Julie's Camping Story


October 7, 2023

I am not going to give any last names to protect the innocent. Bernie and Mona, good friends, just saying.

The meaning of a saga goes as follows: “A long story of heroic achievement,” and that is what happened.

The beginning of this story starts with a dream I had, which I had carried in my head for a very long time.

This repeat of this deja-vu moment for me started at the Pioneer Farm, which is located just west of Roseau. I thought…“how amazing it would be to have a camper, and to park it somewhere in the center of this farm”.

If I camped, I would probably eat my dinner in town, in a place which has a sit-down meal. I might order a steak and a baked potato with all the fixings. After this amazing meal, I would go to Super One and buy a pint of Moose Tracks ice-cream. Taking my dessert back to the farm, I would paint, eat my ice-cream and watch the sun go down. No mosquitoes, no rain, and no grasshoppers. Sleeping in a camper would definitely mean taking a Tylenol P.M. Of course my camper would have a bathroom, and I would have no worries about running into a bear or a skunk in the middle of the night.

The greatest impact on my sensitive nature would happen the next morning. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to sit outside in a very comfortable chair? Spending time looking at the early morning mist rising and smelling the freshness of the morning? All of that and chocolate coffee. No sounds, just the twitter of a robin, and the soft hum of a dragon fly. Sigh, it would be wonderful.”

I shared my dream with two of my good friends. Bernie bought a camper. Now, I thought, I am heading for fun! “We can do this,” I said, with a gleeful expression. “We can go places, and eat ice-cream, and drink chocolate coffee!! We can have soooo much fun!!!!”

Our adventurous plan was started. We decided our first trial run would be at the Petro Pumper in Thief River Falls. It is located in town, close to the Mexican restaurant, the one with the colorful chairs, and junk stores. We would go, self-contained with snacks, and I would bring my chocolate coffee. It was all set, I would drive my car, and meet Bernie and Mona in Badger, as the two of them would take the truck and haul the camper. Then I would follow them the rest of the way to Thief River Falls.

August 19th and 20th: The following chain of events is evidence of a need to be flexible. I had eaten (the night before), some borscht stew made by my awesome friend Gloria. I can mention her name because she is a famous cook (pie-maker!). Her soup was a delicious Cabbage Borscht, with all the fixings. After eating this wonderful soup, I decided to drive to SuperOne and buy a pint of ice-cream. I ate it.

Oh my, yup, it happened. I guess the combination of ice-cream and cabbage wasn’t a good idea. At 4:30 a.m I was sitting in my chair with a tummy-ache. Then I got a text from Bernie, (She saw that I was up and online.) She was also up and had a tummy-ache too! Why is it that things never go as planned?

Immediately “Plan B” went into effect: Bernies husband entered into the situation. He suggested that their camper be brought out into their field. He parked the camper by a power pole. Yup, he did, everything was lined up for this great event.

“The Night in the Camper” (not the museum). I drove out to her house and when I got there I realized that I had forgotten my pillow and blanket. Oh joy. This was the first bleep on the screen. We ate some peanut butter sandwiches for dinner with the famous rye bread which Bernie buys from the deli at SuperOne, and snacked until the time came to make the excursion out to the back 40. They walked, I drove, because I had “more stuff to bring.” Borrowing a pillow and a blanket, I then was self-contained. I had borrowed a cot from my friend Marilyn who is a pastor in Grygla. She is awesome and a warrior. I set up her cot and opened all the windows because the camper was stuffy. Ahhh... the fresh air smelled sooo good.

We went to bed. After laying there for a couple of hours I realized that I should have had a thicker mattress. Next, I had to get up for a personal pitt-stop. I had a six-inch space between my cot and the next sleeping space. Carefully making my way into the bathroom, I remembered that the “husband man” said to us campers, “don’t flush the toilet! Just pour water into the toilet and whatever is in there will go down by itself.” I saw the water bottles sitting on the counter, but automatically, because it was the middle of the night, put my toe on the flushey thingey, I got squirted in the face. I mean I really got squirted in my face. NOT Nice! I took some toilet paper and wiped off my wet face, and mopped up the floor. Thankfully there was a wastebasket. That was a bad experience!

By about 4:30 a.m. I was still awake and cold air was blowing in from open windows. With only six inches of space, I managed to close the overhead and side window.

It was a noisy night. I’m not accusing anyone of snoring, but the inside of my head kept thinking that it was noisy. So, I then got up and made my way outside to find a pair of earplugs which were still in my car. It was poor planning, I should have had them in my pocket! Oh joy. Then my night turned peaceful.

I slept until 5:30 a.m. when I was awakened by Bernie. She was up for the day! “I thought, I’m awake! There is no way I am going to go back in that bathroom.” Oh joy, so I got up and headed out the door. Outside, I aimed my body for my car, I couldn’t walk in a straight line. Maybe it was the uneven ground, but I stumbled like a drunken man! Bernie just stood there staring.

When you learn a lesson don’t quit. You should just learn from your bad planning and do it better the next time.

The sequel to this story: Our camping intent: Plan C

Friday, Sept 29, We were all ready and had our complete act together. Camping gear packed in the car a whole day ahead. This time I forgot nothing. We arrived at our location (Bernie’s house) and her hubby went out to the back 40 to check the camper. It was full of little Asian Beetles, and mouse poopies. Not good. He tried to vacuum, but when he aimed the vacuum at them they just laughed and the beetles flew in the air, (staying in the camper and not going outside). We didn’t laugh! “Yuck,” we said, “no way are we going to sleep with a bunch of bugs!” Sooo, we slept in the house.

Things never go as planned. We didn’t quit, but plan C had a bug in it. Actually “bugs”. We had fun the following day, going to Baudette, drinking chocolate coffee, a furniture store and a thrift store. You have to make do with what you have to do with. It is ok to revise your plan, but don’t throw the whole plan out because there is fun and good things to experience if you just look for them. (Right??) So I will go ahead and dream my dreams. About bug free mornings and chocolate Coffee.

Blessings, Julie


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