“Dear Mom, Wish you were here-REALLY! You would love being up here this time of year. The leaves are turning and the scenery is great! Shawn is seeming to really like being here in the woods and hills. He sure attracts a lot of attention and makes a lot of people smile! Camping in the van is a bit tight but working out just fine. Saw National Bridge and Shenandoah Caverns so far. More tomorrow!”
Those are the words I wrote to my mom while my husband, one year old son Shawn, and I were on our first camping trip. We traveled in our one year old Volkswagen Vanagon with camper package. We loved seeing the world from the high-up seats and wide open views through the windows. Little Shawn would point out sights that attracted him along the way.
And those fall sights along the Blue Ridge Parkway and through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park were truly worth seeing. I was in photographers heaven (oh, if only there had been digital cameras back in 1984).
We stayed at campgrounds along the way, where we discovered we were naturals at building campfires and roasting marshmallows. At one campsite on the edge of a lovely pond with Weeping Willows backed by trees covered with beautiful fall colors, our son discovered he could talk with ducks. From inside the camper, Shawn heard the ducks quacking and when they stopped, he would make a quacking sound that traveled right through the soft sided top of the camper. The ducks would always answer him. Shawn and the ducks “quacked” back and forth to each other for quite a while, carrying on a long conversation that only they understood. I’m not sure who enjoyed that more, Shawn or us.
We had such a great time on this first, short, camping trip. Before it was over, we knew it would not be our last, but we never dreamed it would lead to a camping trip lasting over a month, from the coast of Virginia to the coast of southern California only a year later. Nor did we know that we would homeschool our son, traveling in our future 16ft. camper, educating him about America, traveling a great deal along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. What a way to study history!
At the time of our first camping adventure we just knew we loved camping and wanted to do a whole lot more!
Submitted by Nell Covington of Colorado Springs, CO as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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