The thermometer on the shelf beside me tells me it’s 90 degrees in the library as I write this at 9:06 p.m. About nine hours earlier when it was even hotter outside I said to Susan “Howsabout we camp out in the backyard tonight?” And she said “Oh hell yeah!” And so I went down into the basement and first extracted and assembled my oldest 6′ x 8′ tent, but there was no way that was going to accommodate her and me and the two dogs.

Why so many occupants? Well, not only had we decided to backyard camp just for the noveltyof it and the slightly cooler outdoor temps, but also as a warm-up for the Death Valley trip we’re planning in November — with the dogs. So what better way to get Ranger and Shadow acclimated to the tent then to try a test run on the premises.

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So down I went back into the basement and finally found the Eureka Tetragon 1210 10′ x 12′ foot monster tent that I bought for our first Death Valley trip back in 2005, and broke down the first one. It may not be clear from the picture above but fully assembled the Eureka is a McMansion in the realm of tents. But ya know, being 6’2″ it is so nice being able to stand straight up inside. And that 120 square feet will make the interior a little more habitable for me, my wife, and the two animals.

So off we go into the wilds of the backyard for what promises to be an interesting night for all concerned.

UPDATED (09.02): The night outside was uneventful, quiet and cool… or at least cooler than indoors, and it was awesome to occasionally stir and see through the tent’s roof mesh the moon shining through the fig leaves overhead. We opted not to go with the inflatable mattress and in hindsight with the dogs that wasn’t a bad idea, but some padding beyond just the opened sleeping bags could have made things a bit more comfortable against the hard ground. On the awesome side, Ranger and Shadow were beautifully well behaved and settled in to the confines of the closed tent quite easily.