Not sure if I like this title. Couldn’t decide if I should include a question mark or exclamation mark. And I couldn’t decide on the exact title, so here are some alternates;

I’m too old for this sh#t!?

Am I too old for this sh#t?

Camping…..cheaper than therapy?

Roughing it…..sort of

Living outdoors….thank god we can go home

How to shit in a campground bathroom (stolen from the book How To Shit In The Woods).

By now I’m guessing you figured out we just returned from a camping trip, and you’d be correct.  We spent six nights at Acadia National Park, a two and a half day drive from home. Long drive but well worth it. We camped in a very nice private campground which, fortunately, only allows tents and very small campers. No mega-motor homes running generators all night for their AC, big screen TV, coffee grinder, computer…you get the picture. Each campsite had a place for your vehicle, a level platform for a tent, a fire ring, electrical outlets, clean water. Close by was a very clean bathroom with hot showers. Next to the bathroom was a building called The Gathering Place which provided a strong internet wi-fi connection along with good coffee and sweets every morning. Hardly roughing it, although you are living outdoors.

It takes a couple days to get into a camping routine and once we did I reflected on what I feel are the ‘The Many Steps Of Camping’;
1) arrive in the afternoon when campgrounds are peaceful and the weather is good; you’ll feel a sense of serenity
2) then have a big discussion concerning the feng shui of your campsite; tent orientation, etc
3) OK, the campsite is set up just the way you want it; so now what do we do?
4) we could cook dinner on our new fancy camp stove, but better yet lets drive up the road to that diner we passed on the way in; setting up camp is exhausting!
5) the campfire; once you burn up 3 editions of the Sunday NY Times and your fire is roaring lets spend the next 2 hours staring into it…
6) at which point you’re really sleepy but you still need to brush your teeth, secure all the food in the van, walk back and forth to the camp bathroom at least 3 times, get into the tent with your partner while elbowing one another to get organized and then snuggle into your sleeping bags only to discover half the air escaped from the mattress so you both wiggle out of your sleeping bag and discuss who’s going to walk back to the van to retrieve the battery operated air pump while the other finds the nozzle in the mattress at which time you both say ‘screw it’ and sleep on a half filled mattress. Now that you’re once again snuggled into your sleeping bag you decide to check email on your iPhone only to remember there’s no internet within 20 miles and you’re too far from the Gathering Place to receive wi-fi…..argh!
7) first morning, groggy from a fitful night of sleep, it’s time to get the stove fired up, fill the camp kettle with water and get it boiling to make some great cowboy coffee only to discover those special beans you found at Whole Foods are WHOLE beans….damn it! Wonder what time The Gathering Place starts serving coffee?

Here are some other observations worth considering before deciding if You’re Too Old For This Sh#t;

– you will be awakened by a symphony of zippers at 2:00am, folks up to pee….zip zip zip, pee pee pee, zip zip zip, back in the sleeping bag
– camping is good, even great, when the weather is good; you know, between 50 and 60 degrees in the morning and 75-80 during the day and, most importantly, dry. Deviate from these conditions and what could have been a great outdoor adventure becomes a living hell; everything is damp, clothes, sleeping bags, newspaper to start the fire, firewood….literally dampening your spirit. And if there’s a serious rain all bets are off….there’s a good chance we’ll abandon our campsite and head for the nearest motel only to return after the rain has stopped and, hopefully, things have dried out….I’m serious, we’ve done this.
– do we take the next step and upgrade to a small camper, maybe a pop-up or 16′ fiberglass travel trailer with a nice queen bed and a bathroom smaller than those on a cruise ship? We have friends who have gone down this road, starting small and each year going up in size. And it doesn’t stop with the travel trailer….you need to upgrade your vehicle which will guzzle gas faster than a alcoholic guzzles a drink. And for some it doesn’t end with the 35′ fifth wheel travel trailer; we have friends who literally sold 95% of their possessions, bought a huge motor home that they now live in full time!

Now that we’re back in the comfort of our home and have had time to reflect, I’m confident we’re not going to sell our worldly possessions and become full time campers or RV’ers.  But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to occasionally go on a camping trip; we really do enjoy it; the fresh air, disconnecting from all our electronics, no TV, playing Scrabble by lantern light, the smell of the camp fire, s’mores, meeting and getting to know other campers.  And when you arrive home you appreciate your everyday comforts; private pooping with soft toilet paper, a hot shower that doesn’t cost $1.00 for five minutes, even air conditioning and heat! And I can definitely check email on my iPhone from the comfort of my bed which, by the way, doesn’t need inflating. And no zip zip zip to go pee pee pee!

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