Twelve months ago, I had no idea this was going to be one of my favorite things in the world.
ICYMI, last year our company moved offices, and we had some extra time off around the July 4th holiday. Obviously, this prompted me to start looking at vacations, and when I found prices to be outrageous, I lamented that I wish we could just go camping, but not in July without air conditioning.
We started looking up rentals, and long story short, ended up purchasing a used Jayco pop up. We obtained Turtle Home from a nice gentleman who had used it approximately eight nights in the previous nine years, for the cost of approximately double the price of a flight and accommodations in Colorado (the cheapest place we could go) over that long weekend.
Our first foray was six nights, which was a little overwhelming to me (the most I’d ever camped was two), but the site was an hour from home, so if it didn’t work out, we could just pack up. We didn’t do that, in fact, I didn’t even want to go home when it was time. I still don’t know at what point I’d get tired of camping in the pop up, but the answer is at least more than one week.
I expected the AC in the camper to put out a little bit of cool air so it wasn’t completely miserable to sleep. I didn’t expect to need a hat, a thick comforter, and fleece pullover with it on low and sleep much more soundly than normal. I figured it would be roomier than a tent, but I didn’t figure it would be spacious enough for two people to be able to lounge around in it comfortably with plenty of personal space. I hoped I would have a decent time camping, I didn’t expect it to hook me as completely as it did.
I’ve spent 24 nights in the turtle and at the end of this week it will be 29 – that’s about a month of my life in the last year camping. It’s been invaluable for races – it’s cheap, relaxing, comfortable, and sometime you can even stay AT THE VENUE and wake up with the race in your backyard, which is super convenient for someone who is not a morning person. It’s been great for training, it’s nice to roll out of a campsite and be able to take a long bike ride in the country without navigating city traffic to get there and back. It’s been amazing for time away to unwind and relax. My brain shuts up a little bit after a few days in the woods and it’s a beautiful thing.
Our first year of camping included:
- Krausse Springs (6 days)
- Witchita Falls for Hotter’N’Hell 100 (2 days)
- Granger Lake for training/vacation (3 days)
- Kerrville Texas for the Olympic distance race (2 days)
- McDade, TX for a friends wedding (1 day)
- Lake Bastrop for camping with friends (2 days)
- Pace Bend Park for the Pace Bend Ultra (2 days)
- Katy, TX for the No Label Tri (2 days)
- Denton, TX for the Texasman Tri (2 days)
- San Antonio, TX for Wincrest Freshman Tri (2 days)
Even if you ignore the other trips, we’ve saved at least 10 nights of race hotel accommodations – considering the average hotel room price with taxes and fees, that would definitely be closing in on 1,000$ if not already there (for example, Hotter’n’hell was a 45$ campsite vs 150-200$ for basic rooms in the area).
In our Sophomore year of camping we plan to do these trips:
- Krausse Springs for fourth of July again. I’m super excited to have this as my view for another 5 days. I’m super excited to paint, ride bikes, traipse around the property with my camera, read, make some great campfire food, and just chill the eff out for a while.
- We are toying with the idea of camping as a training camp type weekend sometime this season at Granger Lake.
- Race camping for Waco 70.3. First camping half ironman!
- A few nights in the Fredricksburg area over the holidays. Y’know, they have free buses that take you to wineries and back. That sounds like it doesn’t suck.
- Mayyyyybe Pace Bend Ultra. As part of a relay. Or crew.
…and I’m sure we’ll be doing some more races and hopefully a few weekends where we take off and just enjoy being outside and relax.
I’m super excited for five more days in the woods. Can we go yet?