That was the apparent theme of our camping weekend with two other T@DA families. It would be hard to imagine more different approaches to camping than the three of us. We had hoped to have a fourth T@DA join us, but family issues prevented them from coming until a surprise appearance (sans T@DA) on Sunday morning.
Ellalou and Ray are the most recent owners, having purchased their unique turquoise and silver T@DA this past summer. Theirs is a more spartan model, having no built-in microwave, hot water heater, shower or screen door, although it shares the same floor plan as the rest. Their camping style seems to match – they have (not yet, at least) not crammed every little corner and cubby hole with stuff. They do have a crockpot and a small portable microwave aboard, but no other big items that I remember. The turquoise is eye-catching, and everyone in the campground who passed by our little T@DA compound (“Holy cow! It’s an impoundment,” I overheard one passerby say) took a photo of it. They are still adding and changing stuff – trying to figure out the best configuration for them, and how to best utilize their space. It’s also a bit easier for them to keep the amount of ‘stuff’ they carry to a minimum because they both work, and haven’t spent more than a week at a time on the road. (yet)
At the other end of the spectrum are Sandi and John. Entering their white and silver T@DA, it was amazing for me to realize that they had the same basic camper as ours – it was that different. Their T@DA has decor – curtains, a Halloween chandelier, fishing photos, and pennants galore. It was warm & homey – Sandi said that she wanted her T@DA to look like the cottages she remembered as a kid. Well done!
They keep their table permanently folded down into a couch or lounging area. Sandi has enough tableware to stage a class reunion! They also travel with two crockpots, electric coffeemaker, electric frying pan, and a huge electric cooler, as well as a campstove and grill. It’s all very well organized, but it’s a lot of stuff. In addition, their awning was festooned with lights. Naturally, we made their campsite our dining and campfire headquarters. Sandi and John are natural hosts.
John and I are somewhere in the middle. We’ve probably made the most modifications, storage-wise to suit our needs. Since we plan to camp for months at a time, utility is our primary concern. We also have no electric appliances – we make coffee (lots of it) in a pour-over Melitta carafe, and have removed our microwave. We cook and grill everything outside, and I’d have no idea how to crockpot a dinner. Have to admit that the Fireball looked pretty institutional compared to both other units. It suits us.
We were sad that Cathie and Jay were unable to bring their navy/white T@DA for our ‘inspection’. They purchased theirs about the same time as we did, and from our conversation, it sounds as though our camping styles might be somewhat similar – camping in National Parks and public facilities often. They have also purchased solar panels which they are trying out, and it was great to have someone to compare notes with.
While everyone else went ‘junking’, or antiquing, we took a hike on Saturday. Short, steep, and scenic. Lunch at the summit. All good. Sunday, John and I cycled out to Everett Dam State Park, and the region beyond. It was nearly a perfect ride – a bit of civilized riding on paved road, about eight miles of hard-packed gravel road, then some serious up & down hills on pavement. Interesting sights, and some well-needed exercise.
We parted company with Ellalou and Ray, and Cathie and Jay – all from Vermont, on Sunday. We left Monday morning, as did Sandi and John – they’re headed home to the Boston area. It was great to meet fellow travelers.
We’re camped in a small, near-the-expressway campground west of Albany tonight. It’s as close as we could get to Cooperstown – tomorrow we’re headed in to spend the day at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Depending on the weather, we’ve got between four and six nights before we roll back into Grand Rapids. The weather forecast isn’t great for the next few days, so we may just hunker down and drive home if we can’t figure out a good reason to hang out in New York and Ohio for a few additional days.
Not ready for the reality of fall yardwork and the approach of seriously cold Michigan weather.