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Camping at Arckaringa Station in the Painted Desert - photo: Warren Mars

As a poet, I like to think that I would be inspired to write numerous verses while touring around, but that is seldom the case as most of my time on tour is occupied with the minutiae of driving, planning, researching, walking, cooking, trouble shooting etc. By the end of the day I am usually looking to relax with a cold beer and a song, the last thing I want at such times is to cudgel my brains with word puzzles. Nevertheless, I do jot down any germ of inspiration when it occurs to me and work on it later. In this case the idea and format was conceived in Echuca at the end of our central Australia trip after reading a tea towel with a camping poem on it. I had no time to write even one line of this poem then but I had the germ, and was able to write it out a few weeks later when back at home.

Each year, in deepest wintertime, midst cold and rain and sleet,
I start to feel imprisoned and I get such itchy feet,
That I know it must be time to pack my gear and off to shoot,
And head up to the warm and dry a-camping with my ute.

I feel the stress begin to lift as soon as we leave town,
And every mile further there seems less to weigh me down.
And when we stop to bush-camp far away from all pursuit,
I revel in the joy again of camping with my ute.

We find a level site we like and there we pitch the tent.
It's big but still it's up and filled with half an hour spent.
There's room inside for bedding and a carpet that's a beaut,
And even chairs and table when we're camping with my ute.

But usually the weather's fine and we can sit outside,
And take in all the ambiance and vistas far and wide.
At a table in the shade you'll find all arguments are moot,
When I open up the door of the kitchen in my ute.

It's there you'll find the fridge of course, with soft drink and cold beer,
And meat and veg to barbeque, that always brings good cheer,
And the stove and crocks and cutlery and microwave to boot,
And the sink and jaffle maker in the kitchen of my ute.

My canopy was built to spec and rather high and wide,
But that's the space that's needed to fit everything inside.
There's luggage room and boxes and flash lighting made to suit,
The solar powered battery and inverter of my ute.

We could have bought a caravan and paid a great deal more,
And saved ourselves from making camp, which some perceive a chore.
But then you're stuck inside all day, which doesn't quite compute,
When you could be sitting outside with a tent beside a ute.

Because we tow no trailer, town parking is no woe,
And as we've proper four wheel drive there's nowhere we can't go.
It's easier to drive on dirt, that no one will dispute,
And economy is better when you've only got the ute.

So whether in the Kimberley or Birdsville or down south,
In a tourist park or roadside or a quiet river mouth,
Come check us out, you'll find out that our setup is so cute,
That you too will want to head up bush a-camping with a ute.

Warren Mars - October 2013