"The business of life is in the acquisition of memories."
Is this not the grandest of ideas? I believe it is a grand idea, and one I support wholeheartedly. From the earliest days of our marriage we have both looked to making memories with friends and family and storing them up. Such pursuit is what has made our lives so incredibly rich and I am grateful for every opportunity.
I am reminded of so many happy trips with our children ...
At the White House in Washington, DC...
Walt Disney World!
And cruising to Alaska!
On this particular weekend our friends rented a tent-trailer similar to the one that we owned. We propped them up side by side on our camp site and enjoyed spying on wildlife, shared meals, conversation, s'mores, and stories around the campfire. Their youngest was napping one afternoon as we sat visiting outside and all of a sudden he thumped to the ground outside the tent-trailer. Such a shock and thankfully he was not injured. Our friends (who may never forgive us) had not looped the canvas to the underside of the trailer. They also weren't too happy with us when we turned on our heater during the night. Their rental did not have any heat at all, and it was chilly. Even so, we feel so incredibly blessed to have these friends in our life, that they would spend a weekend camping with our family, making memories that last. Camping never became a part of their vacation planning though, truth be told!
Dragging our tent-trailer behind us, we spent a lovely week camping all around Colorado one summer. We visited Gunnison where our 8-week old beagle puppy, Greta, gleefully scampered through the lush and gorgeous greenery of the state park. She daintily peed only on grass those first few weeks of ownership and nothing persuaded her differently her entire life.
We encountered the supreme kindness of strangers in Colorado Springs when we found our trailer crank had fallen out along the roadside. That crank is absolutely essential to open and close the tent-trailer and a gracious family loaned us theirs for the duration. You do meet the nicest people while camping.
Durango was our all-time favorite spot in Colorado. We stayed at the KOA just outside downtown (www.koa/campgrounds/durango.com) and thoroughly loved it. Situated alongside the Animas River, the calming sounds of the river, scents of fresh bacon frying, good fishing and rafting, and loads of fresh air make this an ideal camping site. Durango is a lovely city with good food, quaint shops, and the Durango-Silverton Train (www.durangotrain.com) to boot. My grandmother had delightedly embarked on this adventure just before she died and I wanted us to experience the same. We wound the rails both ways - up to Silverton and back to Durango in an outside car. It was so very chilly heading up through the mountains, but the scenery was unbelievably spectacular. Green hills, frost and a little snow (in July!!) goats, sheep, and deer bounding the countryside as if a thundering train were not traipsing by. The return trip was warmer but our children were about out of their heads with boredom. I would highly recommend taking it only one way with your own kiddos. Most fun of all was the original Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. We have visited many storefronts from this chain of delectable fudge renown, but the original was quite perfect. The nearby factory tour was also a highlight and I try to sample a bit of their famed English Toffee, Peanut Butter Buckets, and fresh fudge whenever I spy a sweet franchise. Check them out at www.rockymountainchocolatefactory.com.
And then there is the all-out gorgeousness of Bryce and Zion Canyons. Our visits here were days of hiking, sight-seeing, and horse-back riding. Both are spectacular in vast beauty, but Bryce has the edge for me. The vivid red, orange, and brown colors are a wondrous sight to behold. Check out Zion National Park at www.nps.gov/zion and Bryce Canyon at www.nps.gov/brca for more information. Oh, and take a peek at Ruby's Campground outside Bryce Canyon at www.rubysinn.com.
But I digress from my original thought ...
The idea of RV ownership has again presented itself. Jeff and I discuss it at length and go back and forth in our thought process. Should we camp? Or should we continue into our retirement years chasing quality Bed and Breakfast locations and quaint inns that are dog-friendly? Do we want our own place to lie our heads each evening, pulling our home behind us? Or does Marriott really have my number? Do I want to eat fresh meals outdoors under the stars? Am I ready to be riddled with mosquito bites all over again? Which direction will be the more affordable in retirement? And the more enjoyable? Can I have it both ways...
The camper conversation came up at lunch yesterday with my good friend who had recently spent a weekend with four women in a comfortable RV in the cool pines of Flagstaff. When asked if she would consider one for retirement, a resounding "no" was her response. Might I say that I was thrilled to hear her negative response? It only fortifies what I have been thinking as of late. Though we camped quite a bit in our younger years loving all the scents, sights, and sounds of the outdoors... it may not be an ideal pursuit for our golden years. We will continue to travel searching out all types of locales ... but probably not in a camper.