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Do you have lots of energy?

October 8, 2015
Clara, me, Bob and Todd in 1975 in Tustin, California.

Clara, me, Bob and Todd in 1975 in Tustin, California.

The first camping trip I remember the five of us taking was in the Sierra Nevada mountains out of Bakersfield, California. We checked out the camping gear from the Marine Air Station at El Toro. Last time I checked, El Toro had been converted into a museum.

We had a 1966 volkswaggen bug, so we took out the back seat, replaced it with plywood. We also brought along a collection of parts and tools. And the Idiot book. We didn’t go anywhere without the book by John Muir that would help us diagnose and fix any problem with the volks.

I got the camping gear from the base. Special services allowed one to check out such things as Coleman stove, sleeping bags, a tent. I’m pretty sure we had to reserve a campsite by phone, although we would be traveling quite far up into the mountains.

Of course it rained. The children were okay with rain, but they watched me set up the tent and fix some food on the stove. They stayed in the car with their mom. A fire would have cheered them, but no firewood was available. I wandered widely in the camping area and couldn’t find a twig to burn.

We spent just the one cold night in the thin Coleman sleeping bags with blankets on and under us. Fortunately the experience didn’t hurt our future camping. We learned to buy warmer bags, to cope with rain, but best of all, to move back to Montana. Firewood is usually easy to find.

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