Camping can include fishing and fires and frolicking in a forest. But it doesn't have to. Some adventurous women fancy a feminine version of camping.
Last weekend compact campers crowded Claybough Campground in Pigeon Forge. It was a gathering of women from across the country with a special bond. They are Sisters on the Fly.
"It's a wonderful, wonderful group. All women. You don't bring your pets, don't bring your husbands, don't bring your children, and you can travel in little groups if you want to," Penny Manning said.
She has been active in the group only recently but joined 14 years ago.
"I saw about six little campers and one happened to have the email address. And I thought when I get older I am going to do that. That's what I am going to do and I went back and I joined. And my number, we all have a number, I'm 148. Now there's about 4,000 sisters so everyone is real impressed. 5,000 sisters," she said.
A polka dot vintage camper belongs to sister #3347. But they don't get hung up on numbers or even campers.
"A lot of people think you have to have a little camper. I've only had mine about a month," she said.
Each camper has a theme. Penny Manning calls hers Sweet Fanny McGee.
"I meant for it to look in the 60s because it's a '63 Metzendorf but I think it looks more like a teenager's room. But that's ok. It's bright, it's sunny, comfortable," she explained.
It features a dinette and a small kitchen and a bed and little details that personalize it for Penny.
She said, "Just enough for one. And it's perfect."
The sisters put a lot of effort into decorating the campsites and campers. Some are tiny like Penny's while others are roomier and even feature showers.
The details make a difference. Tammy Heckman's set up features an ironing board transformed into a vintage bar.
"I just have some vintage bottles and vintage things to display on the bar and of course have a cocktail for all my sister guests who come over to my house," Tammy Heckman said.
Water is more likely...
The quirky campers do create comradery among the women who caravan to campsites. But members can show up alone and sleep in a tent. All that's required is registration on the sisters on the fly website and a desire to have fun.
Tammy Heckman said, "It's a real sisterhood. It holds true to the name."