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Old 11-01-2013, 08:15 AM   #1
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Grown-Up Camping

Taking the entire family camping is always a fun get-away, as long as it doesn't rain. Over the years we have logged hundreds of trips in various RV's, Trailers, Pop-ups and tents with the kids and dog in tow. Some trips were just us, others with with a few other families and some with over 35 families. Now that the kids are grown we still venture out every opportunity we get. Sometimes the kids come by and visit for the day and maybe once a year they even come with us. Camping without the kids is a different experience alltogether. We love family camping and some day we will be able to introduce our grandchildren to camping, but until then.

Nobody goes over the handlebars on their bike
We don't get up in the middle of the night to take someone to the bathroom
We usually don't have to tell someone to be careful near the fire
Our campsite is no longer strewn with bikes, helmets, balls, towel lines, small chairs to trip over and coolers full of juice boxes
We only have to make one bed and can actually use the dining table first thing in the morning
There is no X-Box, Playstation or a pile of the Little Mermaid DVD's in the camper
We don't spend the day at the germ infested water park
We don't pack eight towels, two boogie boards, a cooler, five chairs, sunblock, potatoe chips, doritos, sandwiches, juice boxes, frisbees, sandcastle buckets and shovels, hats, kites, a roll of quarters for the arcade, sneakers, sandels, two umbrellas and what is left of our sanity
We no longer play candy bar bingo
We still go to Kareoke night, but now we are not required to participate
We usually still have cash in our pocket at the end of the weekend
Setting up and breaking down is far less kaotic
If it's a short drive to the campground, there isn't much talking while towing
If it's a long drive, I speak when spoken to. Otherwise the DW will spend the 2-3 hours texting her girlfirends in the caravan behind us.
Spring and Fall camping still bring waves of hot flashes even when the sun isn't out
The cabinet that used to house the Playstation and DVD's is now stocked with various containers of adult beverages
The cooler only has one selection and there are no juice boxes
There are four chairs, two for us and two for company and they are much more comfortable than the old beach chairs. The rest of our fellow campers carry their own chairs over to the site when visiting
The food selection is carefully planned out and the daily parade of appetizers and snacks is endless
If we go camping for just a weekend, I only have to dump the tanks once and there are no plastic toys jammed in the pipe
Site seeing and day tripping are slow paced, nobody starts crying when it's time to leave and we don't have to buy everything in the store
When we go shopping at the Jip-Joint near the Ocean, we never return to camp with a brightly painted hermit crab
In the morning, we enjoy a nice quite cup of coffee while watching the news
We get to sleep late if we want and have no place to be at any particular time

Adult Camping is still family camping, just a bit different from the crazy days of raising a family by the seat of your pants.

Did I miss anything?
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:33 AM   #2
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I think you missed the out stretched arms for night time hugs and when they crawl up into your chair to cuddle by the fire (I have a 17yr old that still does this).
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:38 AM   #3
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I think this hit the nail on the head.....many, many years for me to get to this point. Although at this stage i like having the kids with us....just not all their stuff as you pointed out.

We (wife and I ) took our fist trip alone this last weekend. As you stated it was far less mayhem and she was actually able to read an entire book. I chose to sit quietly by the fire and listen to the world series without ANY interruptions. Our lives right now seem to revolve around feeding loud angry mouths at regular intervals.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:21 AM   #4
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In two hours, we are on our way out to our last grow-up camping trip for the season.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryand View Post
I think this hit the nail on the head.....many, many years for me to get to this point. Although at this stage i like having the kids with us....just not all their stuff as you pointed out.

We (wife and I ) took our fist trip alone this last weekend. As you stated it was far less mayhem and she was actually able to read an entire book. I chose to sit quietly by the fire and listen to the world series without ANY interruptions. Our lives right now seem to revolve around feeding loud angry mouths at regular intervals.
Feel mostly the same here. Love my kids dearly, and time is flying by! Oldest is 10 and the thought of her driving in a few years scares the crap outa me. But, rush is why we bought a camper when we did. Nothing better than a weekend away from the normal distractions. Lots of quality daddy daughter time happens while camping. Whether it be endless games of Frisbee, washers, and board games, sitting by a fire together, or cooking a fun breakfast together, these are memories I hope will be cherished for years to come.


