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HAVE FAITH--WILL CAMP!--Part 6--Car-Camping & Tent-Trailers       DFO807-6       13 July 1979

       1. MY MOTHER USED TO GET VERY ANGRY AT THE DEER when camping, because when she was preparing food out on the picnic table, they would often come along & snatch a piece, like nuts or vegetables & things that deer like. The deer were quite bold in some of those camps where they were used to human beings, & they would saunter around right in the camp in the daytime, snatching whatever was available & unprotected.

       2. SO IT'S A VERY GOOD IDEA TO HAVE SOME KIND OF A VERY SAFE CLEAN PLACE TO KEEP YOUR FOOD so that you won't be robbed of it by man or animal or bugs or ants or roaches or whatever. Thank God, usually the wide open spaces are free of roaches! But they do have ants & other bugs that can get into your food if it is not well contained & protected, & there are animals which will also steal your food if you leave it out, or germs who will spoil it if it's not well preserved.

       3. I THINK I'VE TOLD YOU THE STORY ABOUT THE BEAR THAT VISITED US ONE NIGHT: We thought we had everything put away, & the kids had cleaned off the table & supposedly wiped off the plastic table cloth. So I thought the table cloth would be good extra protection to throw over our tent to make sure if it rained, it didn't leak! It turned out the kids hadn't wiped the plastic table cloth off too well, & it still had at least the smell of food on it.

       4. SO DURING THE NIGHT, A BEAR CAME ALONG huffing & puffing in my ear licking the table cloth thrown over our tent! Well, when you hear a bear huffing & puffing & licking your tent about four inches from your ear, you'll think of the story of the wolf that said to the little pig, "I'll huff & I'll puff & I'll blow your house down!" So when he started scraping it with his paw, I decided it was time to get out! Because bears' paws are quite heavy & strong & I was afraid he was about to knock the tent down on top of our heads! So we ran out yelling & screaming with our hatchet & our flashlight & chased him off!

       5. DEAR LITTLE HOSEA & FAITHY WERE SLEEPING IN THE TRUNK OF THE CAR with the lid slightly open for air, but dear Hosea, smart boy, when he heard us screaming, "There's a bear in the camp!" reached up & pulled down the trunk lid & slammed it shut with him & Faithy safely inside! Then everybody woke up & got up & went chasing after the bear! So camping out has its exciting moments & its interesting difficulties & problems which you don't normally have living in a house.

       6. THE DAY WAS WHEN IT WAS NORMAL TO CAMP OUT, & LIVING IN A HOUSE WAS THE EXCEPTION! Nowadays, in modern civilisations, it seems that living in a house or an apartment or some kind of a building is the rule, & camping our is the exception. But most people seem to go camping sometime, taking a vacation or otherwise, so it has become quite popular as a vacation sport.

       7. IN FACT, IT'S NOT JUST THE POOR WHO CAMP OUT! Some of these campers have some pretty fancy camping equipment! They take along their boats & their trailers & all kinds of equipment & I think we saw in Europe more Mercedes--one of the best & most expensive cars you can buy--pulling more trailers & caravans than any other make of car! I don't know whether it's because the rich are fond of trailers & camping out, or whether it's just because the poor have found that even old Mercedes have more power & can pull them better.

       8. THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO CAMP OUT from all levels & classes & financial conditions. So, you've got lots of company if you are a camper, especially during the camping seasons. You might look a bit odd camping in the snow during the winter, but if you are up in one of the ski resorts or the Alps, you'll find there are campers even there, believe it or not!

       9. MOST CARAVANS & CAR-CAMPERS ARE EQUIPPED WITH HEATERS designed for cold weather, in case you take a Winter vacation, & therefore, most of them can be lived in year around. I can't exactly always say the same for tents, unless you live in a very mild climate or you head for the south. But even in Texas we nearly froze & were wet to the skin in our tents! So I would certainly advise, if you can afford such a luxury, that you could go a step further & get yourself a little camp trailer of some kind, if you can.

       10. WELL, WE STARTED OFF WITH THE PEDESTRIAN CAMPER & HIS BACKPACK & SLEEPING BAG, his inflatable mattress & maybe a shelter-half, some kind of a canvas cover, & we've worked our way up to tents. There are all kinds of tents, little tents, "pup" tents, just big enough for one person to sleep under. Or there are tiny tents like the one Maria & I had, just barely big enough for two people to sleep in--& only to sleep in! You couldn't possibly live in it! We did spend a few nights reading by candlelight, but we pretty much had to do our living outdoors.

       11. THERE ARE ALSO BIG FANCY TENTS FOR BIG FAMILIES.--And there are camping tents which are carried in trailers, like little luggage trailers, which unfold into a whole house, beds, kitchen & all!--Also you don't have to sleep on the ground because the trailer cover & bottom unfold into floor space & bedspace as well as a kitchen, & the tent merely covers you!

       12. THESE CAMPING TENT-TRAILERS CAN BE VERY LUXURIOUS, commodious & comfortable, mostly because you don't have to sleep on the ground & you are not sleeping or walking around on oozy wet soil when it rains! Even if your tent has a canvas floor, it can get awfully wet if it continues to rain & soaks the ground! But these little luggage trailers that unfold into a tent with a wooden floor & bed clear off the ground are very convenient.

