We are fair weather campers in our family. The tent is a little lightweight and flimsy, we don’t have a big tarp to protect us from the rain, and we go out one for only night at a time.
I love the outdoors, I love being a not at home dad with my boys, but I also like to do it when the weather is great. When it comes to camping with kids, I do it in short bursts.
This weekend the forecast was for rain. It was to be our first camping trip of the season, but I wasn’t about to get back into the swing of things with a 2 AM thunder storm. So I told my son we’d go on a road trip, spend the day at the campsite we reserved, and then come home in time for bed.
So we took off through the Canadian prairies for 9 hours today eating up 300 miles of pavement and dirt roads, smelling like campfire, snacking on s’mores, sitting by the lake, watching Star Wars, and taking pictures with assorted roadside attractions.
You don’t have to go camping with kids under the stars to get your family back to nature, here’s proof that uncamping is the best.
This is Uncamping 1 of 9
You don't have to camp to do all the fun outdoors camping activities. Take a day trip to a state park, or recreation area and try uncamping.
Pick Your Butt? 2 of 9
I have been wanting to go to Picture Butte (rhymes with cute) ever since I first spotted the town on a map. "Hey, look it's a town called Pick Your Butt," I told my son. "Let's go to Pick Your Butt," thinking it would be the sort of thing a 6yr old would go for.
"It's Picture Butte, daddy." Still, he humored me and we checked an item off daddy's bucket list.
Frosty Dip 3 of 9
I just knew I wanted to go to Picture Butte, I had no idea what we would find in this small town of less than 2,000 people. On a Sunday afternoon, I can tell you there was only 1 place in town that was open - the Frosty Dip. We stopped in for a burger, hot dog, and ice cream.
Tractor Museum 4 of 9
As we pulled in to town, a sign pointed you to the Tractor Museum. It was a huge field with hundreds of tractors, farm equipment, buildings, trains, and more. If it was used in life on the prairies, it was there. We climbed all over everything.
No Swimming Today 5 of 9
The weather was cool and windy. Had it been nicer, we would have gone swimming in the cove, and fishing from the dock, probably even rented a canoe. You can do all that without pitching a tent.
S’mores 6 of 9
It's all about the s'mores with my son. When I say we're going to go "uncamping," he just asks that we make a fire and have some s'mores. No problem. Picnic areas have fire pits and it's easy to get one up and running and put it out all within an hour. No actual camp is needed to smell like campfire when you get home at night,
Live Long and Prosper 7 of 9
Vulcan. The town's name is Vulcan, Alberta. After my sons were introduced to Star Trek this week, a stop to visit this huge ship and see a town that takes its trekking seriously was on the itinerary.
Beam Me Up, Scotty 8 of 9
In the past few years, Vulcan has taken its Star Trek connections more seriously. Leonard Nimoy visited here in 2010, and now the annual "Spock Days" features a visit from Star Trek characters. The street signs have the logo, the businesses have murals, and what was once a small stop on the highway, is now a Mecca for Trekkers.
Roadside Attractions 9 of 9
To break up the monotony of a 300 mile round trip day, I stopped at every goofy thing I could to get a quick picture. On the prairies, that means grain elevators. Zacharie loved this miniature one before finally passing out in the backseat as we headed home.