Tent camping was fun at first in the backyard. The house was there for emergencies. It was inexpensive compared to hotel lodging. What a great way for kids and adults to commune with nature.
The final straw came on the last week of a summer vacation trip to Florida. There were signs. My fishing lures melted together in the back of the truck. Humidity covered everything like a blanket.
On the Atlantic side was comfortable air conditioning at the home of a relative. Cool breezes blew in from the ocean. Nobody cared that it was July. That was, until we relocated to the other side of the state.
It was a shady state park, inland from the Gulf Coast. The roads weren’t paved–instead were a mixture of dirt and sand. There were snake tracks everywhere along the path to the shower house. I kept quiet about it.
Daytime temperatures hovered at one-hundred degrees with humidity to match. Gnats and flies were unbearable. Black squirrels chattered insults from nearby trees.
Heat relief came from swimming in the Gulf till late afternoon. The water was clear and calm. I was amazed by the “cigarette lady.” She kept her cigarette lit in water up to her chin.
One afternoon, the family ate supper in the back of the pickup to avoid one of the regular afternoon monsoon rainstorms.
After a day trip to Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, crazed squirrels chewed through the girls small suitcase to get at snacks inside. It wasn’t much of a challenge for them. They were used to being fed by humans.
My lectures about leaving food items lying around to our pre-teens never helped. Did I listen to my parents at their ages?
Kids weren’t tidy–that was a fact of life. Attracting fire ants or crazed squirrels weren’t priorities for them.
Nights were miserable, hot, humid and stuffy. Mosquitoes, sand fleas, night noises, kept us awake.
One dark night, I tripped over a parking lot post near the shower house. I did a complete back flip, landed gasping for air.
A decision was made mid-week to cut our losses, end the misery, and go home. It wasn’t before I backed into another infernal parking lot post–damaging the truck’s bumper.
That concluded family tent camping expeditions. I almost forgot to mention alligators in the swimming area.