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The great outdoors

Editor’s note: This column originally published May 6, 2016

When hubby and I have a weekend off together — which only happens every five weeks or so — we like to try to get some camping in.

When we got married, we purchased all the gear necessary to survive a long week at any given campground, as long as there was a shower house nearby. We had the good ol’ camp stove, the black enamel percolator coffee pot and cookware, some basic utensils, a couple a sleeping bags — you get the idea. We were content to pitch our little 2-man tent and enjoy nature. We were happy with the status quo for several years, even after our family grew.

We’ve managed to leave any number of items behind at various locations throughout our adventures — blankets, stuffed animals, beach towels, Harry Potter books, picnic tablecloths, swimsuits, blown tires, a huge oil stain on a new asphalt parking lot in Chillicothe, Mo., etc.

After many camping excursions, we jockeyed between a couple of pop-up campers, a larger tent and a travel trailer, but we’ve since landed on a 5th-wheel RV and that’s where we’re going to stay. After so many years of roughing it, we’ve decided the best camping includes 1,800 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, a microwave, air conditioning and satellite television.

So anyway…

We went camping a few weekends back for our first outing of the season.

While I was finishing up my work week, hubby loaded up our three dogs (remember, that’s almost 300 pounds of cargo) in the cab of his truck and headed off to Thomas Mitchell Park. Once there, he discovered the only remaining camp sites were too small for our rig. So he turned around and headed down to Lake Red Rock.

He knew he was pushing his luck traveling with his three passengers that are generally homebodies, and before he even made it back to Prairie City, one of the pooches could no longer contain her excitement — or her breakfast.

After finally making it to the campground, he prepared our weekend home away from home.

The first frantic text I received stated Belle the Bloodhound had escaped her harness. Hubby was in a panic! Belle has never been camping before and apparently the woodsy environment where we were to spend our weekend had triggered her go-run-track instincts. Happy ending though, Belle’s excellent adventure was more like Belle’s brief escapade.

It actually was a very relaxing weekend, a bit on the drizzly, cool side, but nothing a sweatshirt and campfire couldn’t fix.

Once the weekend was over, we packed everything up, hubby sat his glasses on the roof of my car to load the girls in my vehicle. (You get that, right? It was MY turn to haul the travel-leary dogs.)

I went ahead and left for home. Just as I was about to turn in to my drive, I received a phone call… “I left my glasses on the roof of your car.”

We have now added prescription bifocals to our list of items left behind.

Contact Dana King at

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