Spending a couple of weeks at a Tennessee campground is definitely an experience. It is mostly enjoyable, with lazy days spent taking walks, reading, grilling, and exploring the surrounding area. You can learn a lot about yourself and others by people watching. After camping at least 10 weeks a year for the past four years, I offer the following observations:
- Campgrounds are really dog parks with humans along merely to serve as caretakers for the animals. This past weekend I counted more dogs than people. Hasn't anyone heard of boarding or pet sitters? I've seen one cat and one pig, but I'm expecting any time to encounter a pet monkey.
- There are a LOT of inconsiderate people out there. They ignore rules like quiet hours and checkout times. They don't keep track of their kids. They tromp across others' campsites. They burn plastic in their campfires. Some blatantly let their dogs run loose even though they are required to be on leash at all times.
- Fortunately there are many more fun, friendly and interesting folks. They share travel stories, tell fish tales, respect privacy, and are a genuine pleasure to be around.
- There are three styles of campsites. The junky ones bring everything they own and scatter it all over the site like a city dump full of toys, appliances, gear, pet cages, trash, shoes, towels, seasonal decorations, extra vehicles, you name it. Minimalists bring things out as they need them, then immediately stow them away. Average sites have a rug, chairs, grill, lights, bikes, and a few bits of neatly arranged gear.
- On a row of campsites, odds are the one right next to yours will be occupied even if the others are empty.
- Watching kids fishing, laughing, playing, and roasting marshmallows brings a smile to nearly everyone. That being said, why bring squalling babies along on a camping trip? They don't get anything out of it, they annoy the people nearby, and it can't be much fun for mom.
- There is always at least one person with questionable attire showing some body part in a way that could potentially strike you blind (or make you wish you were).
- It's Tennessee: the weather will change and the forecast may be inaccurate. It will probably rain at least one day.
I still love being here, though...it beats working by a long shot!