Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sometimes we get the 'blues' when camping

Our first effort at rain protection
Camping is oh soooooooo much fun.

But not all the time. One must take the good -- out-of-doors experience, beautiful scenery, cool nighttime temperatures in the Smokies, communing with nature -- with the bad, which, when camping, usually means rain.

We arrived in the Smokies the Friday after July 4 to find that the park had been ravaged by a storm with thousands of trees downed by high winds and landslides caused by heavy rains. Two people had also been killed in the park due to the weather phenomenon.

Can you see the drips?
I had planned to be prepared for rain this year with numerous blue tarps available to hang from our camper to the far side of the picnic table.

It should have taken care of what was to come. We stretched our first tarp (with the assistance of my brother in law) and left the area for a while with our camper closed up and our two main chairs placed close to the camper and under the tarp.

Protecting cooking gear from the rain
We arrived back to find the two chairs, which had fabric seats and backs, totally soaked.

I asked a passing camper if there had been a heavy wind with the rain. He indicated there wasn't. There had to be. Why would my chairs be so wet.

When the next precipitation showed itself, I came to realize the huge tarp was very weather worn and allowed a lot (thousands) of drips.

Raindrops settle on a leaf
My neighbor campers must have enjoyed the show that followed. I put up another tarp under the original one and then took the original down. Another bit of precipitation revealed the second tarp was just as bad. A third tarp didn't help and I finally remembered there was a 10 by 30 foot piece of clear plastic that I had bought a number of years earlier.

I put it up and it worked just fine. A little bit of rain followed and we were well-protected.

The big question is -- is the plastic tarp OK enough to keep on using, or should I invest in another blue tarp?

Well, I've got at least another year to make that decision.

Next post: August 7, 2012

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