Doug and Alicia Threadgill say camping is the world’s best anti-stress medication.
When trucker Doug Threadgill wants to “leave the world behind,” he and his wife head out to the woods.
“I love to camp,” says the Memphis, Tenn., driver. “Getting out into the woods and just being there is all I want to do. I don’t have to hunt or fish. The idea is to leave the world of trucks and trucking and the whole busy commercial world and get off out into a world of our own. It’s that simple.”
Threadgill has been a driver for 31 years, the last 14 with Ozark Motor Lines. For most of his years with Ozark he ran the northeast and southeast coasts with a Freightliner Columbia, but in June he switched to a dedicated run between Memphis and Charlotte, N.C. “so I’ll know where I’ll be and what I earn; it’s about time I did that.” Threadgill hauls dry freight these days but says “except for bull hauling, I’ve done it all.”
Threadgill’s wife of 35 years, Alicia, used to drive too, and when she did, he says “she was known as Momma Firecracker.”
Both of them get their relaxation, and thrills, from camping.
“You don’t need a gun or a fishing pole to enjoy the outdoors; you just need a mindset,” says Threadgill. “A lot of people don’t get the concept; they think they have to be doing something apart from enjoying nature. But if you drive a truck for a living, learning how to just sit around a camp and relax is worth doing.”
Threadgill says a driver concerned about his health could try camping as a stress reliever.
“You have to be able to let that blood pressure come down,” he says. “It’s an art, just watching nature, but it can be learned, and a driver will find he feels much better in himself after a weekend of just plain old camping. It’s the sort of thing that could save a man’s life, and its cheaper, less stressful and a lot more enjoyable that medication.”
Even for folks not used to the outdoors, it’s worth a try, Threadgill says.
“I wish there was some way I could relay to drivers just how much wonder surrounds you all the time you get out in the outdoors, especially drivers who stay cooped up all the time they are off the road,” he says. “I have a friend that says, ‘If I can’t find a Holiday Inn, I ain’t going,’ but a lot of people who haven’t tried it would love it and feel so much better, more alive, for doing it.”
Camping is so natural to the Threadgills that they had no hesitation taking their children camping when they were just babies. Very little babies.
“Angie came with us when she was 3 months old and Sha (pronounced Shay) when she was just 6 weeks old,” says Threadgill. “We had planned to go camping a long time before, and we really saw no reason not to take the girls. We carted everything we needed with us; we even had a little tub for them. It was late in the spring, and they were warm and they loved it.”
The girls grew up in the Girl Scouts because both Doug and Alicia had worked as Scout masters when they were growing up, passing on some of that delight in the outdoor world to the young girls of their community. Something else they both did as youngsters was go camping.
“Every year when I was growing up,” says Alicia, “we’d go fishing for 10 days in the summer. It was the best time of my life. Getting out and camping and fishing in the woods like that is the best thing you can do.”
“I did Boy Scout camps every summer,” says Doug, “and then, because my parents both worked, I’d be shipped off to my grandparents’ farm. By the time I got to 7 years old, my granddaddy decided I had to work the farm if I was going to be there. And I got my love of the outdoors and of fishing and hunting from him in those summers.