Choppy and I were back to camping yesterday. Not so brilliantly, I decided to camp out on a night where the low was predicted to be 36. However, in what I consider a minor stroke of genius (though I’m really not sure I should consider it genius, considering how long it took me to come up with it and how much I have camped without doing it this trip), I decided not to put up the tent, but to sleep in the car!

Here are some bonuses to sleeping in the car:

  • Warmth: Even without the heat on (partly because I was worried about carbon monoxide poisoning, partly because I had to put all the tents and chairs and the like in the front seat and couldn’t actually reach the ignition or the heater. More the latter than the former. Much more).
  • Avoidance of Animals: After the many animals I worried about camping in Florida, camping in the car was a joy, as the only animal around was Choppy, and I certainly don’t worry about her. Let me rephrase: I don’t worry about her hurting/poisoning/killing me. However, I definitely do worry about her eating all my food, so there is a certain shared worry between her and wild animals. Also, this bonus to sleeping in the car was affirmed when I was chatting with another camper in the bathroom, and she told me the raccoons were making so much noise outside her tent that she could hardly sleep last night.
  • Alarm System: I can set the car alarm, so as to (a) reassure me that nothing will attack me during the night, and (b) wake up the entire campground when I decide to get up in the middle of the night, and physically unlock the door, thus setting off the alarm. FYI, I didn’t do that last night. However, I guarantee that it will happen at some point if I continue car camping (and trust me, I will continue car camping). Of course, considering how well the car alarm protected my car against theft while in New Orleans, perhaps I shouldn’t rely on it for anything beyond the appearance of protection.

However, the car is not all puppies and rainbows:

  • Bathroom: Even though you aren’t in a tent, you’re still a long way from the bathroom when camping in the car. Combine that with the aforementioned potential of setting off the alarm, and a hotel definitely still seems like a good option. A very good one.
  • Space Issues: Thanks to my aforementioned inability to pack lightly, even filling the front seat up to the ceiling (as I did last night), there is still not much space in the back. Choppy and I were a wee bit crowded. And by “wee bit,” I mean that I could not lie down without bending my knees, which is probably not healthy. And shows you how short my SUV is, as I am not tall. On the plus side, I had a nice warm body next to me all night to help keep me warm. On the down side, it was a rather stinky and furry body.
  • Foggy Windows: Sleeping in the car without any heat on a cold night ends up fogging up the windows. The other people at the campground will likely wonder what is going on in the car if they see this. It’s even more disturbing for them when they realize it’s just you and the dog in the car.

Ultimately, the verdict on car camping is good: once I get a car top carrier (seriously, procuring one of these that I like is far more difficult than one would expect), there will be plenty of room to stretch out and it will be quite comfortable, particularly as I will be able to reach not only the heat, but the air conditioning (I am hopeful the weather will be warm at some point on this sojourn) and the stereo. Except for the inability to stand up, it will be much like being at home. OK, it won’t be anything like being at home. But I am going to pretend.

Also, not worth entire posts, but two important things happened today.

One, I peed outside for the first time on the trip. I blame it on drinking too many waters and a failure of back roads to have any indoor restrooms that I was willing to use. It was…exactly like peeing outside always is. Unpleasant.

Two, I saw what is officially the most unexpected thing so far of the trip (yes, it beats the armadillo). I’m putting it below the fold, so that those of you who don’t want to see a bunch of dead things strung up don’t have to see it (that’s your warning. Because there are dead things below the fold).Coyote UglyYup, that’s a bunch of coyotes strung up on a fence. I was definitely not expecting to see that.