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Checking the camping gear

It’s been some time since I’ve been camping. There was a time when I did it two or three times during a typical summer. I’ve decided to take a little roadtrip in early September to the Rockbridge Mountain Music and Dance Festival down in Virginia. This is one of several gatherings of old time music freaks enthusiasts that happen each year in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. The grandest of these festivals is Clifftop, which happens in West Virginia annually. I’ve been planning to visit Clifftop for some time now but it seems each summer unforeseen circumstances have blocked the way. I suppose a trip to Rockbridge is my consolation prize.

The plan is to camp for a few days at the festival location, Glen Maury Park. I was happy to find out the campground has showers and happier still when I read there will be a couple food trucks on site. There will be banjo, guitar and fiddle workshops and square dancing to live bands, and there will also be plenty of jamming in the campground. It should be loads of fun.

Most of my camping gear is still in good shape. One change I’m making is to retire the old Coleman camp stove and replace it with a new propane camp stove. The Coleman stove was my dad’s before it became mine and it served us well over the years. I guess we’ve had it for 4 or 5 decades. At one point I had to replace the fuel tank after is started leaking under pressure with the stove on. I’ve long been nervous of messing with camp fuel (do they still call it naptha?) though, and when I saw propane stoves on sale at a hard to resist price, I decided it was time to make the change.

My tent is still in good shape. Several years ago, after a long time using a very light-weight tent, handy for canoe trips and that kind of thing, I bought a roomier model and decided I was happy restricting myself to camping at a campsite beside my car. At that time I also started using a clumsy but comfortable air mattress instead of the skinny little very uncomfortable sleeping pads I relied on for years.

It’s a strange political climate right now to go visiting the American south and for the first time I considered avoiding America for a while. The festival is only a couple hours away from Charlottesville where the recent racist violence took place. In the end though, I decided to go. I think an environment full of musicians will be cool and relaxed.

The only preparation I really have to do is go through my box of miscellaneous camping junk to make sure I have everything I need. I always do this and 9 times out of 10 it is complete. Still, it’s good to be prepared.

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