Dan St. Yves: Roughing it (home away from home)

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Dan St. Yves 2005July 17: Ah, the great outdoors – the smell of fresh pine trees, the tingle of newly discovered allergies – tonight my wife and I begin an entire week of carefree camping under the stars, like our forefathers may have done when they rode covered wagons across the prairies in search of our potential fore-mothers. Nothing but a tent between us and the cruel, unforgiving elements – well, maybe a sleeping bag, i-Pod and a feather pillow or two.

July 18: Say, the temperature sure does drop at night out in the woods – who knew? Not to mention how unforgiving the ground seems to be on a middle-aged back. Thankfully, we aren’t too far from a Wal-Mart I spotted on the drive over here – a quick jaunt after breakfast should allow me to pick up an air mattress and a space heater. Perhaps a package or two of “rustic” Twinkies?

July 19: What in the name of Daniel Boone’s raccoon hat was that creature growling outside our tent last night? And what sort of animal develops a scent for Twinkies out in the wild? While we were both staring wide-eyed and nervously out into the dark, as the growling drew closer and closer, all I could think of was to toss our Twinkies out the screen door of the tent. This morning – no Twinkies and no bloodthirsty beast looking for live leftovers. Tonight, we sleep with our tennis racquets beside the air mattress.

July 20: Well, that was quite the rainfall overnight. If the sun comes around any time soon, we can dry out our sleeping bag by draping it over the picnic table. Just to be on the safe side, maybe I’ll drive back over to the Canadian Tire that was beside the nearby Wal-Mart and pick up a few tarps, a blow-dryer and a mop. I wonder if there’s such a thing as a battery-operated microwave oven.

July 21: Clearly, I need a refresher of my high school physics lessons. Apparently, when you string a tarp downhill from a tree branch and over your tent, if the rain falls hard and fast enough, the trough created under the weight of the rushing water provides quite a funnel effect into the side window of your tent.

We only have a couple more nights to get through, but I’d better head back over to Wal-Mart and try to find a new sleeping bag. This one is pretty much a Sham-Wow.

July 22: On the plus side, the weather turned in our favour last night. On the negative side, it was so nice out that our neighbours decided to sit outside and sing along to what they might have considered to be “pop” songs last night, and early into this morning. First off, knowing proper lyrics would be a good start if you’re going to wail away at the top of your lungs. Second, I’d rather listen to a Barry Manilow marathon than have to endure a chorus of caterwauling campers committing choral carnage…crikey.

July 23: Well, our camping trip went rather well, overall. If the outdoor restrooms had been functional this past week, it would have been downright stellar.

Is it still considered “roughing it” if you stay at a Holiday Inn?

Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at www.nonsenseandstuff.com, or contact him at [email protected].

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