An Early Memory

This post is in: Motorcycle Camping

Event Date: 1/1/1970
Event Location:
Event Cost:

While trolling the back recesses of my mind recollecting stuff about motorcycle camping that I had forgotten or neatly tucked away for later use, a memory from long ago surfaced. There I was trying to remember the brand name of a camper that I had owned and towed behind the bike back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So I started to look on the Internet to see if I could find one. I came close but didn’t find the exact one. I will snag a link to a similar trailer and upload it in another post. Maybe someone out there knows the type and can remind me of the name.

As my mind tends to do, my thoughts started to wander. Looking at the wide range of motorcycle tow-behind campers on the market these days, I took note of the large amount of storage space they offer. It is huge compared to what you can carry packed on a bike, plus it is the tent too. The one I had and later sold held about 25 cubic feet of stuff. What a simple joy and exercise in excess that was. I could just load all my gear in plastic milk crates and pile them in, with room for firewood too. OK, so I did have to be very careful about balancing the load and the tongue weight had to be exactly correct. I made a simple rig to check that. With the trailer hitched to the bike and the suspension set for two-up riding, the height of the hitch coupler was measured. Then I a cut a piece of 1×2 to be the correct length to stand on a scale and have the hitch coupler on top at the same measured height. With that it was simple to balance the load to achieve the correct tongue weight. It was easy and fun to haul, made for a great rally camping set-up, a home away from home.

From there I began to think about all the gear I would stuff in that trailer. So much of that stuff has since been loaned out, lost or simply succumbed to age. As I sat there in the cool of last evening lost in thought, I realized that I was feeling chilled and I remembered the neat little camping heater fan unit I no longer have. It was perfect in that camper; on a hot night it provided a cool breeze. When the temps dropped you could switch on the heater. It had a tip over safety that would shut it off if it fell over, nice not to burn-up in your tent. And it provided a nice white noise to muffle the rally noise while I fell asleep, just like the noise the fan makes that was making me feel cool now. I grabbed a throw blanket to cover my legs and KABOOM – I had a memory flash into my mind.

There I was, AC set for seventy with a fan blowing at me, computer in my lap and a blanket in hand and suddenly I was back in a railroad flat in the South Bronx. I can’t remember my exact age at which this memory was stored, probably seven or eight years old. It was summer and the Bronx was the image of hazy, hot and humid. In those days folks like us didn’t have air conditioners. Maybe the local diner had one and signified the fact by the sign of great relief “Air Cooled” printed in blue icicle letters and hung prominently in the window. We just had fans. So, there I was lying on the floor watching television, probably a western, with a noisy hurricane fan blowing right at my face. And I had a blanket; held over me and filled with air from the fan, it formed my tent. It was such a vivid memory, face to the wind, sheltered in my imaginary tent escaping from the sweltering city into the wild frontier. Then just like that I snapped back to now, yet that memory and the feeling it conjured is still strong. An insight into myself, little wonder why riding with the wind in my face is so satisfying. Nor is it hard to understand why sleeping out in nature with just the thin cloth of a tent around me is restorative. A most early memory, one that probably predates my first summer camp trip, I was pleasantly surprised that it surfaced because of this blog. What memories do you have of summer and camping? Please share them.

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