Day 8-1 Travel as I Have Envisioned It Could Be!
The first order of business upon arrival at Ruby’s Campground was to set up camp.
We set up the camper and made sure it was level. I unloaded her supplies, disconnected the truck and drove away. After all, I was not supposed to be there! At this point, we were on separate camping trips for the next three days.
I checked in at the camp office for my tent camping site. The folks in the office gave me a campground map with a large area on one edge of the campground circled, with instructions to select any vacant space that suited me.
The tent camping area was hilly, but I found a level, partially wooded site atop a hill.
It was after 5:00 pm when I set to work setting up camp. There had been no rain in the area recently, and the ground was dry and covered with a layer of fine powdery dry dirt—really dust. I laid out a tarp and pitched the tent on top of it.
The tent went up easily. I put a folding cot in the tent for the air mattress and sleeping bag. I organized everything in the tent so that nothing would be left outside the tent while I was away. Food stuff was secure in the truck in coolers and sealed containers to discourage any wandering wildlife from poaching my provisions.
Remarkably, even with my lack of recent experience in tent camping, everything was set up within an hour. Next was my first “dinner.” Dinner the first night was simple—a cheese and meat sandwich, a can of green peas, and a tin of sardines.
After driving much of the day and setting up camp, I was tired and anticipated sleeping well. Then, I discovered that my sleeping arrangements did not work in the tent. The cot fit snugly inside, but the sloping sides of the tent made it impossible for me to stretch out on the cot. I ended up putting the air mattress on the floor of the tent and sleeping there, leaving the cot folded up in the truck. Still, once settled, I slept well.
I was up shortly after sunrise. I had a small propane camp stove, and basic cookware, including a percolator for coffee. Each morning I made a pot of fresh coffee and cooked a hot breakfast—usually eggs and sausage. One morning, the “sausage” was a couple of hotdogs!
The second evening was my big meal experience. I have described Dutch oven cooking in earlier blogs, and was looking forward to this meal. I had a three-pound pork roast and an assortment of root vegetables to cook.
The first step was to light the charcoal and let the coals get hot while I assembled the contents of the Dutch oven. There is a formula for the number of coals to use with the oven. I counted out 22
Dutch oven cooking is so simple. I use a Dutch oven liner to simplify cleanup. Simply place the meat in the center of the oven. I then cut the vegetables in roughly one-inch chunks and distributed them around the meat. I used onions, turnips, and a sweet potato. To this I added an envelope of dried onion soup mix and another envelope of brown gravy mix. Finally, I added about four or five cups of water.
By now the coals were ready. Using tongs, I arranged 12 glowing coals in a circle on the ground in the fire ring, and set the oven on those coals. Then I arranged 10 hot coals on the top of the oven.
The next step is the hardest—leave the oven alone for two-and-half to three hours. Since I had spent the day exploring Bryce Canyon, I took advantage of the cooking time to take a shower, change, and spend some time organizing the day’s photos.
Dinner was excellent, and I had enough left over to put on ice for another meal.
It had been many years since my last tent camping experience, especially sleeping on the ground. One of the keys to success was to be active enough during the day that I was really tired at bed time. Sleep will come when you are tired.
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