The Working Waterfront

Another one from the road, this time with actual camping

Cooking, lounging, and avoiding alligators part of the experienc

Phil Crossman
Posted 2018-10-23
Last Modified 2018-10-23

By Phil Crossman

The reader will recall that we, in our 2003 Eurovan VW Full Camper, had thus far avoided camping altogether for the first five nights of our great “camping” adventure. But on Day Seven we woke up in James Island, S.C. after having sought repose together in the 42-inches by 72-inches allotted for sleep, for the first time since striking out from Vinalhaven nearly a week earlier and having stayed just ahead of a determined blizzard ever since.

We hit the road early and in late afternoon we pulled into a state campground in Waycross, Georgia, hoping they’d have room for us. There was a note at the gate suggesting that we drive around the campground to see if there was an un-occupied site and stop by the office in the morning to settle up (not unlike The Tidewater). We found a full hook-up site (power and water) as opposed to last night’s “primitive” (no utilities) site, established ourselves and then headed to town to provision for the weeks of camping that seemed finally, to lay ahead.

We returned, raised the top for the first time, filled the fridge, filled up our 16-gallon water reservoir (no longer a danger of it freezing), ran a cord out to power, and settled in to relax.

This was more like it—a beautiful park next to a lake, a comfortable 60-something degrees and signs warning that we were not to feed or approach the alligators lest they learn not to fear us.

I’d been eager to set up housekeeping and cook in our tiny little kitchen, so I set about creating dinner and getting used to cooking in that tiny space, and being careful to have everything I needed ready beforehand because once the dining table is set up as a prep area, the only way to access the cabinets or the fridge is from my hands and knees.

I was careful to get out everything I needed to make a lovely dinner of lemon chicken and corn crepes. The front passenger seat of this little home on wheels swivels around to face aft and the back sofa moves forward to allow for comfortable dining across from one another.     

I’d bought a Porta Potty at Hamilton Marine in Rockland before we left and Elaine had encased it in a lovely fabric that matched the wild black and white floral seat coverings the van came to us with. It would never do to have the Porta Potty sitting out in plain sight and it certainly would not do to have it dressed in something that did not match everything else. It was to serve its purpose on whatever overnight occasion might come up that was not satisfied by a nearby bathhouse. This campground was well provided with such facilities but there was the alligator issue and so, in the middle of the night, the Porta Potty beckoned predictably. Ever gallant, I accompanied her to the bathhouse and the Porta Potty remained virgin territory.  

The next day we slept in. Of course I got up and made her coffee, but then I re-joined her and we lounged and read a little. Around mid-day we headed into town to explore and get some lunch. The beauty of this rig, unlike all the big, some enormous, RVs that surrounded us, is that in just moments, we can make a few adjustments and be on the road.

Going into town was a good idea. We found a Hog ‘n’ Bones and enjoyed our first ribs of this trip.

Phil Crossman owns and operates The Tidewater Motel on Vinalhaven, where he and Elaine are looking forward to the slower season.