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Month: July 2016

Follow our Journey!

Follow our Journey!

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Our blog will be quiet for the next 2 weeks as we enjoy an awesome camping trip as a family. Please follow our journey on our Instagram account @2crazycampers.

Check back for lots of great posts upon our return!

Experts?!

Experts?!

So I have been doing research on this job change for awhile now and I have to take issue with one of the quotes that keeps popping up. “Read at least 3 books on any given subject and you’re an expert on the subject.”  Really? 3 Books is all it takes to become an expert on a topic! I guess they’ve never experienced camping! I mean I’m no Henry Ford, but even I know that you can’t know everything by reading 3 BOOKS!!!

Henry Ford

I suppose that when you read about the great outdoors and how unpredictable it can be, you may be inclined to believe that by packing everything in your house and your kitchen sink, you’ll be ok in the outdoors. Oh so wrong!! I am a firm believer in the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” But what I know from experience is that sometimes, you just have to ride out the storm in the truck/car.

Take for instance, our first camping trip together as a married couple. We were young and in love and trying to camp at our favorite camping grounds, only to find there were no spots available. No problem, we’ll just move to another campground just around the lake from where we were. We had just bought our first tent, just received a camping certificate for free rental, and had only been married maybe a month, two tops. This was going to be great!!!!!

This turned out great, but we watched as a storm rolled in and filled our little campsite with over 6 inches of water, not to mention that the grounds where we did find a spot, dug out the tent location and put small gravel into the area so as to provide a good level spot (6 inches below the ground level). So as a young and dumb couple of kids experienced the torrential rain, and we watched as a box of facial tissue started soaking up the 12 inches of rain that was sitting in the bottom of our tent, we didn’t make out like I had planned. Jenny cried, HARD! I was mad at the campgrounds and what was worse was the rental was non-refundable. We did manage to finagle another night rental certificate from the host on our way out, soaking gear in the back of the pick-up. I remember not even folding the tent, I just pulled the stakes out, managed to undo as many connections from the poles that I could, and stuffed it under the Tonneau cover that I had on my truck at the time. I’m not even sure that we unpacked the sleeping bags from the tent floor, or the clothes for that matter. I do remember telling Jenny on the way home, that we would park the truck, behind the garage, so no one would know that we were home and we would “camp” at home, which we did.

Experts as we were at that point, we didn’t take into consideration things like weather when we camped, or even location and conditions of the site. We were just like I said, young and dumb. Please don’t get me wrong, I have read a great many books in my life, and continue to believe that reading is fundamental in the knowledge of something, BUT you have got to have real-world experience in order to be an expert. That is where my philosophy and many of these other people’s has differed. I was taught a process of learning that I believe has to be incorporated into every experience you want to learn.

So what’s the process? Think about how you’ve learned anything in your life. If you have a thing in mind, remember back to the first moments that you didn’t know anything about this. It’s really hard, but the not-knowing was scary and exciting at the same time. Who was there? Usually it was a parent or a teacher. What were they doing? They were doing the thing that you couldn’t. They were showing you the right way, hopefully, of doing this process successfully. So, first must come some form of example, followed by a little experiment with the parent/ teacher around to show you, hands-on what to do, and then they have to let go and let you do it, ON YOUR OWN! You are going to make mistakes, but that is where the expertise comes to be finely polished and you become more and more proficient. You don’t just stand up and walk as a baby, nor do you just start riding your bike, driving (I wish I had been around for teaching some people how to do this!) or anything else. You must have practice to be good enough to perform any task. Camping is not something to give up on. If we had given up after that first experience, we would never have gotten to see our little boys enjoy throwing leaves at the campsite, never enjoyed taking naps on the hammock, not gotten to spend time with valued members of our family on a more personal level. We also wouldn’t have the bad experiences, but when you look back on your experiences, MOST of the time, only the good memories remain and the bad are a whole heap funnier than they were at the time. Keep trying, it’s a lot more fun to try than to quit and give up.

 

 

Why Didn’t I think of That? Camping Tips You could Have Easily Thought Of.

Why Didn’t I think of That? Camping Tips You could Have Easily Thought Of.

