A Sad and Soggy Story

Pamela the rainmaker

When I was 20 years old, I finished my last six credits of college by studying Renaissance and Reformation history in Europe. We traveled to various sites throughout the continent, camping and staying in youth hostels to keep the price down.

We arrived at our first campsite to find the Rhine had overflowed its banks and our campground was under four feet of water.

Twenty-six years later, I have never camped without it raining. And I go camping every year.

Love is camping with a wet dog

I’m writing this from my campsite at Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River. We arrived last night to put up our tarp (we always use a tarp) and tent in the rain.

Honey guarded the site looking droopy and sad that we wouldn’t let her visit the Golden Retriever in the nice dry camper next door.

It’s not raining hard now. It spritzes every once in while and the day is cool and damp.

Honey is lying by my chair where I sit bundled up in a blanket.

I love camping but I don’t know why. Just once, it would be nice to have a dry and sunny day.

My luck is so certain that I’m thinking of hiring myself out as a rain maker. If you’re suffering in that drought in Texas right now, just send me a plane ticket. I’ll bring my tent. And my umbrella. And my tarp.


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  1. How funny, I’m not sure how many non-rainy camping trips I’ve had either! It’s just one of those things, I guess.

  2. Ha ha ha, It’s not funny, but you sure got a chuckle out of me. THIS is EXACTLY why I don’t camp. Well, that and the bugs…and the sleeping outside…and the lack of a spot to plug my flat iron in so I don’t look I have modeled my hairstyle after Alfred Einstein. Oh, and those awful camp chairs. Is your back ever really the same after sitting in the for a few days. Give me a nice weekend away at the Sheraton in some big city any day!

    I hope the rain clears up and you get to enjoy at least a little!

    • Now I’m laughing. I can’t believe the same woman who appeared in public dressed as a zombie won’t go anywhere without a flat iron! :)

  3. You could be hired out by drought-ridden states to be a rainmaker! It would be an amazing new career!

    • And I’d get to see some really cool places while working my magic.

      I feel so cursed, I actually apologized to our campsite neighbors for ruining their week of perfect weather by showing up on the weekend.

  4. How sad! I love camping too but have had bad luck in the past few years so haven’t gone for a while. Oregon, too much rain. Texas, too hot. Kansas & Missouri, too many ticks. Maybe soon. We were thinking of making a trip to Colorado Springs this or next year.

  5. I know the feeling. We only got out camping twice this year :-( and it rained both times. The last time we were waffling over which site to take but I could tell it was about to pour so I decided we should just grab the closest one. It’s a good thing we did as the rain started the exact moment we got the tarp over the tent.

    I love camping too. But when you camp on the east coast, you’d better bring your rain gear! I hope the sun comes out for you soon!

    • We did eventually get some sun after a serious fog that made Canada entirely disappear from view (we were on an island in the St. Lawrence river).

      The good news is that I’ve gotten really good at setting up a tent in the dark and the rain without it getting too wet inside. That’s a real marketable skill….

      Don’t you think the climates we both live with make us really appreciate a sunny, summer day?

  6. This made me laugh! Thank you from a fellow camper!

  7. I’m not a huge fan of camping, but every year my husband’s family goes out to this old boy scout camp and stays for the weekend during one October or November weekend. I love it because they stay in these old cabins that have wood burning stoves. It’s the best of everything, if you ask me. You have to hike to get there and there are lots of trails and beautiful sights, but you don’t have to stay in the elements. It’s really rustic and fun. My husband and I never sleep out there, we just drive out during the day and for the night hiking and then drive home. The dogs are a good excuse! 😛 I hope the rain clears up and you get to have some nice, dry fun!

    • Sounds like a nice place to relax after tramping through the woods. You should spend the night there sometime–maybe you’ll get hooked.

      We’ve stayed in “cabins” before and not liked it as much as tenting. One was a glorified tool shed–you know, the kind they sell in the parking lot of Home Depot. And once was a cute little log cabin with a lone light bulb dangling from the ceiling and lots of resident mice and spiders.

