It only seems right, in this final full week of summer in the Northwest (and, probably where you are, too) that I look back at our summer glamping trip.
No, that’s not a typo. Glamping is when you camp, but in a glamorous way. You know–cushy RV, elaborate 5th wheeler, a mountain lodge….
Wait? A mountain lodge is an option?
Here’s the story.
Growing up, some of our favorite family summer vacations or extended weekends were spent on camping trips. We did the trailer thing and not only hit the California spots like Lake San Antonio, Crestline, and a host of others whose names I’m starting to forget. But we also packed it up one year and DROVE up to Washington State. That was an adventure, especially on those windy mountain roads that looked so straight on the map.
In college, after relocating up here, I even managed to sneak in a few tent camping getaways, including one to the Spokane World’s Fair back in 1974. While my kids were growing up, we got in a couple of tent trips, some RV vacations and cabin getaways. But the past couple of decades, I think we’ve put up the tent maybe three times.
One of those occasions was during a drive to California a few years back, when I remembered everything…..except the tent poles! Seeing how that can mess up your communing with nature, when we actually reserved a camping spot this year, I was determined to remember EVERYTHING.
We took a Friday off and enjoyed a leisurely drive to the mountains and pulled up to a beautiful, secluded, quiet, forested camp site. However, what was supposed to be two days in paradise was cut short by a must-attend social obligation that popped up on Saturday night. So, it was get there Friday, enjoy a fun night of camping and then pack up and head home. At least we were getting in one night of camping.
All was going fairly smooth–the tent went together as it should, all parts included; what we thought was going to be a campfire-free weekend because of a burning ban actually included a campfire, as this campground was on federal land. Apparently, their forests don’t burn like the state ones.
OK, there was one glitch. I had remembered the air mattress and grabbed the pump. But, in rounding up the 99 things needed, I failed to notice the one thing missing: the tube that connected the pump to the mattress. I gave my lungs a workout, held the pump next to the mattress and got it 2/3’s of the way full. I figured I’d do the rest after dinner. Of course, Victoria decided to document this adventure, take pictures and post them on Facebook. I suspect they’ll also be used against me in the eventual sanity trial.
But look at that site! Dinner was heating up on the fire, the campsite-rules-violating bottle of Dusted Valley Cabernet had filled our plastic cups and we were camping. NOT glamping, but full-blown camping.
It was around then that a huge SUV pulled up next to our site and the guy driving yelled out, “Hey, where do you want us to park?” 10-seconds probably passed when he took pity on our extremely confused faces and revealed, “Hey! It’s Wally & Susan!” It was my wife’s cousin and her recently retired police officer husband that we usually saw only once each year at a family gathering. But what the heck where they doing here?
It turned out that they had recently bought “a cabin” in the area, about 5-miles away. They had been relaxing, probably not far from bed when Susan saw Victoria’s post about the mattress debacle. She told Wally, he replied to her, “Let’s get in the car and go find them!” and they cruised the campground until they recognized the tent in the picture. Once a police investigator, always a police investigator.
We all sat around and chatted while we ate our camping dinner and then they invited us back to their cabin to relax and fill up our air mattress with their pump. (they had a hose) At this point, we had achieved our goal of setting up the camp. Sure, we could head up that way for a while, then come back and enjoy our planned rustic overnight stay.
The wine flowed, the cigars came out, we enjoyed a fire from the propane fire pit on the deck of their 3200 square foot “cabin” that sleeps 21. Yeah, we weren’t suffering. But it was getting late, so we figured it was time to go back to the campsite. However, when we checked the air mattress, it was flat. At this point, we had to choose between sleeping on the hard ground, or spending the night in their downstairs guest room.
The next morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast, I drove over and packed up the campsite and then we headed out on Wally & Susan’s boat for a tour. We had an absolutely amazing time. It was fun to actually hang with Wally & Susan, just the four of us and I fired up the camera and grabbed all kinds of pictures. OK, while it was more glamping than camping, we still got that healthy dose of the great outdoors I had been craving.
Bottom line is–we made a 2016 camping trip happen. That is a 30-hour stretch of my life I will not soon forget. I’m already looking forward to January 1st, when you can begin making camping reservations for the New Year. I want to make sure that we grab that same spot and then, make doubly sure to throw away that hose for the pump.
Thanks Wally & Susan for the great time!