Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Do you remember your first time camping? Or the first time you did something you had never done before? We had a couple at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds this past weekend who had never camped before in their life, not in a tent, trailer or pop up.

We had Andrew spend Friday night and part of Saturday with us at camp. When we returned from Grumpy's Ice Cream Depot (Andrew loves ice cream) we saw this new camper coming in. Ken made the remark that this was a really nice camper made by Jayco. A short while later, there it is, the same camper, ready to pull into the site across from us. Ken had just parked his truck there because our son-in-law, Bill, had parked in our drive while waiting for us to return with Andrew. Ken started talking to this couple and found out they were newbies. They had this beautiful camper and no idea what to do with it. The man's sister was with them, holding the camper manual open, reading fervently. She had camped some in her life so she came along to help them.

We stood in the street for quite a while as Ken explained several aspects of hooking up a camper, getting water into it, waste out of it, hot water heaters, the vent over the stove, etc. I thought maybe he was overwhelming them but they were all ears, as the sister continued to delve into the manual at the side of the truck.

It so happened that they didn't realize they needed a hose to get water from the fountain. They also didn't have any hoses to dispose of their waste water and black tank. Ken explained that they could get a lot of their needed supplies at the Walmart down the road. Ken let them use our water hose and even went to the fountain to check on them. We both told them to feel free to ask us if they had any questions or needed help setting up, etc. Later that day, Ken asked them how things were going and all seemed well. They left to go home and get their dog and we didn't see them anymore that day.

When we woke up the next morning, the man came over while we were having coffee on the deck. Ken again asked how things were going. "Not so good," said the man. "We can't get water to come out of anywhere." I remembered he was amazed at how long it took to fill his water tank when we were at the fountain the day before. "Do you want me to come over and take a look?" Ken offered. "Yes, I'd appreciate it."

Even though they had filled their water tank to full, they had no water left in the tank when Ken was over there. It happened that the valve on the hot water tank was left open and all the water ran out. Ken refilled their water tank using our water barrel.

I hope they weren't embarrassed by this. I know we have had our moments while camping and although this is our fourth year in a trailer, I still get confused on how some things work. I ask Ken the same questions over and over. I know it never frustrates him to have to tell me again and again.

This reminds me of our favorite story about camping. Ken and I and his sister, Barb and her husband, Ed, (now deceased) bought an old camper together. We took it to the Allegheny Mountains in Marienville, PA. We parked it at the top of a hill at the end of the road. There was no electric, water or dump station nearby. Barb and I were elated to have a toilet after having camped in tents before this with nowhere to go but the woods. We used it freely, flushing away. Before the weekend was over, the waste tank was full and there was no more flushing to be had. Ken and Ed decided the tank needed emptied. We had no hoses or "blue boy" tank to dump with. The guys came up with the idea that they would put a trash bag inside another one and open the valve. Ed got the job of holding the trash bag while Ken turned the valve. Whoosh!!! The bag filled up so fast that Ed was yelling, "Turn it off! Turn it off!" He had his heels dug into the ground trying to hold onto the bag without it spilling all over him. The valve finally was turned off just in time. The next question was, "What do we do with this bag now?"

It was decided that they would take it into the woods and bury it. Barb and I laughed and laughed as they struggled to carry this bag without letting it break open. We learned our lesson on our first outing with a trailer. Learning new things can create lasting memories.

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