Welcome to Campin’ Girl

In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than one seeks. -John Muir

Come along with me, and we shall see the wonders that hide from those in the city. Welcome to Campin’ Girl, your source for all things women and camping. From “glamping” to roughing it and all stops in between, we’ll explore outdoors with other women. Leave the men and the kids behind, and let’s head out on an adventure!

We’re going to talk about camping, life, camping gear, and anything else interesting.

All a Girl Needs is Her Truck

It’s March, and you know what that means. Camping season!! Well, not yet, not in the Midwest, anyway. But a girl can dream, can’t she? After a long winter that reset my ideas of what bitter cold are – polar vortex, anyone? – I am past ready to get outdoors and forget about cold temperatures. But the cold insists on hanging around for a few more weeks, so I’m keeping myself distracted by prepping for the upcoming camping season: sorting the camping gear that had to spend the winter stuffed in an upstairs closet, booking camping spots, and this year, getting a new tow vehicle.

So last night my husband and I spent what felt like forever in our local Ford dealership, trading for a 2018 Ford F250 Super Duty XL truck. For those of us who normally speak English, that stands for “plain old big ass truck,” the kind you tend to see at construction sites, or pulling horse trailers down the road.

Meet Bear II, my new tow vehicle.

This beastie will tow anything I care to, while still being manageable in city traffic. But getting Bear means I had to say farewell to my first love, the Midnight Rider.

Midnight Rider

While still relatively young, Midnight Rider was relatively light for the terrain and towing I needed to do. So after one last picture with the Rider, I transferred to the Bear, named for my camping buddy that we lost last fall to insulinoma at only 7 years old.

The original Bear

So with the addition of Bear II, nicknamed The Beastie, I’m ready to go! I’ll be blogging about my adventures as the season goes along. I’ve got trips planned to Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, Illinois, and hopefully other places in between. I hope you’ll join me!

Winds of November…

…mean cold, and snow, and the end of the camping season for those of us in the northern half of the US. Along with the dropping thermometer comes the task of winterizing the camper and preparing to wait out the cold winter months till spring brings another season of outdoor activities. 

Now that November winds have brought our second – count ’em, TWO – snows already, it’s time to get caught up on all the blogging I promised myself I’d do this summer and didn’t get around to. Although I didn’t get to do as much camping as I wanted, it was still a busy summer. I managed to get a wonderful trip in at Glacier National Park just two short weeks before lightening strikes from a passing thunderstorm set fire to the east side of the park. And I organized a small camping outing in Springfield, Illinois, for members of Sisters on the Fly (SOTF), but that trip was cut short by a family emergency and I had to leave Saturday morning and head home. I closed out the season by joining other Sisters on a trip to south-central Indiana for the Brown County Humane Society Chocolate Walk, held in Nashville, IN, although y “camping” this trip was done in a hotel room.

I also visited Mt. Rushmore for the first time while on a trip out to meet my sister and pick up two nice Hurricane Santee Sport 126 kayaks I’d purchased from an outdoors outfitter in Coeur d’Alene, ID. Rapid City, SD, is the halfway point between CdA and Chicago, so it was the perfect place to meet – except the crossbar rack on my Jeep Grand Cherokee decided not to cooperate, and refused to stay attached to the roof rails, and I had to let them go back to CdA for the winter. Again, we stayed in hotels instead of in a travel trailer.

All I want to do is go camping, and I can’t seem to manage to do that in my own camper, despite having owned it for three plus years now. She’s over in Grand Rapids, MI, getting a complete rebuild done for her 50th birthday, courtesy of Vintage Travel Trailer Restoration by Joel (you can find him on Facebook). When I finally do get to go on the road with her this coming spring, it will be worth the wait. I’ve got pictures on my phone that I’ll upload soon so you can see how purty she looks!

So here I sit, listening to the wind make the windows sing in our 100+ year old house, dreaming about what I’m going to do next spring. So far I have just two big events on my radar: The SOTF Northwest Gathering in Union Gap, WA, in June, and another SOTF Event, Trippin’ with Teddy at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota later in the summer. North Dakota is one of the few US states I have never been to, so my to-visit list will shrink to 8: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon and Vermont are currently the only ones I haven’t made it to (changing planes in the airport don’t count). In the meantime, I can research all the great places I want to go visit and the camping gadgets I want to get for my (new) old trailer. Suggestions are welcome!


January Means Outdoors Shows

If it’s January, it’s time for outdoor shows. This weekend is the Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show, all that’s left of the much lamented Strictly Sail show that we used to go to every year at Navy Pier. Although it’s big, it’s not really camper-friendly unless you’re interested in the really huge travel trailers and Class C diesel pushers, but it does kick off the season. Of more interest to people who are actually interested in the outdoors are going to find more at the next shows coming up. The 50th Annual Chicago RV & Camping Show is coming back to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, February 15-18. But the best value for the money last year was the Greater Chicago RV Show January 19-21 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center: A great selection of travel trailers and RVs, plus an equally great selection of gear – and much more accessible to those who aren’t in the market for six-figure RVs equipped with enough bells and whistles to make your home seem dumpy by comparison. If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy the outdoor life, either of these two shows will be a good place to check out.