Two Stories on the Death of Camping

Hi Pandora,

I enjoyed your post about the outdoor theater. The reference to camping wasn’t that farfetched. Check out my article about the death of camping here. We finally gave up on camping when a big RV arrived next to us at a quiet mountain campsite. The couple got their generator going then folded a huge flatscreen from the side of the camper and watched soap operas.


 Hi Al.

Ha ha! There were doofuses in their greyhound buses that dared to drive down roads that were barely passable by jeeps back in the 70s. We used to go camping at Woods Lake, CA 88 just past Caples Lake, and even though there were signs prohibiting trailors and vehicles over a certain length, these road warriors simply ignored them. We watched as one got stuck, slipped and broadsided a fir tree, then asked for help pushing it. We just said that we weren’t going to risk our lives touching that thing.

I never understood why folks want to go camping to get away from it all yet they carry every comfort from home with them. What’s the point? Even when we were backpacking in the Sierras there were fellow packers who managed to squeeze in a radio and speakers that you could hear back in Placerville. Tip: if you’re behind a vehicle displaying the Good Sam Club decal, turn around and go the other way. They’ll creep downhill at 20, foot on the brake, then speed up to 15 going up the next grade. They’re easy to spot as they are leading a slow line of 12-15 other cars, and never turn out to let the rest of us pass.


 Hi Al,

I just had a chance to read about the death of camping. How true.

As I mentioned, we lived on the San Francisco Peninsula. As a youngster in the boy scouts, later while both single and married, and still later as a father of two girls, the “go to” local campgrounds were Portola Park and Butano Park. Loads of fun. We and fellow campers were always in harmony with and respectful of each other and nature.

The only two types of people that I had problems with were:

1. Late for the train This guy usually drives up the road around midnight in a car whose muffler has seen better days, with high beams on looking for an empty site. Drives around two or three times, finally settles on site across the road. Proceeds to fire up at least two Coleman kerosene lanterns, creating daylight conditions for 30 yards in each direction. Then scavenges firewood from all around, spends 20 minutes chopping wood, builds a fire that puts SF 1906 to shame. Now he unloads the car in search of the tent, which, naturally, is the least accessible item. Pitches tent, gets the sleeping gear and kids into tent, throws water on massive fire, and extinguishes lantern to unseen applause from other nearby campers.

2. Early to rise This camper is up at false dawn – somewhere around five o’clock. Chops a cord of firewood, clatters around setting up camp stove, noisily locates the gallon cooking pot, manages to get to the community water faucet without tripping, fills pot, stumbles back to site, rummages around for coffee pot and can of Folgers, eventually gets coffee perking. Gets kids up to help search for eggs and bacon, makes a mess of buttering toast that got charred on one side (we know this because he’s providing a soliloquy for those of us who would rather be asleep. Wife gets up and manages to waken all those still asleep with a loud, “Good morrrning, everybodddy.”