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Tuesday, 4 Feb 2003
written by Teresa

Our joint camping history can be viewed in one of two ways. The first is the kinder, involving notions of progression into the comparative "luxury" of a truck camper. The second is more about a steady deterioration from hardy tenting types to namby pamby RVers. As Sterling says, this isn't really camping and when I go to switch on the electric blanket, I have to agree with him.

When we first met we were both tent camping in Glacier National Park. After I moved to the States, our first camping experience was in the Everglades and involved a small two-person tent, Therma-Rests, one chair and a single ring petroleum stove. Back then I succeeded in making a good impression, firstly by cooking pancakes on the stove and secondly by lighting a charcoal fire without aid of firelighters. As you can tell, Sterling was very besotted in those days - now it takes a little more to get his admiration.

McClure Pass, July 2001 Over the following two years we progressed to a larger two-person tent, a chair each, a two-ring propane stove, an "ultra" cooler, an air mattress and too many other items to mention, until the Subaru groaned every time we mentioned the possibility of a trip. Packing the car became a challenge. Only if everything was in it's exact appointed spot, including us, could we close the doors. In some ways this was good training for the camper as the precise location of all items is essential to closing our well-packed cupboards.

The dreams of a camper began, as far as I can recall, on a wet evening in Echo Park, Dinosaur National Monument when we only just managed to get the tent up before the heavens opened. A cold dinner, eaten while sitting in the car wasn't quite what we had in mind. From these humble beginnings the idea seemingly took on a life of it's own and we just followed along behind, considering everything from a small class A to a VW van before settling on the truck camper that we have.

Our camper here at Dead Horse Point State Park, UT Up at six thousand feet with snow lying on the ground we're glad of our little house and even more grateful for the small electric heater we bought a couple of days ago. On our last night in Arches the furnace decided to throw us back to our roots by refusing to work. It turns out that the control board has blown and we are now waiting for a new one to arrive. In the meanwhile we are fortunate to be in a state park with electricity and so are staying toasty warm with the help of our newly acquired source of heat.

Now if we were really hardy outdoor types we would have gritted our teeth, dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Michelin and got on with it. All I can say in our defence is that the water pipes in the camper would have frozen, leading to all sorts of havoc and the temperatures last night were in the teens. I know these are pathetic excuses but I'm beyond caring. The thought of freezing for six days just doesn't appeal.

Strangely enough, we're the only campers at Dead Horse Point State Park. The Juncos twitter as they flitter about looking for any morsels that may still be worth eating in this winter landscape, leaving behind a deep silence as they move through. The sky is clear of even the slightest hint of cloud and the light reflects off the patchy snow lying on the rich red sand.

Sinclair the Second, August 2000 I cannot finish this entry without some reference to the appearance of a small inflatable dinosaur in the last set of pictures. For those of you who know Sterling well, this will come as no surprise. In fact you may have been wondering where our little green friend has been up until now. Sadly, Sinclair the Second met his demise, due to a faulty valve, just before our journey began and we have been sans travelling companion, while we eagerly awaited the delivery of his replacement. You will be pleased to hear that Sinclair the Third will be making regular appearances from now on.

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