People often ask how we fit two adults a 50lb Bassador and a 22 pound Corgi in our little 17′ camper. The answer is: with a little patience, a good deal of organization and a lot of love. Though we have a three burner propane stove inside, we do most of our cooking and living outside. We never upgraded our home TV to digital because we almost never turned it on, so not choosing one for the Casita was just a given. We do listen to audio books together and that gives us something new to talk about–a little book club for two. No TV means more space inside, too.
Camping for us has always been about getting outside and connecting with the harmonies in nature and each other. Some folks aren’t comfortable with silence and sitting alone in a park around a fire on a very dark night. That is precisely what we do enjoy. Though on an old county road, our home in Saint Louis isn’t far from a major expressway. There is a background noise that’s always audible in the city. Camping provides a chance to really hear the void of noise. It’s a gift to the soul. There are things you learn out there about keeping a tricky fire going, how to retain heat by the fire, what constellation the stars are shooting from, species of trees by bark and not just leaves, the smell of coming rain, the sound of watching deer, the sizzle of snowflakes on flame, what night vision is and how the fire steels away some caution because it blinds one to the greater view behind the brightness. There are so many reasons to spend full days outside–to build a comfort beyond walls.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, on cold, cold mornings there is nothing better than a lazy morning under the eiderdown with the propane furnace whirring and a cup of hot tea or cocoa in bed. Ah yes, this is a wonderfully peaceful time and purely luxurious gift of the Egg. In a downpour, we no longer have to pull the bedding away from fabric tent walls to ward off water wicking and drips. On a sweltering summer day after a long swim in the lake, there is nothing better than an air conditioned nap, but on the whole, we spend nearly all our camping days outdoors.
We camp in State and National Parks and State Forests where there is always a trail, a cave, a waterfall, a stream, an historic site, flora and fauna or a set of petroglyphs to see and explore. We steer clear of RV parks unless we are in transit from one place to another and just need a quick place to park and sleep. We’ve found a few really beautiful private RV parks but on the whole, we find many of them to be parking lots and that just doesn’t appeal to us.
We chose the Standard model 17′ Casita Independence so that our bigger dog could have his own bed up front and we would have a place to comfortably sit and put on shoes. We raise
the top bunk when we are staying put for a while to use it as a place to lay out the next day’s clothes, stage the meals, enamelware, silver and linens. That top bunk is very convenient especially since we don’t have a full closet!
The dog getting his own bed, does mean we had to give up the built in potty. No problem, we just slide out the little 1970’s porta-potty that my Dad found at a factory outlet sale in Michigan way back when, and slide it into the alcove by the door. Sure, it’s not total privacy but its the next best thing. We have been together for some 25 years so there isn’t anything too risque about that. And after 20 years in the tent and having to leave the sleeping bags for a woodland foray on a cold night, this is heaven. We didn’t give up a shower either–we just put it outside. We have a quick set shower tent but on hot summer nights in the lonely state forests we have been known to shower together under the stars and well, that is another form of bliss. Sure mosquitoes can be annoying but I’ve found that a good quality vitamin B-1, 20 minutes before exposure works miracles and keeping me bite free. A little dab of lemongrass oil is another nice touch.
Our model comes with a King size bed or the option of the larger 30.5″ wide twins. Right now we use it exclusively as one big bed–that is until crawling over each other in the night to get to the porta-potty is no longer a fun excuse for stolen kisses. King size is a bit of a euphemistic description but it is still larger than our Queen bed at home. The space below the bed is where our Corgi sleeps when she hasn’t stolen a place with us in the night. There is storage down there but we only use it for back-up and emergency supplies like a water filter for streams, folding bucket, folding washing gadget, and extra pair of old sneakers for each of us and extra blanket and towel, etc. If we are out for an extended time, we have locking waterproof clear plastic bins that we pack extra clothes in and keep them in the minivan or outside the camper to pull from as we need.
This leaves the center foot and a half of the Egg for the sink and stove on one side and the moderately sized fridge and storage cabinet across the way. Standing real estate being tight, we do have to plan who gets up first and takes the dogs out while the other gets dressed and puts the bed back in order.
I would say the cardinal rule is that everything has a place and everything gets put in its place– every morning. Clutter breeds frustration and frustration is a form of homesickness. It’s important to think ahead and plan our things like clothes and meals and get the “gear” ready before you will need it. A long day on the trail and one might not be inclined to make that special meal, so having the basics ready on a tray makes all of that easier.
Outside of enforced organization, the biggest thing is to keep a sense of humor. Every traveler knows that companions can get on your nerves from time to time no matter how much room you have or how much you love each other. We make a point of laughing as much as possible and being able to chuckle at ourselves always eases away any trouble we come up against. It’s in this way, that we don’t really notice our little wheeled house is small.
It’s like that lovely line in the movie Now Voyager; “Don’t lets ask for the moon, we have the stars.”
©2015,2016 zenandtheartoflittlehousetravelling.com All rights reserved.