and live in Edmonton. They were all set. B and K were flying in from Vancouver and would need to be fitted out.
I headed out to the garage to dig out the necessary supplies for them. Tent…check, sleeping bags….check, air mattresses…flat…flat….check…check, 12V DC air mattress pump…need to buy. All sorted out, I decided to go through the tent components in detail.
Apparently, if you store a tent for 20 years, the shock cords in the poles lose their elasticity like a 20-year-old pair of underwear…sorry for the image and do not ask me how I know.
Off to Canadian Tire for the pump and shock cords. A bit of work and manual dexterity later and 3 of the 5 poles had new shock cords. All was ready, but did I remember how to set this tent up? I naively thought I could set it up in my basement. This logic was flawed in a couple of ways. #1…I could not peg the tent floor down into the concrete. #2…This frigging tent was huge and there was not enough floor space available to complete the assembly. Put this plan aside for another day.
Which brings me to yesterday. The day was open, the lawn was mowed and the grass was dry. I hauled the tent upstairs and outdoors and brought it out of the stuff sack to see the light of day and laid out tent, fly, poles and pegs ready to go. Amazingly, once it was pegged, the assembly went quickly. Good, I would not embarrass myself in front of my “kids” by fumbling through the install. I let it stand for a few hours before dismantling and putting everything back into the stuff sack.
Now, the next problem is can we fit all of this and 4 passengers into our Prius for the 4 hour drive West to Jasper. I can not tell you how much these parents are looking forward to this small window of quality time together with the whole family.