      Give me a nice clean tent any day!

  8. Camping in the rain is made even more super awesome when you have a dog. Wet dog trying to get in the sleeping bag with Mom & Dad just isn’t a good time.

    • My favorite new item–microfiber clothes for wiping off muddy paws before entering the tent. Of course, the pawprints on my sleeping bag demonstrate you gotta catch ’em to clean ’em.

  9. I love my home comforts too much to ever go camping in good weather let alone rain! I can imagine you keep going to see if just this once it won’t rain? I hope the weather clears for you too … unless you prefer it when it’s raining:)

    • We’re really particular about the sites we choose and reserve them well in advance. One particularly lovely spot that is private and gives walk in access to the river for kayaking fills up within hours of reservations being opened. So we really can’t plan the weather that far in advance.

      I guess we could try to be spontaneous and go on a whim when we see the weather forecast. But the state parks in our area fill up during the summer. And I don’t think could get my husband to try primitive camping.

      You know the old joke, don’t you? Does a Mike sh*t in the woods? Apparently the answer is no.

  10. Not much of a camper myself. We went camping for a few years with The Spouse’s sister at the instigation of the Youngest, but she and the Sister-in-Law were the only ones who truly loved it.

    Here you can rent permanent structures for $100.00/night to have a simulated camping experience. No “tent-in-the-rain.” However, if I’m paying $100/night, I want a private bath and cable TV!

    • Yeah, $100 a night is pretty steep for me. Although last year my husband sprang for more than that to give me the chance to stay in a yurt.

      Isn’t it funny how camping is such a “either you get it or you don’t” thing? I wasn’t raised camping with my family. I came to it as an adult. And my sister just bought her first tent at 40 years old.

      So never say never. You might get the fever one day!

  11. Sometimes rain is better than one of those super hot, humid camping days! Chili sent you a thank you and a shout out in Sassy’s post this morning!

    • Thanks, Barb. It’s nice to know not everyone thinks I’m crazy.

      Glad to hear Chili enjoyed the bag of goodies. Was thrilled to see the picture.

  12. I don’t know why you like camping, either.

    • Oh that “dry” wit. :)

      Besides, what’s not to love about muddy clothes, a wet sleeping bag, and tramping through the woods looking for a poison-ivy free place to pee in the woods?

      But don’t forget the starry nights (once the rain stops), listening to all the night creatures, and being totally inaccessible to everyone who needs you to do something for them. :)

  13. While Cali loves to camp . . I no longer enjoy sleeping on the ground! One day soon we hope to have an RV and give it another try. Sorry you are soggy – sending you sunny thoughts!!

  14. LOL – you must be my doppleganger! My nickname for camping actually WAS “rainmaker”. I’m pretty sure that’s why no one ever invites me to go camping any more – even my dogs don’t want to join me. Sorry you’re soggy – hope your week improves. :)

    • Leslie, do you think if we went camping together the forces of the universe would align and cancel the rain? Let me know if you’re interested. :)

  15. haha… yeah, i’ve had those camping experiences! The entire week of constant steady drizzle (or, in one trip, drizzle alternating with snow and hail heavy enough to coat the ground before the rain started again), and yet, still enjoying myself, even with every single item of clothing i brought layered on my shivering body 😛
    hoping for some sunny days for you :)

    • On the few times we’ve gone camping on hot summer days, I can’t understand why people bother lighting a campfire. It’s just pollution for no reason. But on those cold drizzy days, you really see the magic, don’t you?

  16. You’re so right! There is nothing quite like camping in the rain with dogs – even if you’re doing it in an RV (which I don’t truly consider “camping”) it’s a challenge. Small spaces and rambunctious dogs do not mix well. Good luck!

  17. LOL! I wonder why that happens? So strange.
    Think you could hire yourself out to Minnesota too? We’re a little dry here too. :)