Married to Bear Grylls? Build Up Your Muscles

Shannon Kernaghan Bear-Ghylles-400-1 Married to Bear Grylls? Build Up Your Muscles Adventure Challenge Recreation Relationship RV Travel

The British adventurer from Running Wild with Bear Grylls has some nifty one-liners: “Life is an adventure – live it” and “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing.”

Okay. I was ready to welcome adventure, to gain something. I was about to go camping.

My inaugural day could best be described by a “hangry” interpretive dance. Since you can’t see me dance, simple words must suffice.

First I e-mailed my sister to let her know that Paul and I bought a truck tent and planned to enjoy evenings cuddled around a camp fire, communing with nature. “It’ll be an adventure,” I wrote, “discovering how much I enjoy this, or how much I need a hotel room. Can’t say until I try, but I’m game. Wish me luck.”

Her reply wasn’t heartening: “I can’t be objective because I haven’t camped for so long, and my experiences were pretty primitive. Maybe it’s the teenage drunken mosquito-filled nights of camping I remember! No sleep, someone always vomiting and someone always burned by the fire. Hangover mornings. Good times.”

Fast forward a week. I emailed my sis again: “On Saturday we took the new tent to a secluded place for a dry run. When I say secluded, I’m talking no Golden Arches and no bathroom, only the far off engines of ATVers also communing with nature.

“Other campers had been there before, based on the meat poles for hunting, fire pits and log stump chairs. But the place was too quiet, not even a bird call. M Night Shyamalan movies looped in my brain.

“The temp was 32 degrees, the sky overcast and the wind gusted non-stop. Did I mention it was snowing?

“Our new truck tent? The assembly advertised a ten-minute set up in the box of our truck. It took an hour. One of the poles was too long and didn’t fit, no matter how we struggled. I envisioned the pole snapping and flying like a javelin, and one of us losing an eye.

“On to our romantic fire. The smoke plume followed me, no matter where I sat. There was no cuddling. I was too busy playing musical stumps and blowing my nose. I’d feel Paul’s glare  every time I bailed to warm up in the truck, preferring a reclining leather chair to a hard stump.

“By noon I was starving because we didn’t bring any food. Why? Paul said we wouldn’t stay long enough to worry about meals. I foolishly believed him. And luckily I have strong thighs and decent balance. Men have it easy when nature calls in the woods.

“By the way, did you enjoy your hotel suite in New York last weekend? Wanna change places and commune with nature? . . . Still there?

“Paul grew sullen when I complained of being cold, hungry and smoke-choked. Good times.

“Tent dismantling took considerably less time – we jammed it into the carry bag. Nothing ever fits its carry bag after the first use.

“Returned home in the afternoon, thawed in a hot tub and downed a glass of something strong. So what’s new with you?”

Will I ever head out again with Paul and a tent? For sure. When the thermometer hits the mid-70s and when the cooler is packed with enough food to feed Bear Grylls. Or a Grizzly bear.

Scratch the Grizzly comment. Who needs to worry about fighting off wildlife? I’ll be happy if my thighs hold out.

Did I mention good times?


Audio story music
“Vacation Uke”
by Albis

Hear Me Flush

Shannon Kernaghan Hear-me-Flush Hear Me Flush RV Travel

There are days when I crave a simple life, one that features a scenic stroll or laughing with my favorite people over wine and food.

Since I’m not a paragliding, jet skiing, bungee jumping thrill seeker, my cravings are easily satisfied.

The above definition works when I’m on my own. Add a drop of partner to the mix and my life can go from simple to frenzied. Paul’s “big picture” also includes simplicity although adding toys to the tableaux can create challenges.

Toys, like chocolate chips in cookie dough, are enhancers. These enhancers will give you a cheery endorphin high, or painful cavities and a headache, if you’re allergic to cocoa.

Same goes when you decide to buy an RV.

Don’t assume I’m not a team player. I lusted for a trailer as much as Paul did, and together we spent months weighing the pros and cons of various sizes and designs. Did I say months? Let’s just say RV salespeople stopped returning our calls or making eye contact in the showroom.

We finally found one that pushed all the right buttons, even had an adorable miniature bathroom with a tub and shower combo. There’s no rule that I have to be dirty while camping. It’s bad enough – with my oversized bib overalls – that I resemble SpongeBob SquarePants. If nothing else, I want to smell fresh.

Envision us camped alongside a babbling brook, enjoying nature, reveling in the great outdoors . . .

Pause on the great outdoors. We picked up the trailer at 4 pm on a Thursday and within hours had suffered our first damage. That adorable bathroom was soaked from hail that smashed the rooftop vent and took out part of the ceiling fan.

That means we’re hail-christened, right? We’ll never have to worry about hail again.

Pause on the hail. After setting up the awning and unfolding our lawn chairs at our first camp site, those innocent-looking clouds dumped not only rain but more lashing hail. It hammered the kitchen roof vent and sounded like Jiffy Pop. I waited for that vent to join the broken one above my adorable toilet.

“Are we having fun yet?” I called out.

The hail stopped long enough for us to start a camp fire. Then another onslaught of rain followed.

This time Paul was prepared with a tarp to cover our fire. Now envision us hunched under that tarp, each holding up a corner and gasping for air next to the smoky fire.

Through fits of coughing I called out, “Is this the fun part?”

Between hail and rain, I had a quick lesson in gray and black water, brake controls and leveling blocks. Ask me anything about hitches, water pumps and propane bottles.

I also learned that Whiskey Jacks steal food from your plate when your back is turned, and squirrels will bite the fingers and toes of those who feed them. Plus, birds only poop on clean clothes and towels, never dirty laundry.

But was I having fun? Damn straight. I loved it and didn’t want to leave when our supplies dwindled. After five days it was either go home or start eyeing the squirrels’ nuts.

While discovering ash smudges in unmentionable creases, I suddenly realized I’m an official RV Woman. Hear me roar.

Turns out I fulfilled my simple wish – strolls in the scenic woods and meals with one of my favourite people.

Now that I’m an RV Woman, I’m ready for a few more drops of action added to the cookie dough. Bring on the chocolate chips. And hear me flush my adorable toilet.

Find Shannon’s books on Amazon

Shannon Kernaghan books-row-display-800 Hear Me Flush RV Travel

Audio story music
“Sunday Stroll”
by Huma Huma