This entry is titled: How My Camping Trip Got Much Better After I Penned Everybody Up.
But perhaps I should back up a little. Train Guy’s grandparents own an RV they are always imploring us to borrow. Last year was our first RV trip, and let’s just say it hovered somewhere between the sixth and seventh levels of Hell. But after Train Guy insisted that we would not make the same mistakes twice, I agreed to another RV trip this year.
It was one of the most relaxing vacations of my life.
We headed up to the amazingly beautiful Sequoia National Park for 6 full days of The Great Outdoors. Train Guy had reserved the perfect site at the Lodgepole Campground and we set ourselve up for a fine old time. Which, as the title indicates, involved penning everyone up.
See, we brought the Mouse and both beagles. Last year we had both beagles on tie-outs or crammed in the very snug RV, and while they thoroughly enjoyed the trip, they were always underfoot. Particularly Scout, who has a spectacular habit of winding herself over and around every tree, post, table, and chair leg until she’s got about 4 inches left on her tie out and stands there looking confused about why she can’t move. So solution #1: Outdoor dog pen!
We bought the extra-tall fencing, since Digory could make a mighty jump if he were truly motivated, and set down a groundcloth in a nice shaded area and built our pen. We threw in a water bowl and two beds, and both dogs were in absolute Doggie Heaven. It was fantastic–they had room to stretch their legs, they could lay in the sun or the shade, they got a ton of fresh air, they were able to be out with the people, and best of all, they weren’t underfoot. They did amazingly well out there, even sleeping comfortably in the dark of the night when Train Guy and I were at the campfire. We all slept in the RV but the pen worked perfectly. We dubbed the area “Beagle Glen.” And the expression on Digory’s face was priceless when we introduced him: “Is this a very large crate, or a very small dog park?”
Once the dogs were taken care of, it was time to think of Mouse. Our Mouse is a very, very Busy Boy. He never, ever sits on a lap unless it’s special circumstances (drinking a cup of milk with some books, or if he’s very tired). He’s just never been a cuddly lap-sitter. And now that he’s walking, it’s even worse. At home we let him wander around the babyproofed living room, but it’s a little difficult to babyproof a National Park. We didn’t want to just bring his Pack ‘n Play (which I hate anyway), because it’s so small, but we also didn’t want to be following him around constantly trying to keep him from wandering off or eating organic materials of any variety. What to do?
The solution was obvious. Put him in a dog pen! But wait! They make baby pens too!
And so we invested in a baby pen and extension kit. Once again, we put down a groundcloth covered by a play quilt and blanket. We brought along a mix of new and favorite toys and popped Mr. Mouse in. Just like the dog pen, it was a fabulous solution. The area we chose was a little sloped so we had to roll a big tree stump in front of it to stabilize the front, but Mouse loved it in there. He could stretch his legs, run his new truck all around, kick back, and totally chillax, and we could chillax too, knowing that he was safe, entertained, enjoying the outdoors, and closeby.
I highly recommend penning everyone up on your next camping vacation.
Oh, and what is it about food that tastes a thousand times better when it’s cooked outside? That’s one of my favorite things about camping!