Camping, for us anyway, attracts the foulest weather. Without fail, we will experience, at a minimum, high winds, huge downpours, frequent lightening, and the eminent threat of whatever wild life exists in the area. On one trip in West Texas, a pack of wild boar ripped through our tent. On another, kookaburras snatched our sausages straight out of our fingers. (Actually, this eventually happens to everyone who barbeques outdoors in Australia). On Australia’s South Coast, possums, under the cover of darkness, sat themselves down at our picnic table, helping themselves to whatever morsel they could find.
Of course, because of our incessant bad luck on camping trips, we realized we needed additional protection from the elements. What’s that you say? Buy a canopy that pops up in minutes? No, we are far too frugal for that. Looking at Pinterest, we discovered that all we needed to do was spend a few dollars on telescoping poles and some guy wires. (Oh, and some bungee cords that we also had left over from a previous failed over-engineering project that we happened to have forgotten on this trip).
By now, we’re pros at putting up the tent; we had it up and secured in five minutes flat. Were we ready to start exploring Port Stephens? Ah, no. We still have to erect our tarp. It’s two and half hours later and the sun is going down. The grey nomads in our campground ‘neighborhood’ sat in their lawn chairs under caravan awnings, beer in hand, gawking at us with their mouths agape.
I could hear them thinking, “What in the hell are they doing?” Why haven’t they bought a pop-up canopy like everyone else? I want to scream at them, “I forgot the bloody bungee cords! It would work if I had them! And please, just mind your own bloody business, we’re not the afternoon’s entertainment!”
Well, long story short, we finally managed to rig the tarp over the tent, leaving a screen that blocked us from the scorn of those judgmental onlookers. The tarp was up at least, we just wondered for how long.