Where good manners go to die

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved to camp…

We do a lot of camping. But I really like to camp in a specific way. And by that I mean that I like to get deep in the hills and far away from other people. The goal is to get away from RV’s and their generators (why head for the hills and then watch TV? I don’t get it.), loads of noisy people, cell phone coverage, sounds of the highway, and people who disrespect nature. Therefore, I’m not a fan of campgrounds. What I am a fan of is loading up an off-road vehicle and getting the hell away from civilization.

The manfriend really rekindled a childhood love of camping several years ago. The summer of 2007 was a great time of complete lack of responsibility. We were both living in apartments and didn’t have things like gardens to tend or home projects. From April through the end of September we spent virtually every weekend camping. I had recently bought a Jeep Wrangler and he and I would load up our Jeeps (his and hers, how cute) and take off. It was spectacular. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting by a campfire and taking in the fresh air. Every time my tires would hit the dirt road and I’d stop to push Roxie (that was my Jeep) into 4-low and open all my windows, I would stop to take a deep breath of clean, cool, pine-scented air. I could just feel the stress slide off of my body.

The manfriend bought a 4-Runner last winter, which is definitely off-road capable. For those of you who don’t know, not every SUV is off-road capable. At least not in the sense that it can get some of the places we go. For that you need low gearing, true 4-wheel drive (not all-wheel drive), and ground clearance. We’re driving over boulders and through deep bodies of water here, people. Not just any vehicle will do. Anyway, in true manfriend style, he made that 4-Runner even MORE off-road capable by adding a 3-inch lift and 33″ tires (which are pretty humongous, just FYI). He’s not going to quit there, but he’s been sidetracked by a major Jeep overhaul. I won’t even get into the beastiness of his Jeep, Jane. She’s a monster that can gobble up pretty much anything a road puts in her path with not so much as a hesitation. The point being that two people do not need three off-road vehicles. Not to mention the fact that, as much as I loved my Jeep, driving a Jeep as your daily commuter sucks. Therefore, I got a new car.

Anyway, this past weekend (Memorial Day weekend) we went camping for the first time this season. Everyone and their mother also went camping. Combine that with the fact that most of our usual haunts are still under snow, and that we were camping with others who don’t have off-road vehicles, and you have a recipe for disaster. We had to find a spot that was open and that could accommodate regular cars. And when you camp with those kinds of constraints, you camp in designated spots with RVs, loud-mouth inconsiderate people, and those who don’t respect nature.

Friday night was lovely – warm and quiet. This was after we cleaned up a bunch of trash (including used toilet paper strewn about the site). We found a great overlook with a beautiful view of the canyon and the lights of Boulder down below. Saturday was equally nice. We hung around camp, reading and playing Yahtzee. The afternoon brought a light storm that gave ample excuse to crawl in the tent and nap. And Saturday night was shaping up nicely…until about 10:30 when a large group of bozos rolled in and started setting-up camp just west of us. In an undesignated site. Hey, I ain’t Smoky the Bear and if they’d been quiet and respectful, I wouldn’t have cared where they camped. But they hooted and hollered, chopped wood, and laughed while their dogs barked until around 2:30 or 3 in the morning. Somewhere in there, I’m guessing around 1:30, a car rolled by, lights blazing into our tents, stereo pumping. I swear to you, I thought we were being invaded. I sat bolt upright, “WTF?” I said to manfriend. He didn’t say a peep, which meant he was pissed. That car passed and took up residence on the other side of us in a, you guessed it, undesignated spot. They continued to pound their bass until around 3 in the morning. So, we were surrounded on both sides by camping douche baggery.

The sun rose and all was finally quiet. Manfriend rolled towards me. “How are you?” “Alright,” I responded. (“Alright” is code in our relationship that it could be worse, but it could be a helluva lot better.) “I’m getting the f*&k outta here today, you better believe it!” He replied. I just nodded and said, “No doubt!”

And so we spent Sunday reveling in the quiet as we took our time packing up and the bozos slept off their drunken revery. As we left we couldn’t help but feel satisfaction in noting that the Sheriff had pulled into the loud camp west of us to either run them off or write them a ticket for being in an undesignated site. Karma, baby!

And we will never camp on Memorial Day weekend again.

The end.

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