40+ years ago George and I started camping for relaxation. We started in a travel trailer (with no bathroom), tent, pop up, Hi Lo, 5th wheel and now a Class C motorhome. Our camping experience BC (– before campground) was as a weekend warrior or a week or two vacation.
The travel trailer was short lived and our first. We planned a trip to Disney World and Cocoa Beach. That was 1982/83 era. We scoured over maps (yes paper maps) and brochures that I had called to have mailed to us, to plan the EPIC camping vacation. I only remember this because the RV dealer that we bought the camper from did not sell us sway bars for the hitch system. It was a ball and hitch. We were pulling the trailer behind our Ford Thunderbird. When we got to Knoxville (the world’s fair was going on) George almost put me and the camper over one of the mountains (on purpose) because this was going to be an EPIC vacation. But I did not buy the hitch system.
We stayed at a Yogi Bear Campground on HWY 192 outside of Disney (it is now a condo resort). We then moved over to the beach, which sat on A1A. One side of the campground was across the street from the ocean and the other side was on the Indian River. We had a campsite right on the Indian river. George caught a walking catfish/creepy fish and that night we were introduced to “no-see-ums”.
The next year we bought a tent. Not any tent but a HUGE tent. We would pack our Chevy Chevette with the tent, cooler and all the provisions needed for a weekend getaway in a tent – on the Mohican River at either Wally World (it was a regular campground then) or Mohican Wilderness. I do not even remember seeing, what is now our campground, but it was there. Our “camping family” were the people we worked with at Moore’s Lumber Company. Almost every other weekend we were camping somewhere. This went on for many years. We only lasted about a year in the tent because I got cold one evening and I decided to bring one of the sandstone rocks into the tent to heat it up. There were no fire rings in those days. The rock melted a HUGE hole in our beautiful tent.
We then graduated to a pop up. A huge Viking pop up with 2 king sized beds, a frig and protection from the rain and had sort of heat. George took that pop up many times to Ohio Power with the “Moore’s boy’s family” on their annual fishing trip (over our anniversary every year). We did many a trip with my parents to Lake Erie, New London Reservoir, and the Mohican River in the pop up.
Then we moved up to the Hi-Lo. We were uptown with a full-size bathroom, real heat/air conditioning and kitchen. Trips to Florida, weekend trips and yes even fishing trips to Ohio Power (George always had to clean it when he got back from those trips). The Hi-Lo was fabulous. Probably still my most favorite camper we ever had.
August 26, 1992 is when we bought the campground. We felt that we had the perspective of a camper to be able to run a campground. We would look at “our” campground with a different perspective then all those campgrounds we stayed at during the past decade. We did have a different perspective in many ways, but we also found out that camping at a campground and owning/running a campground are 2 different things! Our perspective had only been at what was in front of us at the campground, we did not see the behind the scenes perspective of what it takes to run a campground. We soon learned.
That year we lived in the Hi Lo till winter, then moved into one of the cabins while we remodeled what is now the house by the bridge. Kim was a teenager when we changed our way of life to owning the campground. But 2 years later, she met Scott and Thank God they are still here by our side helping us everyway they can. We could not do this without them.
We eventually sold the Hi Lo and did not camp for many years. We only had the perspective of how camping USE to be. Then July 11, 2006 the BIG flood changed our perspective of life and businesses.
We bought a 5th wheel moved into it and became “full time Rver’s”. We lived in Ohio 7 months of the year running the campground and then move to Florida in the winter. We would go and sit for 5 months and live our life in Florida. No this was not vacation, we lived in a 5th wheel. Did we get to see some neat things in Florida, yes. But in Ohio we cannot go camp and see all the NEAT things that Ohio has to offer because we are working while in Ohio.
Jump forward to 2010 and our perspective changed again. George got bronchitis which then attacked his heart and put him into heart failure. The big guy with the beard that had perfectly clear artery’s, no diabetes, no nothing now had heart failure and A fib. Your perspective changes again.
By 2015 we decided we were going to live life and not be afraid of George’s ups and downs with his health. We bought a Class C motorhome. Something small and easy to handle. We were vacation camping again. Only getting away from camp for maybe a week or two during the winter. We were learning how to live with George’s medical conditions. We did make it one winter for longer than a couple weeks, but he ran into issues on our way home.
Those of you who camp with us know George’s story last winter, but we did get to get away for about 3 weeks at the end of February, the beginning of March this year because I desperately needed a vacation. Then by the middle of March everyone in the world their had perspective changed.
So, this winter we decided this would be a good time to go back to where our “snow-birding” started for us in the winter of 2006/07. We are sitting for 5 months in rural Florida. We are having to learn to live with “no-see-ums” again!
Crystal Isle RV Resort is a mixture of overnight, seasonal and a handful of us snowbirds. Every weekend we watch the overnight campers come in and set up and then tear down in 2-3 days to go back home. Watching the campers every weekend has reminded us of ourselves so many years ago. It has also allowed us a different perspective of what you, our campers, do every time you stay with us. Sitting in the office does not allow us to see the elaborate set ups (Scott gets to see them) that some of you do. THANK YOU, Weekend Warrior’s, camping like that is a lot of work.
THANK YOU, for making OUR campground your Home away from Home. We appreciate all the hard work that you do to be able to come and stay at our campground. THANK YOU for being a part of The Smith family. Our “camping family” has just gotten so much larger over the years and for that we, THANK YOU.
PLEASE know that part of your “camping family” prays for peace and health for you this Holiday Season no matter what your perspective is.
This is just some Thankful Perspective from George and Amy Smith.