Now the other side. Some if my favorite trips have been just the dw and I, and maybe the 1 yo. Any way you look at it, great memories!
Happy Campin!!
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:34 AM   #6
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There is a season...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMan View Post
I think you missed the out stretched arms for night time hugs and when they crawl up into your chair to cuddle by the fire (I have a 17yr old that still does this).
AquaMan, I get it, although in the interest of full disclosure, my son and I combined for over 500 pounds at age 17 and did not, therefore, curl up together in a chair beside the fire much at that age. I have broken literally a couple of dozen lawn chairs in my life (the stories are legion), most of them around the fire, and do not need any help in adding to that total. Since joining this forum, I have grown to suspect most of them were made in China, but then I digress.

Here's what you need to know: FAMILY CAMPING IS AWESOME. It was awesome on my honeymoon in a tent in the Smokies, when "family" was just us. It was awesome when the kids were young, in tents, despite the heat and rain, and despite pulling a utility trailer piled full of everything I could bring along to facilitate kid fun. It was awesome in their teen years when we shifted to the PUP and the associated comforts, piling the back of the pickup full of stuff and carrying bikes on the hitch, often driving two cars to carry the cousins or other friends, etc., who were coming along for the weekend. When those "friends" evolved into boyfriends and girlfriends and we had to use the dinette bed, depriving us of breakfast use of the dinette and requiring us to climb over suitcases to get to the beds, it was still awesome. When they got married and joined us whenever they could (usually just for a day here and there), it remained awesome, both when they were in camp and when it was "just us two." So while I understand AquaMan's sentiment, I also totally appreciate the OP's position, too.

To be clear, there is literally NOTHING I treasure more than time away with just my DW. Again, full disclosure requires admitting my DW does not always see the calculus the same as do I. She has the "mom gene" and there is no turning it off, nor would I want to do so. I'm happiest when she is happy first, and I've learned to forego time alone with her if she wants instead to gather together with the clan, which time she ALWAYS makes wonderful for all of us.

We have now squarely entered that phase of life where our married children are joining us intermittently with children of their own, a trend I imagine (and hope) will increase with time as we share our love of camping with our grandkids.

So having circled the block a few times and seen the view from multiple perspectives, I can only say there is a season for all these things and they are all awesome in their own way. Life is just like that, if you allow it to be. Now I find myself enjoying the best of all these things. Here's the trick: I just have to camp more than our kids can possibly stand, so as to ensure there are times where it is just me and the DW. It is tough, but I can handle it.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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DW and I have only camped together alone once since we had kids (two under 10yrs old)...though we discuss time to time how neat it'll be to plan and camp once our children are moved on...I will actually miss these adventures we're having now as kids just make you go & explore on a whole different level than as adults!

I think when that day comes, I'll source out my services at each campground to the young couple with kids, to wake up early and experience kids enthusiastic morning exploration/hike/bike ride so the parents can sleep in
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:51 AM   #8
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You guys are sweet!

We recently had our first child and dog free trip in the TT. It was pure bliss! Nice, quiet, and stress-free! Aaaaaaahhh!

Did I miss the child and dog? Not really. But then, it was my first "break" from them in a very LONG time.
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:08 PM   #9
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Wifey and I both miss camping with the three kids. Some of our fondest memories is watching the kids eyes light up when we pulled into the campground. We hardly got thru the gates when the kids got out to run and find our campsite. Now that the kids are older and 2 don't live nearby any more, Wifey and I enjoy the solitude and adult conversation and cocktails throughout the day. It's two different lifestyles and each has it's benefits. Our youngest daughter, now 21, enjoys driving to meet us at a campground and stay overnight. She's still our baby girl, but now more our equal, not our lil' kid. Like the OP stated, time flies. Enjoy the lil' ones while you can. Family time makes for some very special memories.
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
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Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy our time away, but surely hope that when we are finally empty nesters, the kids/grandkids will always be around for campouts.
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