Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
Our family vacations were never more complicated than camping. Actually, camping can be very complicated, especially with 5 kids and a dog. Maybe “not expensive” is a better way to describe it. My fondest childhood memories are from our summers camping at Rustic Roost Campsite on Lake Abenaki in Indian Lake, NY. We had an Army tent that slept 7 people and a dog. The tent stayed up all summer. We were known as “Tent City” by our 5th wheel and pop-up camper neighbors.
Since camping is in our family’s blood, my mother continued this activity with Al in to the later years…but with a little help.
My brother Paul had an RV. Mom decided she wanted to take it to the Florida Keys. So they hit the road with my brother Matthew, my sister Mary, the dog, and of course, Al. They were gone for about 3 weeks, and had a wonderful time. Al LOVED it because he was on the go. He loved life best when he was going anywhere.
Another trip was much closer to home. This trip was to the Adirondacks. My brother Paul, Brian and I were camping on an Island near a State campsite. Paul drove Mom and Dad up in the RV to the State site, and then he joined us on the island. The waterways were connected, so each day, we boated to the RV site, picked up Mom and Dad, and brought them to the island. We put a life jacket on Al, and never took it off him. He didn’t mind. He was happy to be camping.
Another trip wasn’t standard camping, but camping on a river. My mother rented a house boat and traveled the waterways for a week from Lake Champlain to Troy, NY, with brother Paul as the Captain, and brother Vincent as a crew member. Al loved this trip too.
How lucky he was to have such a brave and adventurous wife.