 

There are so many things that are produced for camping and being in the outdoors. Coleman has a plethora of new devices every time I go into the Outlet store. But how do “they” come up with such simple things? Easy, “they” think about a problem and try to come up with a solution instead of complaining about it. So let’s take a look at some of the useful products, shall we!

Old Lantern  

  1. The first thing that you need is a Frogg Toggs Chilly pad. This one invention has been the key to our success hiking and the, “Duh, why didn’t I bring the chilly pad!” moments when we’ve forgotten them. They are amazingly cool and all they need is dipped into water and they’ll re-cool instantly. It’s just like our sweat keeps us cool, why didn’t I think of this?
  2. A gear loft in a tent or bags for your keys and wallet in a tent. How many times do I kick off my shoes to go back into the tent and dig for my keys? Now that we have a tent with bags specifically for them, never! And everyone is trying to dry their socks in a gear loft, but the tent we have has a place to hang a flashlight, great for trying to get into a moving air mattress.
  3. The plastic tote! As avid campers as we are, we learned a long time ago that keeping our gear in a safe container made sense for storage as much as for transporting. But whoever came up with the tote was a genius. Lightweight and durable, a great alternative to the heavy, wooden boxes I lugged around for youth fairs and they are no fun if they smash a toe.
  4. I know there are hundreds of posts and pins about spices in Tic-Tac containers, but Coleman has a salt and pepper shaker that is the size of a Tic-Tac container. Split in the middle, it is the coolest do-dad I’ve been given, hands-down ever.
  5. The multi-tool Spork. I found one of these a long time ago and love using it on my guys-only trips, Jen doesn’t like it but we usually eat out of the pans we cook with and do ok for ourselves without the women-folk on these trips. But with the added bonus tools, this thing can definitely make a camping trip more enjoyable (less dishes to do) or ruin it if you forget it.
  6. EZ Up Canopy!!! This is one of the greatest things. It’s just what it says, super EZ to put Up. It can take a little work by yourself, at least on ours due to age and weathering of storms that have bent the legs a little, but it is still the fastest way to put shade over the eating and cooking area. Ours even came with wheels on the storage bag, making it even easier to roll out of the truck and directly where you want to set it up.

These are just a few of the things that we use to make our camping expeditions a little better, there are hundreds out there. If you have a cool do-hickey that you’ve concocted or found that you couldn’t live without on your camping excursions, let us know. You never know what will work until you try!! Have fun camping!

Throwback Thursday – 2007

Throwback Thursday – 2007

Rain, flooding, a sweet-toothed raccoon and a tornado….

Ever had something really bad happen and someone says to you “someday you’ll laugh about this”?  Well, that would be this story. And yes, we CAN laugh about it now!

It was September, Labor Day weekend at Roaring River, 2007. Sam and I were supposed to be on vacation and celebrating our birthdays (Sept. 1st and 4th). We pre-paid for 3 nights of camping (non-refundable). However, we had no more set up our tent before the rain started. Did that stop us? No. In fact, it helped the fish bite and Sam had a great time fishing that afternoon!

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Then it rained and rained and rained. The river was moving closer to the tent by the second day. Did that stop us? Not yet!

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Then, during our second night there we were woke by a horrible sound. Have you heard what a mad racoon sounds like when it invades camp?!?! It’s scary… just sayin’! So, we aren’t sleeping well anyway – we’re wet, cold and frazzled – AND THEN, we have a man shake our tent at 2 am in the morning and tells us to IMMEDIATELY drive to the park lodge to take shelter from a tornado which was headed directly for the valley we were in.

Did this stop us? Yes. Yes, it did.

We rode out the rest of the night on a couch in the lodge. Come first sunrise, we returned to our tent to find the racoon ate nothing but the ENTIRE bag of marshmallows and EVERYTHING soaked. We didn’t even bother to pack the correct way… we just pulled up tent stakes and threw tent and gear in the truck and left.

Things we learned:

1. Anything can happen!

2. Don’t pre-pay. There is a good chance you won’t get a refund in event of an emergency.

3. Raccoons like marshmallows. They have crazy nimble paws. And protect your coolers.

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What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you? Please share, we’d love to hear it!