Back to Nature…Sorta

This weekend the Collins clan (Mr. C, Moi, Chatter Child and Dancing Daughter) went camping. Okay, it’s not really CAMPING per se. It is, in my book, but since there were people there in TENTS, I guess for some I don’t camp. I RECREATE.

I am one of the dreaded RV people.

Our trailer has a furnace, an air conditioner, a shower, a bathroom, and EVEN a MICROWAVE. Now, may I please just explain a few things. The microwave does not get used very much. Many of the places we go do not have hookups. And the generator will not run the microwave. So we don’t use it much. But it’s nice to know it’s there. It’s a great place to store bread products. Sort of like a super sealed bread box.

But the rest of the stuff? It gets used. I am waaaaaayyyy too old to be thinking that sleeping in a tent, in a sleeping bag, possibly on an air mattress, is fun. Air mattresses are notoriously unreliable. I know this to be fact. I have heard countless “air mattress poops out” stories. I have a few of my own. When the air deflates, you are inevitably left sleeping on six rocks. Very comfy. The next day, you find you have become Neanderthal Man. Walking like a Neanderthal is not cool. Walking that way because of an air mattress that malfunctioned is SOOO not cool. Thinking that something made up of plastic and AIR is going to support you–and paying for that something? REALLY not cool.

Speaking of not cool, tents are not cool. The person who came UP with the idea of tents should be… Oh. Er. Well, never mind. But my point is, I have a trailer, and I am sleeping in it. I love nature. I also love being sheltered from nature. Up close, but not quite so personal. I figure I’ve earned it. Four straight years of dirty diapers will do that to a girl.

We did the tent thing, with babies, oh so many years ago. Big mistake. Hate tents. Get hives just seeing one. Yes, yes, I know tents build moral fibre and create wonderful memories for children. We have one of those damned tents. We just don’t use it much.

So, we went to Flaming Gorge, and the weather was pretty good. In fact, for the first time in a long time, the regular afternoon thunderstorms did not roll in, any of the three days we were there.

In the site ACROSS from us, we had tenters. Directly east of them were more tenters. The rest of the campground was filled with RVers. I like to imagine Tenters coming in all arrogant and filled with a zest for nature and sleeping under the stars. Never mind they drove up in their pollution-spewing DODGE RAM with a HEMI, complete with DVD player. They were getting back to the basics.

In my mind, back to the basics means you are HIKING 400 miles and setting up your tent at the end of that long, eventful and tragic journey. It makes it easier to say, “HELL NO, I am NOT doing that. Are you smoking crack?” It does not involve driving up in the DODGE with the DVD PLAYER and the HEMI. You people are no better than me! Get over yourselves.

This weekend, as we discussed the tent people, Mr. C said that he missed sleeping in a tent. I told him to go for it. “More power to you. Next time bring the tent. I’ll be in the trailer, watching LEGALLY BLONDE.”

Tent people get up early. Mostly because they have LIVED THROUGH THE NIGHTMARE of the night in a tent, and they want to escape it and beat their chests and pretend they are BACK to nature. Of course, the truth is, THEY are BACK troubled, because they slept on an air mattress that deflated in the middle of the night. Or it rained, and everything they OWN is wet. No one slept. The kids are cranky. The dog is cranky. They are in a tent. The dog is looking around, thinking, “What is UP with you people? Where is the fucking hot tub?”

The last night we were there, around 4 a.m. (Mr. C says it was precisely 4:25 a.m., since he checked his watch) a lightning storm rolled through. We know this because, even in a trailer, there are still vulnerabilities. It woke us up. Can you imagine how the tent people felt? Not only that, but TWO of those tent people were “under the stars” people. No tent. Just a tarp. Two sleeping bags. What is UP with that? Do they think the pioneers had TARPS? Advance people! What is so cool about regression? Anyway, back to the story.

An awning out, during a rain and windstorm, is one of those vulnerabilities that trailers have.

I have been PHYSICALLY lifted, holding the awning, during one such storm at the Gorge. It was like flying. The children still tell stories about Mom being lifted by the awning. They also tell that horrible “rolling the four-wheeler” story, but we won’t go there today. Storms at the Gorge move in quick, and fast, and they can be rather wicked. So, when the wind whipped up, and the lightning started, Mr. C and I went out and pulled the awning up, then retired back into our trailer.

And then he started to chuckle. I said, “What?”

He said, “Those two guys out there, sleeping under the stars. Getting back to nature. Bet they are in their tents now.”

So here’s to the Granola people who chuckle at those of us in RVs. While YOU are sleeping in your tent, I am on a bed. I get up and walk to my BATHROOM and do not worry that a SNAKE is going to rear up (he he) and bite my ass as I pee in the woods. And if I got a hankering for microwave popcorn? I could HAVE IT. I could so have it…. If my generator was just a little bit bigger….


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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17 Responses to Back to Nature…Sorta

  1. Cele says:

    I so use to love camping IN A TENT. But the lightening storm in Yellowstone seemed especially enlightening. Ah the smell of singed hair and ozone, The last time we camped the girls were still in school and it was in a tent. Now we are contemplating camping again …. and our old ages. We’re thinking about buying a trailer SOON.


