Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Last Campout

Salisbury Beach State Reservation Campground
Trees? Please?
A wall of old camping gear stares at me every time I do laundry.  Covered with dust, it reminds me of our very last camp out--a sad and memorable event.

Our church planned a big camp out, starting Friday night to Sunday morning, with a big potluck on Saturday evening.  One of the church ladies had a brochure on a nearby camp site, which showed towering trees, people playing volley ball, kids swimming, etc.  It looked marvelous.

Talk about untruth-in-advertising.  After checking in, we went to our assigned spot.  Where were the trees?  Gone, all gone.  In their places stood spindly plantings.  The pool? Drained for repairs.  The volley ball court? About ¼ mile, at the far stretch of camp.

The saddest thing of all was the sewage back-up in the only shower and toilet facilities. Four toilets, each backed up, with toilet paper pieces covering the floor. Fortunately the campgrounds were spotted with Spanky’s Porta-Potties, which were nearly full.
Spanky's Portable Service - Individual Unit
source

Saturday night was about 90° and at dusk, the air started to cool.  We were each assigned food to bring, which for us was salad thankfully.  

The number of entrees was thin, but some cheerful church lady brought a huge cauldron of her special recipe chicken stew.  “You’ll just love this!” she exclaimed as she ladled it out. My husband accepted his portion, while I passed it by, and headed to the tray of cold cuts.

Most of the campers settled into their tents, while others stayed up around the campfire, singing praise hymns, without ceasing.

Around 10 pm, my husband leaped up and ran out; I could hear him retching in the brush.  There were so many others doing the same. He returned to the tent, saying “We’re leaving. Now.”  

With Spanky’s Porta-Potties by now full to the brim, there were no other viable options where to vomit or allow one to relieve one’s bowels.
Spanky's Portable Services Inc. - Your One Stop Shop for Portable Sanitation Service
Serving the needs of the public

 We gathered or grabbed valuables, leaving the tent standing, and raced to our home, about thirty miles away. It was a rough night.

My husband returned early the next morning to pack up the tent and sleeping bags.  He said many others had done to same.

Since then, we have converted from roughing it to staying in a motel.  Things change; the memories remain.



24 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! What a way to end one's camping life. That's pretty bad.

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    1. Bad and sad. We had always loved camping, esp. with our children. Now that we are grandparents and want to give our gear away, we cannot get any takers.

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  2. Blah, that sounds awful. I hate camping even if it is good. Why sleep on the ground when there is a perfectly good bed at home, I say lol

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    1. Or a nice resort type hotel? It is time to move on.

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  3. How awful! I cannot recall camping anywhere that was not decent, except maybe the campground in New England with the facilities and shower house on top of a hill. And that qualified as a problem because my sister and I could make each other laugh so easily it could be a challenge to get to the bathroom and not need a shower.

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    1. Darn those bladders! Have had the same experience, and would relish another one. Laugh on, I say. Laugh on.

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  4. Camping is exciting especially by the beach, in the sand dunes where they've buried lots of hoods..... just kidding LOL but seriously whats the rule? Extinguish campfires and never ever leave food lying about. You just never know whats lurking in the trees.

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    1. I will never know now. My blinders are on.

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  5. Hate camping. Haven't done it since Girl Scouts. My family decided to go one year (I refused), and they stories they tell... Not as bad as yours, but not pleasant all the same.

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    1. When our kids were young, it was so much work to do for one single night of misery. Somehow I kept thinking it would improve.

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  6. We camped often when I was a child. My father objected to crowds (which was anyone else) so facilities were never part of our camping equation. Small shovels and toilet paper. Squatting on thistles in the dark...
    Air beds were for wussies.
    I never warmed to the experience - but feel your pain, and hope that other memories are stronger than the pukeathon.

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    1. We camped on a tarmac near a beach. That would have been great, except it was next to San Onofre Nuclear power plant. The bathroom had warning what to do if a loud horn sounds. (Get the hell out!)

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  7. I prefer the conveniences of indoor plumbing. I can't believe we use to love tent camping so much. Roughing it now is having only one tv.

    Have a blessed evening.

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    1. Amen. We once went to a "dark" camp, which meant no electricity, a spigot for water, and one porta potty. Back in the woods, way back. I agree with the one TV thing

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  8. Never camped in a tent. Used to have a small travel trailer which we loved to move around with and saw lots of different places. Your story is pretty horrifying. I wonder what was in that chicken stew?

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    1. I suspect the chicken was left out too long, and food poisoning was the result. If we were driving from site to site, I would want a travel trailer as well.

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  9. Seems that chicken stew was special for all the wrong reasons.
    Sad about the lack of trees, but the toilet situation was despicable.
    How could anyone managing a campground allow this to happen?
    I've never been camping.

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    1. It seemed to me that the campground was going under financially. The manager was deluged with complaints, and gave the same answer "They should be here in an hour..."

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  10. That seems terribly unpleasant. I stopped camping a couple years before we had our kids. They want to try out camping now. I told my husband to have fun. I'll be home alone.

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    1. If you need any equipment, we have enough for about 15 to 20 people.

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  11. My grown kids love camping and I don't know where they learned that. I camped out once, got eaten alive by chigger bugs (which laid eggs in between my toes) and have never wanted to do it again. My idea of roughing it is staying in a 3 star hotel.

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    1. Chiggers? Eggs between toes? That was enough to put the bite into never camping out again.

      Why go for just 3 star?

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  12. Sell the camping gear on ebay.

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    1. We are giving some of it away to a friend with kids, and the rest of it is up for grabs.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!