       13. THEY ALSO FOLD UP SMALL & LIGHT & CAN BE PULLED BY ALMOST ANY KIND OF CAR. They also don't offer much wind resistance, so they don't take too much gasoline. They are much lighter than house trailers or caravans, & they don't take up much space, but of course, you also can't carry very much in them. There is not much room for storage or equipment, in order to fold it all up with the tent inside, & that's it! It's just your beds & covering, your floor & kitchen & that's about all, with very little storage space, so you can't carry much with you--which might be a good thing if you don't have a very strong car!

       14. RECENTLY ONE OF OUR LEADERS PURCHASED ONE OF THESE FOLDING TENT TRAILERS for his little family of six--himself, two wives & three kids--with enough bed space for all six of them! It was 12 years old second hand, & the man wanted $400 for it, but they talked him down to $250! So these little tent-trailers can be pretty reasonable. Well, we're sort of getting ahead of our story, because next I was going to tell you about:

       15. CAR-CAMPING! AFTER PEDESTRIAN-CAMPING THERE COMES CAR- CAMPING, where you don't have anything but a car. If you don't have anything but an automobile, you can still camp out! But you may have to have some bedrolls or sleeping bags & air mattresses, & stretch out some kind of canvas outdoors or small tent for shelter. Even before we got our station wagon, we had this small tent that Mama Eve & I slept in, & all four children slept in the car!: One on the front seat, one on the back seat & two in the trunk, believe it or not! We would empty out the trunk at night & put all our stuff on the car floors in front of the seats, or shove it under the picnic table & cover it up, to make room for all four kids to sleep in the car, while Mom & I slept in a little tent beside the car.

       16. LATER WE HAD A STATION WAGON when we would take along just two of the children & sleep them on the seats while we slept in the back. Our Ford station wagon opened up at the back in such a way that the tail gate let down & the rear window opened up, so that this extended the length of the floor in the rear far enough to put in a three-quarter, full-length mattress for Mom & me behind the back seat without folding it up (the back seat), & so there was plenty of room for us two adults to sleep on this three-quarter mattress that stretched from the back of the back seat to the end of the tail gate, & two kids on the two seats.

       17. FOR THIS PURPOSE WE BOUGHT FROM SEARS FOR ONLY $20 WHAT WAS CALLED A "STATION WAGON PORCH", which was nothing but a piece of canvas designed to fit clear around the rear end of the station wagon & completely enclose it, running from the roof clear out to the end of the upraised window & then closing in all the end & all sides & even underneath the bottom, & tied on tight with little fabric straps like suitcase straps. I got to where I could open up & put that thing on in three minutes & take it off in one!

       18. SO IT WAS A VERY CHEAP, HANDY, QUICK & EASY WAY OF CAR- CAMPING! Besides it made you look more like a bona fide genuine camper than just sleeping in your car! Only bums & vagrants sleep in their cars (ha!), whereas campers have canvas, tents, cooking utensils etc., & are actually equipped for camping! Genuine camping is legitimate, & even the best of people do it! But only poor bums & vagrants & hippies just sleep in their cars without any camping equipment!--Ha! So we were so proud of ourselves when we could drive unabashed into any campground, flip our lids, put on our "porch" & be real campers!

       19. BEFORE I GOT THAT "PORCH," we had to fold down the back seat to make room for the bed, unfold our mattress & just slept in our station wagon with one child in the front seat. We had curtains, but we didn't really look too much like campers, & all the rest of the campers who had their nice little tents & trailers & whatnot, kind of looked a little snobbishly at us, like we were more like bums just sleeping in our car!

       20. WHEREAS, IF YOU'VE GOT SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE A BONA FIDE CAMPER, if you have even a little camping equipment, even if you don't have anything but a little fold-out table & a few fold-up chairs to set outside to look like you are really genuinely camping, then you might look like you're just bums sleeping in your car!--And of course our nice olive-green canvas station wagon porch, which we wrapped around the rear of our station wagon tail gate & all, made us look very much like bona fide campers! We were prepared for it, really camping, not just bumming it in our car!

       21. SO, CAR-CAMPING CAN BE VERY COMFORTABLE CAMPING. You're up off the wet ground & well-sheltered & safe. We slept in our station wagon with the rear end wrapped up with that porch safe & dry even in the most violent storms! It even had a little plastic window in it that we could look out & also open for ventilation, with a fabric screen for mosquitoes & flies. We also used to drape mosquito netting over the car windows to keep the 'skeeters out at night for the children & all of us. That way we could sleep four in our station wagon, with a child on each seat & the two adults in the rear in our little station wagon porch! Try it! You may like it!

       22. THAT'S ONE THING ABOUT SLEEPING IN YOUR CAR--IT'S EASY TO KEEP WARM! No matter how cold it is, it's pretty easy to keep warm when there are three or four of you together, just your body heat in that small space is enough to keep you warm. Although sometimes in the morning when we woke up & it was real cold, I would grab a little can of Sterno & light it to take off the chill.

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family