Camping Living Aboard a Boat

Camping Anyone?

Monday, May 09, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

We hadn’t planned on going camping. In fact, we hadn’t planned on being away from the boat much during the winter. I was going to fly to Wichita to spend Christmas with my family and David was going to stay aboard Cambria to start tackling his to-do list after a long cruising season. But then we received an invitation to spend Thanksgiving in Las Vegas from one of David’s sons saying it had been too long since he’d seen us – he was right, it had. So, we packed up the truck and hit the road, fully intended to be back in January.
From top left to right: Our sweet suite in Las Vegas (thanks to David's son), one of David's granddaughters racing in a soap box derby, my niece picking me up at the airport in Philadelphia to start a 1,300 mile drive to Wichita, me and my niece in Casey, IL in front of the world's largest chair, my niece in front of the world's largest pitch fork, me and Santa, my 97-year old grandma opening the present I drew for her, and me and David on Christmas morning.
But then it started to rain.

Not in Kansas where we spent the bulk of the winter but in the Seattle area where we berth the boat. And it didn’t stop until April. There was no reason for us to come back, not unless we wanted to spend our days hunkered below decks just waiting for the chance to get outside to tackle the brightwork. So, we lingered. And then we lingered some more.

I have to hand it to my mom. I’m sure it’s exciting when we first arrive and take over the lower level of her house; but after a month or two, I’m imagine she’s ready to have her space back. To her credit she never said a word but by the time month three rolled around, I decided we needed to come up with a plan.

It was still raining in Washington, so there was no point going home. Even if we wanted to leave, I-80 to the north was a mess and had been most of the winter so any westerly movement would have to happen through the south. We both needed to see a dentist, something we’d been putting off for years. So, it seemed like a good idea to take advantage of logistics and make a trip across the border to Mexico (more on that in a future blog) on our way

Hatching a plan.

I decided we should camp our way back to the boat. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, but I have this “thing” for late-winter camping. And my practical side (i.e. David) was distracted when I was putting together a plan, allowing me to run rampant. Which is exactly what I did.

It’s not that winter camping is a bad idea. It’s not. It’s just that our last attempt didn’t go very well (or the one before that): It snowed, it was cold, it was windy and we encountered a drunken fool who decided it would be fun to shoot off a handgun and say things like “I’m going to light you up.” 

So, why on earth would I decide to give it another try? The answer’s simple: What practical side I have usually loses out to optimism.

The first of March rolled around and we needed to go. Saying goodbye is never easy; it’s the worst part of this lifestyle. But we’d put it off long enough, and it was time to finally get moving. Our first campsite out of Wichita was one we already knew: Oliver Lee Memorial State Park near Alamogordo, New Mexico to visit White Sands National Monument – 275 square miles of gypsum sand dunes and a World Heritage Site.

We were off to a good start . . . .







How about you? Have you done any late-winter camping or do you have a favourite place to camp? Join the conversation below in our comments section.

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10 comments

  1. Sledding on the dunes looks like sooo much fun! Can't wait to see the rest of your camping posts and hear about Mexican dentists.

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    1. It really is fun and so much better than snow sledding because it's not cold!

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  2. White Sands looks awesome! I've done plenty of camping in the rain and being slightly miserable, but never any winter camping (I'm sure camping in Florida winter does not count!) -Lucy

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    1. I'm not sure it counts in the Southwest either but I have a habit of picking places that are at elevation so it gets a little cold at night. But at least we didn't have any snow this time around!

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  3. That surely looks like a great first spot to camp (and not too cold, either!). Looking forward to the rest of the overland adventures! Your grandma looks great for her age!!! It is so nice to be able to visit friends and family once in a while. I'm enjoying it right now. Winter camping is great in the South or the tropics. I'm all for it. :-)

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    1. The camping was pretty good this year. We were both disappointed when it ended but the spring breakers were out in full-force by the time we hit California so we called it quits. I think the Inside Passage and its solitude has spoiled us completely!

      And I agree, my grandma looks great for her age. She still lives on her own and only gave up driving a year or two ago. My goal in life is to be just like her!

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  4. Hello again! I enjoyed discovering your blog during the 2016 A to Z Challenge. Therefore, I've nominated you for a Liebster Award. Here's the link to my post with all the info you'll need to accept and pass it on: http://www.lissajohnston.com/2016/05/the-liebster-award.html

    p.s. would like to know more about the dentist trip :)

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    1. Thanks, Lissa! I haven't started writing about our trip to the dentist, but it'll be coming up pretty soon.

      Cheers, Stephanie

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  5. Sounds like an exciting trip! Personally, I like to GLAMP, instead of Camp, but that's just me. After one encounter with a drunken fool with a gun, I don't think I'd be glamping or camping ever again. I'm a wuss.

    Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. Glamping would definitely be the way to go! It could have saved us several uncomfortable nights, that's for sure.

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