Adventures with “Betty”
An Original Series – #2
There is nothing wrong with tenting, I just had some different camping dreams. I was, of course, anxious and a bit afraid.
I first tried borrowing a tent trailer from a co-worker. It was big and comfortable with one queen bed and one king bed. Relatively easy to put up and take down. I borrowed a vehicle with a trailer hitch from my sister’s family. I could see it all: sunny day, dry roads, heading down the highway to Jasper for a stay in a nicely treed campsite – lots of time for reading, talking, snoozing.
However there is this thing called towing, followed by backing up.
My first wake-up call was leaving a grocery store parking lot. I am pulling out of a spot, taking a sharp left turn, when my friend calls out that the trailer I am pulling is about to scrape the side of the vehicle beside me. Yikes! Without her, I would not have noticed and spent more hours in Edson than planned trading vehicle insurance information.
We get to Jasper without further mishaps. The campground is just as I dreamed – hot and sunny, a light breeze, the trees overhead slowly swaying and providing shade, the music of songbirds and squirrels going about their business. The perfect place to camp for a long weekend.
Soooooooooooo, I pull up to our spot, yup, that’s it, looks just the like the picture on the camping reservation site.
But I am now realizing I probably should have done more than watch videos showing how to back up a trailer because what I am doing is sure not working. My friend – helpfully – offers advice to “turn the other way” and yells “stop” more than a few times. To make it extra helpful, she does it both inside and outside of the vehicle, but she doesn’t want to try it herself. Fortunately, she is a true friend and walks across the road to another campsite and asks if the gentleman there can help us out. His trailer made it safely into the spot, and is surrounded by chairs, bikes and other gear that is must have for enjoying the outdoors. Within a few minutes, our borrowed tent trailer is tucked nicely into our spot, and we are making it home inside.
It was paradise. I was sleeping off the ground, in a comfortable bed, with clothes kept inside rather than bringing back and forth from a vehicle if I were in a tent. The mosquitoes had invaded Jasper and sitting outside was not really pleasant for much of the day without lots of bug spray. But having the flaps zipped down with a wonderful cross breeze made for enjoyable reading, snoozing, and game playing at the table. The real topper was the port-a-potty my trailer mate had brought along and there was plenty of room in the tent trailer for it – no heading out into the darkness when nature called. I gave myself permission to have decaf coffee at night because the problem of needing to head outside was solved! Oh, the indulgence!
The tent trailer was manageable for me even as a single person. I figured I could learn how to back up, given enough time and patience with myself. I could see myself keeping it stocked and ready to roll at any time. I would develop a system for storage and replenishing clothes, bedding and food. I realized I could even train myself how to be more careful with tasks like making sure all drawers are actually latched before I move the trailer. What happened? Well, everything was packed up nicely on the Monday except for the drawer with the tools. Hugs all around with friends who had traveled separately.
One last walk around the vehicle and trailer, safely hitched back up as it should be. But there was this one outside drawer…it had been giving me trouble all weekend. The key was tricky and I wasn’t patient – that’s a bad combination. But I decide to take a chance because really, it is only about a 4 or 5 hour drive! About 30 seconds down the loop to exit, we hit a bump, and suddenly there is a tremendously loud clatter. All the tools and assorted other metal parts that were in the drawer are now lying on the dirt road. I thought about just driving off…less embarrassing. Pretend like I didn’t hear/see the metal glinting in the sun. But sense and I guess humility saved me and I got out and picked up all of the wrenches, pliers, etc and put them back into the drawer. This time I took the time to get the lock snugly secure.
I returned the tent trailer to my co-worker, and towing vehicle to my sister and her hubby, knowing I was ready to become the owner of a tent trailer. I had overcome my fears. My next step was to head out to RV City and see what would be my new home away from home during the summer months.
Until next time….