Happy Campers

Marriage. Lotta hard work, no? To have a successful one, much compromise is needed. At least that’s what Lovie and I have found. Perhaps the most amazing middle ground we’ve ever reached is the very one upon which we slept this past weekend.

You see, I’m an avid camper. I go at least four times a year. One of those excursions is my annual section hike of the Appalachian Trail. When we first met, Lovie thought such trips sounded miserable.

“My idea of camping out is ordering room service from the Ritz Carlton.”

Secretly, I vowed to change that. And I had a plan. The vehicle of change? Pookie. That’s right. I used my own stepdaughter as a pawn to capture the queen so I could drag her royal ass to the woods. And it worked like a charm. After all, Pookie, like virtually all kids who are given the chance, was hooked on camping from word go.

“I’d rather camp than go to Hilton Head” was her exact quote upon returning from our first outing. Lovie’s eyes grew wide with wonder. Soon after, she began asking countless questions about this noble outdoor pursuit, questions my ears recognized as buying signs.

“Where do you go to the bathroom?”

“How do you cook your food?”

“How do you stay warm?”

“What do you do during the day?”

Instead of capitalizing on these questions and trying to score an immediate sale, I simply answered them, hoping my explanations would lead this inquisitive horse to the very water she wondered how I purified. (Note to readers — stay away from analogies that depict your wife as a horse. It’s okay for me to do it because I’m a highly trained professional.) I had a hunch that no hard sell would be needed. This product was capable of selling itself.

Which is exactly what it did. Lovie and I have camped together a grand total of three times. Until this weekend, that is, when we went on our fourth excursion — our second as a family. We made arrangements for the triplets (thanks, Brenda!) so Lovie and I could take Pookie and her friend, Miss M, for a fun-filled weekend in the woods. Here’s how it went down.

We took two cars. Lovie, Pookie, and Miss M rode in one and met me at the campsite around five. Me? I left early Friday morning to procure a spot and get our camp set up. So I took all our stuff.

the stuff

Oh. And our canoe. I was also responsible for that, too.

I had the perfect campsite in mind, located in an area I know inside and out. But I also had a backup — actually two backups — just in case. As fate would have it, however, we got our number one choice. It’s one of my favorite spots in the world. Look how clean the water is.

the perfect campsite

As soon as I got there, I started setting up. I divided the camp into two main sections — an area where our tent would be, and another area where we’d spend most of our waking hours. Check out our kitchen, complete with an eight foot by eight foot pop-up, where we kept a five foot table, our large plastic tubs of dried food, as well as our coolers which contained the rest of our food. It was there where I set up my camp stove which I’d use to cook my award-winning bacon and eggs. Below the kitchen, you’ll see the makeshift grill I put together. After all, if you wanna eat well in the woods, you gotta do some grilling.

Lovie rummaging through the kitchen

Just below our grill was the fire ring. Solid choice on the locale if I do say so myself. Right on the water.

Here’s a shot of our preposterously large tent which has three rooms. One for Lovie and me.

Turn left from there and you’ll find an empty room. Well, empty except for some of Pookie and Miss M’s stuff spilling out into it. One day the trips will kick it there.

Then, turn right and you run into the room where Pook and M slept.

Here’s our site from the water. Note the tent on the higher ground to the left separate from the rest of camp.

Something crucial for any extended campout? Activities. Lovie likes to fish, y’all.

exhibit a

With all of her angling activity, she earned a new nickname.

Catfish.

She’s really taken to it. If you’re at the M3Summit in Atlanta, be sure to call her by the new moniker. (Especially if you wanna see me get slapped.)

exhibit b: ol' Catfish tries a different spot.

The girls preferred another activity — canoeing. They had a blast.

I found an activity I like, too.

is drinking cold beer an activity?

But our main activity was the one which ate up most of Saturday — whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River, just a forty-five minute drive from camp. Eight miles of excitement and fun.

we caught a little air on that one.

Did we eat well?

three NY strips w/ twice baked potatoes and asparagus

Um, yeah. We ate just fine. But just when I thought we’d had enough food for the day, Pookie and M went poking around in the kitchen.

Because they knew we’d not forgotten to bring s’mores. And they were right.

It took a lot of work to pull off such a wonderful weekend, nearly as many hours planning, commuting, setting up, and breaking down as the actual hours spent on the trip itself. Some would contend that it’s too much work.

Miss M has Lovie and Pookie in stitches with her ghost story about a tomato.

But I would disagree. After all, there’s something to be gained from camping which you just can’t get from ordering room service at the Ritz. Just ask Catfish. She’ll tell you.

Thank you, Lovie, for meeting me more than halfway on this one. With each trip, we’re building memories which will last forever.

I love you.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Peary

    I am amazed and transfixed at Lovie’s camping abilities!! I am beyond impressed, however; will not attempt to out do her….if necessary, I will camp out on “The Hill” when it gets cooler (and I have plenty of libations!!)!!!

  • Peary

    I am amazed and transfixed at Lovie’s camping abilities!! I am beyond impressed, however; will not attempt to out do her….if necessary, I will camp out on “The Hill” when it gets cooler (and I have plenty of libations!!)!!!

