“Me and my cousins would be out working, and Granddaddy would finish his rural milk route and come on home in the middle of the afternoon. If we were near enough to finished, he’d come over and after a while he’d say “Did you hear that?” And we’d all say no and he’d say, ‘That’s a big old catfish in Grenada Lake hollering at us,’ and we’d all go fishing.”
The Threadgills head to the woods with a 12-foot by 12-foot Coleman tent. “But we don’t sleep on the ground any more, too old for that,” Doug says. “We take a queen-size blow-up mattress.”
Camping, he says, is not always inexpensive, “but it’s cheaper than a whole lot of other things people do, especially in the outdoors, and it’s worth every penny.”
A lifetime of camping, says Threadgill, has helped him in one special way while he’s on the road. “There are times, especially the spring, when I park at night and just open the windows in the condo and get a little cross breeze, and it’s just like camping. I don’t have to idle all night. There are a lot of drivers who just idle and run the air conditioning that don’t need it. I sleep really comfortably.”
The couple will fish if there is fishing to be done, but it’s not something that has to happen. “I fish more than Alicia – she’d rather be under a tree with a book – but if I’m catching some, she’ll fish,” Doug says.
“We both love to cook, so we don’t look at camp cooking as a chore or a difficulty. We have a big 18-inch skillet, and we’ll throw bacon and eggs in there together and make breakfast. Making meals is not as easy as in the kitchen at home, but if you start making comparisons there’s not much point in camping. We don’t time it or think about how much work there is in making a fire. We just enjoy doing it together.”
Alicia Threadgill says one of the tricks to enjoying camping is not to do anything you don’t want to do. “If we don’t want to cook, we don’t, we’ll just snack on something we’ve brought along.” Dishes, beds, washing up, chores and so on are done leisurely when the couple feels like it. “Nothing is regimented or scheduled,” she says. “It’s total recreation. It’s getting away from the insanity and the pressures.”
The Threadgills say being able to see stars without having a layer of city smog in the way and to see animals sharing the land with you is not only relaxing but thrilling.
“It’s all in your mindset,” says Doug. “Get stress and trucking out of your mind, and this is a fantastic way to live for a while.”
Catch a Little Festival Fever
The sun on your back, the smell of hot, buttered corn on the cob in your nose and the beat of rhythmic music in the distance can only mean one thing – it’s festival season. With the summer in full swing, there are festivals around every corner, offering the off-duty trucker an entertaining weekend almost anywhere in the country.
From garlic festivals to solar-powered concerts, the American festival scene thrives during the summer. There are festivals every weekend and in almost every state throughout August and September, so visiting a festival is an easy and entertaining way to fill off-duty time.
Fortunately, digging through every local newspaper is not the only way to find an event in the area. Instead, go online to an event database, like Festivals.com or Festivalfinder.com, to locate a festival near you that celebrate themes like food, culture, sports, motor sports and music.