Camping Lessons

After months of camping by ourselves, mostly in quiet campgrounds, the five days of our Blue Ridge Rally for T@DAs and T@Bs (and friends) was an explosion of laughter and conversation. My face hurts.20140501_13433420140502_09464520140501_133341

Those of us with these unique campers are an active family.  We share a Yahoo group and a couple of Facebook pages.  Problems are solved, and camping experiences are shared. 20140502_094543 The pioneer T@B owners have had their campers now for 10 years, and are generous with their knowledge.  T@DA owners, like us, are far fewer.  They were made for just three years between 2008 and 2010, and in much smaller numbers. 20140502_094514Many T@B owners graduated to the slightly larger T@DAs, and several T@DA owners are now Airstream owners, leaving some of us (?) with a case of aluminum envy.

Getting together lets us all peek – inside cupboards for storage ideas, under the frame for structural issues, and around the outside to see the dozens of different awnings we all utilize. 20140503_101254 This one is called the T@BMahal.  Little crystal chandelier and beautiful table.20140501_134600 These folks have really gone small with a Little Guy camper.20140504_081034It’s amazing to see how everyone has customized their camper to suit their needs. Our T@DA is a camping machine – we’ve got our storage issues figured out and working great for us.  Camping long term is easy, even with a big dog and a small space.  But, our interior is definitely Plain Jane.  I’m excited now to pretty things up a bit – add a bit of color, and replace the crappy flooring that I’ve disliked since Day 1.  John’s also considering adding another small ceiling vent that we saw in an Airstream.  That would be deluxe!

John and I also spent a bit of cycling time riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  20140502_105134The beautiful, smooth surface is a pleasure, but there was not ten feet of flat pavement in the 30 miles or so that we cycled. 20140503_13495320140502_10574920140502_10555220140502_10465120140502_10342020140502_102112 20140503_122839We were either grinding uphill, or flying down.  Makes for a great workout, but we sure missed our road bikes.  It’s a LOT more work on a mountain bike.

Sunday was rollout day, and the parade of cars and trucks towing campers was nonstop.  We finally got packed up, said our goodbyes and thankyous, and headed for Natural Bridge Resort State Park in Slade, KY.  We’re back to camping on a quiet little stream, an explosion of singing birds outside the wide-open windows. 20140504_175116 Ahhhh, this is good.


18 thoughts on “Camping Lessons

  1. Hi, Judy, we were at the 2014 BRR, in our 2014 T@B Clamshell. We were next door to Neil and Yoly , and Brooke and across from Bill and Elaine and close to L. Fox. We had a great time. It was our first T@B rally. Our first camping rally. We had a blast. You may remember our beautiful Llewellyn Setter, Missy. She loved the weather at the BRR.
    We spent 3 weeks traveling out west in June. Yellowstone, Tetons, Red Fish Lake and Stanley, Idaho, Craters of the Moon, Three Mile Crossing State Park, Bruneau Dunes State Park ,Moab, Arches and Canyonlands, Santa Fe, Abiquiu, Oklahoma and then home to NW Alabama. 5,600 miles. Whew! Missy is a great camper dog.
    You said it big time, when you say that staying in one spot for more than a day makes the difference in the pleasure of the trip. We stayed only 2 nights in only 2 places. The trip was great but just wore us out by moving every day. We are novice T@Bbers and campers so we wanted to see it all. We will, in the future, plan our camping trips with a more relaxed schedule.
    I will say, to all who desire to camp and travel, do it. Don’t put it off. Plan a trip and enjoy this beautiful country. The beauty and vastness of this land brought me to tears.
    We have made our reservations for the 2015 BRR and look forward to seeing you again and have fun with great friends and new friends.
    We are not retired, so this full week at BRR is a vacation week, one of the few for us. So, you must know that these T@B rallies are so fun and a special time for us.
    BTW – we are going to be first time grandparents, a boy, due 1-1-2015.
    Does this mean we need a larger RV?


    • I remember seeing your post on the FB group, and thinking WOW! That’s a lot of miles to cover in 3 weeks. It’s hard when you don’t have unlimited time. We are learning to pick and choose a bit better, having decided that we would rather see fewer places more completely, as opposed to everywhere on the fly. Until you do it, you just don’t know what your style preference is. We never had our T@DA until we were both retired, so it’s not a choice we ever had to face. Even with all the time we have, we still want to travel more slowly.

      I do remember you and your beautiful pup. We haven’t made reservations for the 2015 BRR, as we have a hard time planning that far ahead for anything, but we had such a great time this year that I have a hard time imagining that we won’t be there. It was our first big rally as well, although we have met a few other T@DA and T@Bbers along the way. What a great group.

