The Camper’s Journal

Camper’s Journal

by Joe Panfalone (Guest Contributor)

Thirty five years ago we met a retired couple in an Airstream camper trailer. As we had just a pop up camper, we were interested in a hard sided one so we struck up a conversation with them. The both of them were retired Air Force and were traveling the country side living out of their trailer. I was fascinated with the concept and was something that I wanted to do when I retired. Things have changed since then. For one, gasoline was only 35 cents a gallon back then!

We were on a vacation tour of Michigan and kept running across this couple. We shared where we have been and recommended things to do and see. The one thing I found most significant about this encounter is that they asked if we would sign their guest book. It was filled with names of people they had encountered along their journey with notes about them. I thought it to be a novel idea. They suggested we keep one with the goal of socializing with campers around us and come back with at least one entry for each day.

In todays digital age keeping a journal has never been easier. Here is a Camper’s journal template. If you are old school, you can print a few pages and fill them in by hand and keep them in a binder. Preferably, load it to your touch pad or lap top and take it with you. With the digital version you can do a search by pressing CTRL F and then enter a key word.

 

MONTH/YEAR___________

CAMPGROUND

ACTIVITIES /   NOTES / PEOPLE MET

Check-In    Day/Time
Check-Out Day/Time
Name
Address
City, State Zip
Phone Number
Website
Rating

 

 

MONTH/YEAR___________

CAMPGROUND

ACTIVITIES /   NOTES / PEOPLE MET

Check-In    Day/Time
Check-Out Day/Time
Name
Address
City, State Zip
Phone Number
Website
Rating

 

-Enjoy and HAPPY CAMPING!

The Bucket List For the Avid Camper

So, turning 39 back in December made me start thinking about what life is going to be like during my 40’s. I think it is normal that those approaching their 40’s begin to worry about how age is going to slow them down, how life is fragile, and how life is short so live life to the fullest. So, call it a mid-life crisis or call it a bucket list, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in the next decade. Some of my aspirations do not involve camping. However, many do include travel/camping. As I was thinking the other night, over a tall, cold beer, I was attempting to put together a bucket list of places I want to travel to/camp. I came up with a top ten list. In the next decade, my hope is to…

1. Travel to Italy with my wife and visit the land where our ancestors came from. We have both been to Italy but not together.

2. Try a 2-3 night backpack camping trip in a national forest or state park. I think Cloudland State Park in northern Georgia would be a great place to try backpack camping. Or Shawnee State Park in Southern Ohio.

3. Camp in South Dakota/North Dakota/Montana and explore some of the terrain that Lewis and Clark traversed over two centuries ago.

4. Camp in Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, Maine) and enjoy the beauty of its wildlife and the ocean scenery.

5. Tent camp on an actual beach, less than 100 yards from the water. This could be in Florida, North Carolina, or better yet….Hawaii.

6. Camp and hike the state parks of the Upper Peninsula (Michigan).

7. Camp at every state park in Ohio (our home state) just to be able to say I have done it.

8. Be a camp host for an entire summer and enjoy the life of campground living.

9. Camp in Canada, specifically Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

10. Camp at a place like Kelly’s Island (Lake Erie, Ohio) or Outer Banks (North Carolina) where it requires you to take your vehicle and camper over to the campground by ferry.

Maybe you can relate to some of my ideas. Maybe not. So, what’s your bucket list when it comes to traveling or camping? I would love to hear your ideas!

HAPPY CAMPING!

Camping Tip of the Day: Keep Track of Where You Travel….Visually

The other day I wrote about how keeping a journal is a great part of the camping experience. The journal is a convenient way to keep track of your favorite campgrounds and more specifically, your favorite camp sites. Your camping journal allows you to relive that great moment later. Today’s tip goes along these same lines…

My wife, Amy, is a junior high school art teacher. She is very creative and has a great talent with art. As you can see in the pictures, Amy took a creative approach to tracking our camping experiences, based on a DIY project she found on the internet. First, she traced the state of Ohio (including counties) by using corkboard and a Sharpie. Then she created name tags for the various places in Ohio we’ve camped (tiny strips of paper) and used push pins to peg them on the map. Applying the same concept, Amy created a much larger version of the United States. Just like the Ohio map, this map shows the various places we have camped in the United States. As you can see, we have ALOT more to explore in America. On this map, she included a “legend” where we could peg our “want list”. In other words, places we hope to camp in the future. In the final picture, you see a state magnet board. Every time we visit a new state (together) for the first time, we buy a magnet and add it the board. We look forward to adding more and more magnets this summer.

I have all three of these hanging in my office at home. It’s a good motivator when I have had a rough week at work. It’s nice to reminisce about the places we have visited and the experiences we had. It’s cool to daydream about places we hope to camp someday. Maybe you can track places you have traveled or camped visually too….

HAPPY CAMPING!!!