  • http://fekkefekke.blogspot.com/ Nadu

    You’re writing is HIL-ARIOUS! I totally enjoyed this :)

  • http://fekkefekke.blogspot.com/ Nadu

    You’re writing is HIL-ARIOUS! I totally enjoyed this :)

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    Awesome, John. Just awesome! :-) And high praise to Lovie for seemingly enjoying it as much as everyone else. :-) That is awesome, and yes, this is where and how memories are made. :-)

    Your site looks familiar to me somehow… Whereabouts is it? And if secrecy is essential, you don’t have to tell me. :-)

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    Awesome, John. Just awesome! :-) And high praise to Lovie for seemingly enjoying it as much as everyone else. :-) That is awesome, and yes, this is where and how memories are made. :-)

    Your site looks familiar to me somehow… Whereabouts is it? And if secrecy is essential, you don’t have to tell me. :-)

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    Boy I can’t wait to ask Catfish about your trip. 😉

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    Boy I can’t wait to ask Catfish about your trip. 😉

  • http://www.almightydad.com Keith Wilcox

    Wow, that really is a preposterously huge tent! 4 rooms? I’ve never heard of such a thing. My friends and I went camping once in college, except we didn’t have sleeping bags, a tent, matches, food or the knowledge to do anything for ourselves. I like your way better! You bring everything. Including meat!

  • http://www.almightydad.com Keith Wilcox

    Wow, that really is a preposterously huge tent! 4 rooms? I’ve never heard of such a thing. My friends and I went camping once in college, except we didn’t have sleeping bags, a tent, matches, food or the knowledge to do anything for ourselves. I like your way better! You bring everything. Including meat!

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    You almost make camping sound fun. Almost. I am in the Lovie camp on this one.

    Have a great time at M3.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com john cave osborne

      if you’re in Lovie’s camp, then you LOVE camping. she’s totally changed her stance. so are you saying you LOVE camping, WM? yay!!

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    You almost make camping sound fun. Almost. I am in the Lovie camp on this one.

    Have a great time at M3.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com john cave osborne

      if you’re in Lovie’s camp, then you LOVE camping. she’s totally changed her stance. so are you saying you LOVE camping, WM? yay!!

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    Looks like an awesome time! Great pictures too!

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    Looks like an awesome time! Great pictures too!

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    Sweet mother of crap I miss camping. Haven’t been since Will was born 2-1/2 years ago. Next summer hopefully will be our first foray into the wilderness with Will.

    By the way, nice job on the food. The best steak tips I ever had were ones I cooked on the open flame on the Connecticut River one night.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    Sweet mother of crap I miss camping. Haven’t been since Will was born 2-1/2 years ago. Next summer hopefully will be our first foray into the wilderness with Will.

    By the way, nice job on the food. The best steak tips I ever had were ones I cooked on the open flame on the Connecticut River one night.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    Drinking beer most certainly is an activity. It’s been years since I’ve been camping. I used to love it in my boy scout days, but it’s been so long the free breakfast at the Comfort Inn would be considering “roughing it” to me these days.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    Drinking beer most certainly is an activity. It’s been years since I’ve been camping. I used to love it in my boy scout days, but it’s been so long the free breakfast at the Comfort Inn would be considering “roughing it” to me these days.

  • wendy

    I’m so jealous!! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time and I’m ready for a Osborne/Wilson camping trip soon! Much overdue!!

  • wendy

    I’m so jealous!! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time and I’m ready for a Osborne/Wilson camping trip soon! Much overdue!!

  • http://jugglingeric.blogspot.com Eric

    Heck yeah. I’m sure I would have no problem selling camping to my children (once they are old enough). But unless Princess Vespa has a cabin with AC and shower, she aint going.

  • http://jugglingeric.blogspot.com Eric

    Heck yeah. I’m sure I would have no problem selling camping to my children (once they are old enough). But unless Princess Vespa has a cabin with AC and shower, she aint going.

  • Volburger

    Looks like a great trip Oz. I noticed the tripod shitter made the trip in the first pic. Please take it through the car wash before returning it back to me. I have not had a chance to see how she rides yet, but Patrick said she was solid.

    I hope to take my 3 year old this year for his first outing.

    Great trip report!

    Lucky Volburger.

  • Volburger

    Looks like a great trip Oz. I noticed the tripod shitter made the trip in the first pic. Please take it through the car wash before returning it back to me. I have not had a chance to see how she rides yet, but Patrick said she was solid.

    I hope to take my 3 year old this year for his first outing.

    Great trip report!

    Lucky Volburger.

  • http://ifmomsaysok.wordpress.com Tara R.

    Before my family moved from Tenn. to Fla. I took my husband on a rafting trip, sans kids, on the Nantahala. It was a lot of fun.

    Sounds like your camping trip was a great success.

  • http://ifmomsaysok.wordpress.com Tara R.

    Before my family moved from Tenn. to Fla. I took my husband on a rafting trip, sans kids, on the Nantahala. It was a lot of fun.

    Sounds like your camping trip was a great success.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    I haven’t been camping since Arica got pregnant. We used to go once a year. I love camping too. Looks like you had fun.

    Yes drinking is an activity. I have based my whole life and social calendar upon that belief.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    I haven’t been camping since Arica got pregnant. We used to go once a year. I love camping too. Looks like you had fun.

    Yes drinking is an activity. I have based my whole life and social calendar upon that belief.

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    Ahh, looks like sooo much fun. Lukas has been constantly talking about going camping again since our capin camping trip.

    Good times.

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    Ahh, looks like sooo much fun. Lukas has been constantly talking about going camping again since our capin camping trip.

    Good times.