Posted by: Modern Mom | October 12, 2011

The Happy Camper

We just acquired a new tent camper! Well, OK, it’s not new but it’s like new to us. It’s the camper I spent many a summer in as a teen and it has been living, unloved, in my parents’ driveway for the past 13 years. Living through the harsh Montana winters, hail storms, freezes and feeling abandoned and hopeless that it would ever be loved by a family again.

This week my hubby was in Montana for a few jobs, and was able to tow it home after a few wiring repairs. The camper must have felt pretty good to be opened up, aired out, and put back to work. Hubby said it towed beautifully and was in immaculate condition. Truly, a happy camper.

This baby holds many a fond memory for me. There was the trip through Canada one summer. We pulled in late to a campground on the Montana/Canada border. We were surprised at the vacancy of the beautiful campground. Almost no occupants in the middle of the summer at such a beautiful location? Lucky us! We had the set-up down to a science, so setting up after dark was no big thing for us. We got settled in for the night. Shortly after we all fell asleep, the trains started coming. Right next to the campsite. I mean, it was like they were on top of us. The first couple were a nuisance, but they just kept coming. Every half hour. All night long. By morning, none of us had slept, and we were so rummy and goofy from hearing so many trains all night, that we just started giggling uncontrollably. Us and the two other campers in the campground. Guess that’s why it was so empty.

The maiden voyage was an interesting one. My brother and I had those thin little slumber bags made for sleepovers, not for Montana camping – even if it was summer. We were cold. My mom had a brilliant idea inspired by her own childhood. Her mother used to get hot rocks from the fire, wrap them in towels, and place them at the foot of her bed. Brilliant! And it worked, too, for a bit. Until we smelled smoke. Yes, that hot rock had an ember wrapped up with it that burned a hole clean through the towels, and my brother’s sleeping bad, and into the foam mattress.

I remember just opening it in our driveway during the summer. We’d have sleepovers out there, thinking we were so cool. Away from our parents, left to our own devices. Not that we took advantage, but it was nice to feel responsible. I remember during those times in the driveway just setting a puzzle on the table and spending weeks with my mom piecing it together. I still have one that we did together. It’s laminated and waiting for a position on the wall.

When hubby got home I couldn’t wait to open it and see if it was everything I remembered. Sure enough, it’s clean as a whistle and just like I remember it. The boys were elated to have a new play area with beds and a couch. My husband and I are excited to put it back in service, and are even considering a maiden voyage next weekend – weather permitting. The ol’ Coleman is going to have new life breathed into her, and I can’t wait to make new memories with my family.



  1. Amy this is so awesome and you are a great writer as well……good job and Wyatt looks so happy to have it! 🙂


  2. […] managed to re-live a family memory of my own from our voyage through Canada. Not one of the best nights of sleep, but a good maiden […]


  3. […] tried to recreate the recipe again on our maiden voyage of the exact camper I grew up with, and the exact pie-maker. I couldn’t wait to see if I was as good at it. I […]


  4. […] October we gained a new camper and were so excited that we immediately took it out to enjoy the beautiful Fall weather we had. We […]


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