Saturday, July 7, 2012

My 100+ Degree Camping Trip

We're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave.  The temperature's rising; it isn't surprising... - Irving Berlin

I took a solo camping trip this weekend.   Part of the point of this trip was to get me out of the house and my car out of the garage so That Man could work on the race car in the garage.

In case you've been living in a cave or something, we here in the Midwest (and plenty of the rest of the country) are not only in the midst of a drought, but a heat wave, and NOT a tropical heat wave, either.  We're having desert weather.  (Put down your fork - I said desert, not dessert.)

Indiana summers are normally swelteringly humid and miserable, but June was hot and unbelievably dry.  This is our driest and hottest summer since 1988.

We've been flirting with 100 degrees for the past few weeks.  Heck, we've gotten past the flirting stage.  We hit 104 and 105 officially last week, and the outside thermometer in my car read 110 while I was driving one evening.  It was supposed to moderate a bit (you know you're in trouble when the forecast highs have DROPPED to the mid- to high nineties), but now we're right back up there with temperatures over 100.

The grass in our yard has mostly gone dormant and dead brown, except for what's in the shade of the maple trees in the front yard.  The back yard is toast.  We don't like to water the yard because that makes the roots shallow, but it's tempting.  (Be strong!)  Even if we wanted to, we're under watering restrictions.  People with even addresses can water on Mondays and Wednesdays, and people with odd addresses can water on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It reminds me of the late 1970s when we could only buy gas on alternating days.  I had an odd license plate number, so I could fill up on odd dates, but not on evens.

But I digress...

I had planned this camping trip specifically to get out from under That Man's feet, and, well, to go camping.  I made reservations at a state park I've never visited before and started assembling the equipment.  I gathered up the coolers, water jug, sleeping bag, pillow, cot, made lists of clothes and food, and planned my driving route.  What's missing?

I couldn't find my tent.

It's been 4 years since I've been able to get away and camp.  You know, elderly parents and all that entails. So, I wasn't exactly sure where the tent was.  I asked The Man.  He said he'd moved "all the tents" out of the shed and garages and he thought "they" probably were in the attic.  Well, I knew where my backpacking tent is, and it's not in the attic, but of course, that's not the tent I wanted.  I wanted my dome tent.

I climbed into the attic, and there was a (yes ONE) tent bag.  Oh joy!  There it is!  Got it down and into the back yard, unzipped the bag, dumped out the tent and unrolled it.  Wrong tent.  It was a huge multi-room tent I'd bought several years ago for The Girl's Girl Scout troop.  So where the heck was the dome tent?  Had I  imagined buying it?  I thought I was going crazy.

Well, I HAD to have a tent, for Pete's sake, so I started shopping.  There were small tents (sorry, I have one, thanks) and huge tents (ditto).  Where were the mid-size tents?  Nuttin' nowhere.  RATS.

Meanwhile, I was going over my lists and looking for my camping stuff.  Most of it is in plastic storage boxes on shelves in the laundry/mud room.  So, I was scanning the shelves and mentally checking things off my lists, and lo and behold - there was a tent bag and a canopy box, staring me in the face, on the shelf over the treadmill, in plain sight every time I leave the house.

Good grief.

So I grabbed the tent bag and the canopy box and started packing!  Yee-haw!  I'm going CAMPING!

One problem.  The temperature.  The temperature had moderated during the week, but the forecast for this weekend was right back up there.  Oh, I've camped at 100 degrees before.  I packed a box fan and a heavy duty outdoor electrical cord so I could have an artificial breeze.  No problemo.

I  took my time driving south (SOUTH!  In this heat, why didn't I decide to head for Michigan?)  toward Harmonie State Park.  Once I got on the other side of Indianapolis, I left the interstate and took my time, driving state highways through the country and small towns.  The corn in the fields looked strange because the leaves are tightly rolled, avoiding the sun and conserving moisture.  Some trees are doing the same.

I arrived at the park, checked in, and found my space.  The thermometer in my car read 103.  Oh my.  The picnic table for my space was all the way out by the road, so I started by dragging it back under a tree.  My word.  Then I spread out the ground cloth and dumped the tent bag onto the picnic table and unzipped it.  I found another ground cloth, stakes, poles, instructions, rain fly...

No tent.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

No tent.


And the sweat  was dripping off me like I'd been hosed down.  Totally.  Gross.

To make a long story short, I surrendered.  I gave up.  I quit.  This camping trip just wasn't meant to be.  So I put everything back in the car and headed back home.  On the interstate.  When I got home, That Man had gone to work, so I texted him to say I had come back home.

He replied, "Did you have a nice drive?"

What a guy!

[NOTE:  The tent was in a box UNDER the tent bag.  I didn't check it.  Typical.]


  1. Oy vey! What a story. Sorry you didn't get to camp. Perhaps this fall?!

  2. I was right there with you, looking, sweating, dragging, pulling, cursing the heat, then....laughing my head off!

    Too funny.