      As far as the grandkid dilemma, we can’t speak to that, being neither parents nor grandparents. (whew). We seem to have all we can handle just in taking care of Jezzy. Good thing that we aren’t entrusted with the care of actual humans!

      Enjoy your T@B. It’s a great way to travel, isn’t it? You are so correct in thinking that we can all benefit from getting and and experiencing the simple camping life. It can be simple, and (most times), that seems to be the best way, at least for us. Plan it, or just go spontaneously. You’re well equipped to handle just about anything with the T@B.

      Hope we see you again.

      On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 9:14 PM, campshaws wrote:



  2. Hi Judy … it was so nice to meet you and chat with you at the BRR. I just wish I could have picked your brain a bit more about some of the new adventures we’re engaged in like biking and blogging. I’m looking into word press as an option as you suggested. We’re heading out tomorrow (from North Georgia) for Mammoth Cave NP in KY on our way up to the Indy car road course race at the Speedway this weekend. We’ve reserved a river side spot at Big Meadow Family Campground, the site of next years BRR, on the return leg. I’m planning a video for Sharon to promote next year’s rally. I became an official “Follower” this evening after reading the last 3 months worth of your blog and am getting more excited now about our upcoming 8,000 mile, 6 week summer trip and the apparent need for me to document it as you have done. Hope to see you on the road someday.

    Neil (Travels with Yoly)


    • Nice to meet you too, Neil. I’ll look forward to checking in on your blog when you get it up and running again. My two cents of advice when planning your trip is “Don’t Move Too Fast”. We’ve found that we sure don’t want to drive every day, and often two nights in any location isn’t enough, unless it really is just for a stop/rest. There’s just too much to see – we’ve had regrets about only spending three or four nights in the National Parks – next year we’ll budget a week at a time at any National Park.

      Hope to see you on the road.


      • The quandry of travel ….. quality versus quantity. I can relate to what you’re saying Judy and I can see a time in our near future when that is the approach we will take. However, when we have a destination that has a locked in date such as the Western & Rolling Home Rally, I start backing up from that point and start to fill in each and every two and three hundred mile segment and then count the days out. I wish I could convince Yoly that 8 or more weeks isn’t too long to be gone. Right now we’re trying to get as much video as we can and capture as much of the various locations as we can so we tend to move too quickly. I do see a day in our future though where the cost of fuel and depleated resourses will drive us towards a different approach where we will go to fewer places but stay longer at the ones we do travel to.


      • Then again, there’s nothing wrong with leaving someplace you really like, and planning a return trip next year. You and Yoli will figure out the schedule that works best for you. Leave a few slack days in it, where you can


  3. The rally looks like it was a wonderful time. One of the things I love best is getting to peek inside other peoples’ small campers. They are so much more fascinating than big rigs!

    Nice to see you camping by a quiet stream and listening to the birds again after all the excitement. :)


    • It’s a relief to Stop Talking, Eating, and Drinking! Didn’t really realize how little John and I talk sometimes……I was like a floodgate that couldn’t be shut. We are loving this KY park. Very relaxing.


    • The only people who care are those that already know! Sadly, this is only a good way to spend $$, not to make it! But, if I could make money, it would be too much like a j-o-b. Can’t have that……..;-)


  4. So good to see you two again at the BRR. Your photos are always great and the stories of your travels entertaining and informative. Thanks for the tip on Keen shoes also. We love them!


    • Beware….when you get to the point where you reach for your Keens everyday, its time to retire! Have the feeling we’ll bump into you and Sheila along the road somewhere again. It was great to see you.


  5. Great photos and nice to see my spartan T@DA in the pics. :) it’s a chilly 49 degrees at home but good to be back with Ray. Your new site look so peaceful. Thank you for being a great friend


  6. There’s a lot of thought and work that some people have put into their rigs! The scenery was beautiful, and the last campsite looks great. My camping season starts Sunday, and your post has me itching to go more than ever now!


      • Well, it depends on the weather. A few days ago, they were talking snow up north, but I think that has changed. And, this is a vacation, I’m going to go with the flow this time and not run myself ragged trying to maintain any type of schedule. I hope to spend a day or two on the upper Manistee River, west of Grayling, maybe hit the Au Sable one day, maybe look for Kirkland warblers, spend some time in the Pigeon River Country, some time near Alpena looking for birds, and so on. My basic answer is that I’m going to go north until I get lost or drown in one of the big lakes.


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