Warren’s World: Enjoying, and Bemoaning, the Great Outdoors

By Beacon Staff

Some people take summer vacations instead of ski vacations.

My neighbor Elmo, his wife and four kids recently made all of the arrangements to go to Mount Wannabe. Here is his report:

I checked out all of the highways, motels, fast-food stops and toll bridges to that campground. I had my computerized, printed reservation for the Mount Wannabe, U.S. Forest Service camp location 19, space #1387b. It was glued to my windshield as I ground up to the high country and finally located my reserved space.

It was occupied!

The 267-pound female occupant assured me, “My husband and the rest of my kids will be back before dark and we can be packed up in less than two hours. You don’t mind, do you?”

It got dark this far north at about 10:30 p.m.

No option, except to drive back down to the wilderness equivalent of a 7-Eleven, except that everything is twice as expensive. They serve coffee and four-day-old doughnuts until 9 p.m., so we only had 12 hours to eat before they stopped serving.

By early evening, the ice in our cooler had melted and the temperature inside our SUV was about the same as that in Death Valley in July.

About two hours before midnight, we began to unpack the family tent and tried to drive the stakes into the granite with a lug wrench, because I left my hatchet at home. My kids were assembling the camp stove and spilled gasoline all over the car because my wife forgot the funnel.

Fortunately, there was some life left in the SUV battery to illuminate the scene with my headlights as our wilderness experience began.

I glanced up occasionally at the great view I was going to enjoy for a week when a 53-foot motor home passed in front of Mount Wannabe and parked 10 feet away in slot number 1387a.

The sign on the back of it said, “If we don’t go first class our children will.” The lady had blue hair and a white French poodle under her arm. The dog was wearing a big blue bow with sparklies that was tied onto its rhinestone-studded collar.

Mr. Gray-Haired-Beer-Belly Motor Home Driver was already busy pitching his camp and did it quickly.

1. He switched on his electric awning and it rolled out over part of my camping spot.

2. The butane barbecue was wheeled out downwind, which was upwind from me.

3. Then he spread eight white plastic chairs around the perimeter of the Astro Turf.

4. The portable bar was wheeled in between the plastic chairs.

5. The generator was then switched on to power their color television.

6. Blue Hair emerged from the 53-foot long motor home with a double vodka martini in her shaky hand. She was wearing a pair of double-knit polyester slacks that she bought about 145,000,000 calories ago.

While all of this was going on, camping spot #1381A was being taken over by four motorcycle riders on a weekend trip with their spouses.

They were riding shiny Harley Davidson’s that can go at least 112 mph. Each motorcycle is a different color and the couple riding them has matching, color coordinated brain buckets with microphones and earphones so they can talk to each other. They need to talk while cruising in the heat of the summer afternoon in their skin tight, black leather suits while killing flies with their faces.

One of the motorcycles had a matching miniature trailer that contained miniature everything needed for miniature camping. A one-burner stove, dehydrated food, 16 ice cubes, pots and pans that nestle together so no one can get them apart – stuff like that.

One of the men was a cosmetic surgeon who had to take a month off because of his mounting doubts: Should he make things bigger or smaller?

The third couple wass a “his and her” duo who own a computer software business.

The fourth couple wass a drummer and lead singer in a rock band. She is the drummer.

As the sun slowly set behind Mount Wannabe, some of the other campers were walking through the campground to see who had the largest and most expensive camping rig.

And here came Mr. and Mrs. Overweight in their contrasting yellow shorts and purple varicose veins. They have identical hats that hold a beer can over each ear and a straw that leads down to their chins.

Of the 1,193 people registered in the campground, there wasn’t a single person who will ever hike the two miles to the top of Mount Wannabe.