Saturday, September 01, 2012

camping world

I like to think of myself as a country girl. I am. I am a girl from a country-ish place. Talent. Jacksonville. Ruch. The Outer Banks of Medford, Oregon. I've lived in log cabins, carried my own water, split wood for heat and for money. I know what a rick of wood is, and what it used to cost. But I like camping in parks. I like the running water and hot showers, the noise of other families trying to make music around the campfire at least once a year, kids learning how to play again: hopscotch, jumprope, the you're-it, if-you-don't-quit-it-I'm-not-playing-with-you-anymore, kind of games. I miss my son as a young boy, catching crawdads in the creek while I kicked heroin in the tent. ah. memory lane.

We have been on the road for a week, and I just wanted to take a moment to discuss campgrounds. Not the ones with the white trash ambiance, close enough to Leavenworth to service the townies, as though the meth lab just used up its two weeks and pulled up stakes: this was Tumwater Camp, a dry and crusted patch of firestarter nestled along a sweet little stream, dribbling past, unaware of the company it keeps. The Wenatchee River, I'll admit, is a fantastic river and maybe it was just too late in the year, but there was nobody else there hardly except for the people for whom camping is not a happy little vacation option, and that is scary to me. I'm not afraid of bears, I'm afraid of people. Maybe it was just too close to Leavenworth to make camping seem viable. Leavenworth looks like winter at summer's end. Scalloped rooflines, alpine trees and rocky mountainsides naked without their blanket of white. With shopkeepers that just can't let go of the inaccurate notion that everybody loves Christmas stuff. Like those yard sales with special areas for Christmas items such as melting faded pine tree candles, over-used silver garland and ceramic Mr&Mrs Claus with calico clothing. All of the tourists just seemed to be waiting for the snow and Christmas lights so a visit to the Nutcracker Museum would make at least some sense.

I love Wallowa Lake Campground. I love Birch Bay Campground. I love Beverly Beach. This is where the nice people camp. I have become, while I was not looking, a nice person. I have matching towels for camping. I know I should hate these places of rules and regulations and sale firewood and paved pathways, but they comfort me. The idea of roughing it no longer appeals to me. There. I've said it. That is not to say that all people who rough camp are not nice. I am just nicer.

Sid hates camping. He has no hair, bugs bother him, he isn't at home where he feels safe and knows what to expect. He'd rather stay in the trailer than roam around like an animal, calling into question whether or not he is really a dog. His skin breaks out, he shakes and stares at us, and the very mention of the word "home" is the only thing that makes him wag his tail.

I'm exaggerating.

Then there's Duffy. In the unbridled out of doors, he becomes even more dog-like and obnoxious, if that's possible. He waits at the window of the trailer and growls, stalking chipmunks. He plans his escape. He never forgets. As soon as he has an opportunity, he bolts, scrambling up a tree he has no hope of climbing. If he had any idea how impossible his hopes and dreams really are, he'd commit suicide. On a long hit list, Duffy's top two disgusting events while camping, are: 1.) Pissing down Kurt's leg and filling his shoe with dog urine, which is not all that rare for Duffy. (See previous posts.) He seems to equate the human leg with a fire hydrant or tree. It is upright, afterall. Besides, Kurt was standing on his leash to keep him from running off first thing in the morning. I know, I rationalize. And 2.) Drumroll.......... Rolling in human shit. Now, as profoundly disgusting as this is and was, do I blame Duffy? Or do I blame the bottom-feeder who crapped in the campsite? Well, Duffy was closest, so he got a pretty cold bath, me gagging through the whole thing.

We did bring him home with us though. 

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