Camp Vilhauer

Another weekend, another camping trip.

This has become almost a ritual for Kerrie and me – she’s spent the last four weekends camping, and I’ve been along for three of them. It’s the equivalent of going out for a cheap beer; a vacation without the cost.

Camping for me isn’t a fit of exploration that it is for some people. I have no need to fish for four hours, take the boat out for a few more, and return to some extravagant fire and slaved over meal. Camping for me is this: sitting in my chair, walking around the campsite, drinking beer, watching the fire. It’s all about settling myself into a relaxing peace.

Still, it’s amazing to me how many people can pack up their entire house, hop into RVs of various shapes and sizes, and, as Kerrie put it, “play house.” These people, who tend to occupy about 95 percent of the state camping areas, aren’t really camping at all – they’re just moving their recreational drinking and grilling to a different place. They spend the first few hours setting everything out just so in an effort to separate their campsite from the others that look exactly like theirs.

Some people have satellite dishes on their car. Others festoon their site with windmills, wooden name plates, and other decorations. I know I sound a little exclusionary, but that’s not camping to me.

Camping is a tent. Camping is sitting in chairs around the fire until you’re either too tired or too drunk to carry on. Camping is hiding yourself from civilization, somewhat, and forgetting about what normally occupies your life.

I shouldn’t say much, though, because when I’m 55, I’m sure as hell not going to want to sleep in a tent. I’ll represent the same guy I’m lampooning against, with a “Vilhauer” sign out front and a margarita blender affixed to my RV. I can almost see it now – we’ll be on our third set of terriers, our children will have moved away, and we’ll be contacting the rest of our friends to organize a giant RV party.

I’d say it makes me sick to think about.

If only it didn’t sound so fun.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 20th, 2005