How does a girl who was born and raised in suburban Long Island find herself stoking a campfire in Alaska’s Denali National Park? It’s simple. She marries an Eagle Scout and together they get transferred to the Pacific Northwest. Well, that girl is me and I’ve been camping with my husband and children for many years now.

This is my first post for the Woodall’s Family Camping blog and I am thrilled to be here.  I’ve been a food and travel writer since 1995 and have contributed to numerous local and national publications. I am a regular contributor to Amazon’s Al Dente blog where I primarily cover kitchenware and quirky random food topics. Here on Woodall’s I will be sharing my camping tips, which have been gleaned by me as I’ve learned (literally) from  the ground up.

When my husband and I started camping together after we got married in 1994, I was a total newbie. I had never slept in a tent no less pitched one.  I’d never made coffee over a campfire.  I had never even owned hiking boots or a backpack. And, I never even really bothered using maps because I had lived in Manhattan for a long time and never really needed one. Afterall, I always had a subway or a taxi within arm’s reach.

Well, all of that changed when we moved to Seattle.  Within hours of landing here and surveying the landscape, I knew camping was going to become a BIG part of my future. Indeed, over the course of the last fifteen years or so, my husband and I have covered tremendous ground with our three children in tow.  We’ve camped in Washington and Oregon,  Montana and Wyoming. When we lived in Alaska, we staked our campground claim along the Russian River and within Denali National Park. When we moved back to Seattle from Anchorage, we didn’t take the easy route and board an Alaska Airlines flight. We  drove the historic Alaska Canada Highway and camped very night en route.

Although I now consider myself an experienced family camper, we started our adventures by  simply camping in a large family size Coleman tent purchased one rainy Saturday afternoon at Sears. After a few summers of that, we decided to invest in a  Coleman pop up. One season of pop up camping convinced us that pop up camping wasn’t for us.  So we invested in a 23-foot Thor Aerolite Cub travel trailer. Since we purchased the trailer, I estimate that we have covered more than 15,000 miles. As I write my posts here on Woodall’s, I will be sharing many facets of our adventure—campground cookery, favorite destinations, charting the course, organizing meals, and managing babies, toddlers, adolescents and teens while camping!

Let me know if there’s anything special you are interested in hearing about. I will try to rustle up some thoughts!

Leave a Reply


  1. Patti Faustini

    Hi Melissa! I loved reading your ‘how you ended up’ story. Yup, something cool about those Eagle Scout types. They know stuff! A lot of guys don’t!

    I grew up RVing in the mid west. Both parents were maniac RVers. I am kind of the Eagle Scout in our family, as my husband grew up in Brazil. Not too many Eagle Scouts or RV nuts there!

    Looking forward to your next post, Patti

  2. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Melissa,
    Welcome aboard, cookie.. RVrs do LOVE TO EAT !! Look at Nick Russell, Mac McCoy & me..
    Where’s New York. Long Island, Manhattan?? Are they in Northeast Texas?? Taxis and subways?
    I’m surely glad you were rescued by that Eagle Scout(congrats) !!! Sounds like you have come up in the world; most of us came the same route and still enjoy the outdoors.. Looking forward to some ‘slim-down’ recipes, with lots of jalapenos, garlic, onions and tortillas !!!
    Come by ifn you’re down this way..
    butterbean carpenter
    RunningStar Ranch
    Coleman county

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