Monday, July 16, 2012

Practical Scamping: Moorhead Edition

This last week, I took the Scamp and the cats to Moorhead, which is about an hour and a half from where I've been spending the summer, and had a great time with my friend Dawn.  I parked the Scamp in her driveway, the perfect epitome of Practical Scamping.  She's got dogs and I've got cats (fraidy cats, even), and I can't leave them by themselves, so that's why they came with me.  It was seriously hot in Moorhead, but my AC kept up just fine (and Galway didn't pee on anything, so I count that as a good trip).

The goal of the trip was to help Dawn with the chapter of her book that's had her stymied and she was helping me with my paper on Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea.  See my other blog, State of Mind:  Adventures in Place-Conscious Teaching, for a more extended discussion of O'Connor.  I'm in the midst of my comps for my PhD and this paper is part of the portfolio I'm doing for that.  The last major hurdle before my dissertation.  And I'm taking this paper on O'Connor and using it for the paper I'm giving at the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures conference in Montreal in two weeks, so no pressure on getting it right.

Dawn and I have been friends for fifteen years (dang, I'm getting old) and recently we've started collaborating in the teaching sphere.  This spring, we both taught O'Connor's novel to our respective classes (she to her literature class, me to my creative writing class) and collaborated in a wiki space.  It had its ups and downs, but was a pretty cool experience overall.

So I sat at her kitchen table working, she was in her office, and by Thursday morning, we were in good shape.  She'd pounded out that chapter, I'd gotten a working draft of my paper.  Whew.  We both said that we wouldn't have gotten to that point without the physical presence of the other, for moral support as well as how much it helps to have somebody working in your vicinity.  It makes you work harder.

It's also fun to talk Irish lit with somebody who knows what you're talking about.

The only hiccup in the whole experience was my AC (again), though what I suspect is that when the very nice guy at the Scamp factory fiddled with my AC, I think he stripped out one of the screws, so my AC is hanging drunkenly from my ceiling.  I need to find some time that I can go to Backus this week and have them fix it.  I'm not messing with fiberglass and stripped screws.

But everything else was awesome.  Temperature control was good, cat issues were good, we figured out (again) how to function in 60 square feet (seems like every trip requires starting from scratch on that).  No problems setting up, no problems tearing down.  And when I was in residential Fargo on Wednesday night, I saw a 13-foot Scamp on the way home.

I heart my Scamp.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Adventures in Scamping: Interstate State Park, MN

This might be my only Scamping trip of the summer, so I went to Interstate State Park, in Taylor's Falls, MN.  It's in Chisago County, just north of the Cities, and it's where all my Swedish ancestors came from.  It was hot and muggy and I was glad for the AC in the Scamp, though the humidity seemed to be too much for it and it started to leak inside.  Oh, well.  Could have been worse.  

Unfortunately, the park was interesting geologically (glacial potholes), but boring visually.  Yup, it's a rock and a hole in it.  And I'm not usually so bored by geology.  So I went hunting gravestones.

Chisago Lake Lutheran Church in Center City.  Old, Swedish, and awesome.  This would be the ancestral church of my family.

Grave of my great-great-great grandparents, Lars and Ingre Thorsander, who immigrated to Chisago County in 1869.  I've been to these places and these stones before, but sometimes it's really nice to revisit.

My great-great grandparents, Albert and Josie Olson (Lars and Ingre's daughter).  They also lived at the house (below).  My grandmother has wonderful, fond stories of her grandparents.  And the story is that he was the sickly one, but she died first of a stroke (you'll see that their death years are the same); and he died a month later of a broken heart.

The house that Lars built when they got here, just north of Shafer.  It's a bed and breakfast now, no longer in our family, but if you get the chance, you should stay there!  Lois and Sally say that the ghost of my great-great-great grandmother Ingre still makes mischief there.

Stopped by Mecca, aka the Scamp factory in Backus, on the way home.  Can't get the front window to stop leaking, no matter what I've done, so they just popped it out and replaced the seal, easy peasy, 20 minutes.  But the best part of the whole experience was backing the Scamp into the garage, first try, and when I get out of the car, the guy who was helping me is just gaping at me.  I said I was worried I'd embarrass myself trying to back it in and he said that they get 40-50-60 year old guys in here who can't back theirs up as well.  I rode that bit of pride all the way home.  No, I'm not cocky about backing up my Scamp...


I have more pictures and more stories, but the fun of the whole thing was how many conversations about Scamping and solo camping I had in the park campground.  The campground manager wanted to know if Scamping was like getting an Apple and I said it was.  Cult-like status, a bit of feeling superior over every other camper, and once you go Scamp you never go back.

Interior Redo, Finally!

So, last week I took my first real Scamping trip of the season (to Interstate State Park in Taylor's Falls, MN) and all the redecorating and such was done.  And it was awesome.  Only real trouble was that the heat and humidity was too much for the AC and it started to drip on the inside, so I was doubly thankful for the new vinyl floor (a wet carpet would have sucked, a lot).  So, here's the tour of the new interior!

Brand new floor, easy to clean up!

New front curtains!

The real purpose of the new bedspread, to keep kitty butt off my pillows.

And also, to provide Mr. Spine of Steel with a place to hide.

New bedspread and new curtains.  Loooove.

Nothing really new here, except for the new lamp.  
Next summer, I'm making new cupboard doors.

Closet door, closed.

Shelves are the same; new shoe holder thingies on the door.

Drawer is the same.

New little lamp is awesome ($5 at Goodwill); and the gray thing is a little vacuum ($5 at Goodwill), which helps keep the new vinyl floor clean.  Seriously awesome.