  2. Howy says:

    Rvs are pimples on nature’s hinny! Here’s a thought for all of you thing-a-muh-jig campers – stay home! Rent a video, light a pine candle, use your sink as a toilet and sleep in your kitchen.

    If you’re going to forgo tenting then take it it to the next level and rent a cabin. Most national parks and other recreation areas have cabins or motels nearby. Cheaper than a damn camper and far less polluting. You can wake up, go to a real john, pop your corn and eat it too. Plus, upon your departure you leave the cleaning to a trained professional. This way you avoid the disadvantages of an RV: the initial cost, licensing, upkeep, transportation costs, POLLUTION, claustrophobia and that’s not even considering the glaring, redneck statement when you park it in your driveway!



  3. ktzmom says:

    Natalie ~ right there with ya, I hate tents. Actually, I hate camping so I just don’t go now that I’m an adult and I get to choose. But if someone forced me to camp, I’d definitely be in an RV.


  4. kd says:

    I used to think that people who slept in tents were snobs.

    I was actually kicked out of a campground once because I didn’t have a tent. The campground host said that people who don’t have tents weren’t welcome at his campground. Can you believe such snobbery?

    grumble, grumble.

    I had paid good money for a camping spot. I was not annoying any of the other campers. But the campground host gave this snobbish little speach about how campers are supposed to be in tents.

    Anyway, I went about 20 years of camping without a tent. Tired of being hassled by campground hosts, this last year, I finally broke down and bought a tent. It seems like a big hassle. It takes like ten minutes to put up and take down the fool thing.

    Worst of all, putting up and taking town tents consumes precious dusk and dawn hours when lighting is at its best.

    Just throwing a bag on the ground is so much easier than a tent. Best of all, you can set up camp in the dark. When it rains, you don’t have all the problems associated with a wet tent. I have a little mosquito netting contraption. It makes sleeping under the stars a delight.

    Anyway, I have a tent now. So I guess I shouldn’t complain about those snobs who sleep in tents.

    As for RVs, I prefer hotel rooms to RVs. Hotel rooms don’t waste gas and don’t do as much environmental damage as RVs.


  5. Howy says:

    Just to let you know, Brat . . . I do go to national/state parks and rent cabins. I used to be a tent camper. Of course, I used to run 6 miles a day, too. Old farting is where I devote my energies these days.



  6. Natalie says:

    Well, kiss my ass ANYWAY, Howy. LOLOL.


  7. Howy says:

    Wahoo! Grab mah gheetar, git out to da porch and commence a dancin’! Weez a campin”! Heh heh . . .


  8. Tania says:


    I am a tentperson. Love it so much that is my domain name. We wake up early because we don’t have the luxuries of the RV so we usually are drunk and passed out by 9:00. But I do hope to have an RV someday soon before I have to set the walker outside of the tent to help me get up. I do envy your toilet in the middle of the night as I am searching for my jacket, shoes and crawling out of our tent. We got back from the Gorge a couple of weeks ago. Love it. Funny all those years I went to the Mormon Church I never felt as close to him as I do in nature. It is truly stunning.



  9. Natalie says:

    Hey Tania,

    I actually don’t have anything against tent people. I just don’t want to sleep on the hard ground anymore. Or pee in the dark at night. LOL. I agree that nature is a GREAT religion. And the Gorge is awesome. We love to stay up at Firefighters Campground.


  10. Natalie says:

    Howy, why is it I’m hearing the theme song from DELIVERANCE as I read your post…. Yer scaring me….


  11. Natalie says:

    KD, I actually admire people who sleep out under the stars. I’m too big of a whimp. And I had a few experiences during Girls Camp in the old MIA days that really cured me of wanting to sleep out under the stars…..


  12. Cele says:

    I live where it is eternally windy. Cross my heart. The Oregon coast is well damn windy. I’ve seen tents go tumbling away. Tents do stop blowing sand…for a while. And while I like camping with the sand as a bed (much nicer than those six rocks) I hated having to post bodies in strategic locations to keep the tent (and worthless stakes) in place.


  13. Natalie says:

    Oh man, Cele, we visited once and it WAS windy. And cold, too! Beautiful, but definitely windy….


  14. Howy says:

    DELIVERANCE . . . not bad, Brat. The only rendition you’re hearing is probably coming from your driveway where the folks are a-pickin’-n-a-grinnin’ at your RV. Please, if you own and operate an ATV . . . don’t tell anyone.

    As far as the inflection goes . . . you can take the boy out of Utah but you can’t . . . yada yada . . .

    You might be a redneck if the tires on your RV are interchangeable with your house.


  15. Natalie says:

    Hey! There are NOT any tires on or under my house! And, um, the last time an ATV and I interacted, there was a VERY unfortunate result. I still bear a nasty scar and a slight limp. Four wheelers are SAFE MY ASS. Well, maybe if you ride them at two miles an hour, down a deserted street, at midnight…. I are NOT a redneck. But I do like that “git er done” saying.


  16. Howy says:

    LOL. Found a sore spot, eh Brat?! You know I’m just funnin’ ya . . . right?

    Just got back from my morning walk on the beach. It’s like a one hour intro to the movie TEN. I LOVE summer in this city!


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