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A Perfect Camping Trip: No Such Animal

Updated on May 1, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

Once There was a Time

when American families one boy, one girl, "Johnny," and "Julie," with dad, "Harold," and wife, "Mirium," would jump into the four-year-old Pontiac Vista Cruiser and head for the open road settling in an eight hour's drive somewhere in the wilds of "Round Rock," Nevada for a week of fun, frolic, and frankfurters on the Weber grill.

Ahhh, what great times these were for the vacationing Americans in the mid to late 1950s.

Everything pertaining to the camping trip was pretty routine. No chance of leaving anything undone. "Harold," the head of the family, managed to square away every intimate detail of this yearly trek to bond with the family, forget the office, and just breathe the breath of freedom.

Talk about great moments. Nothing can compare with that first cup of coffee in the mornings on your camping trip.
Talk about great moments. Nothing can compare with that first cup of coffee in the mornings on your camping trip. | Source

So far This has

been a decently-written hub with all of my nostalgic Americana mentions and adjectives that I have carefully chosen to make each paragraph not only stand out, but be burned into your memories from this day forward.

The air was clean. The camping area's were well restricted by professional security guards. And the camping fees were all but free. Just ask anyone of your family members who are of the older generations and they will reinforce what I have told you about near free camping frees. To further drive home this point, camping area's such as KOA (Camping Area's of America) were almost in direct competition with Holiday Inn and other famous hotel chains in America.

I almost hate to mention my next thought. Really. You and I have had a great time so far reminiscing about the good old days of camping, but there comes "that" time to bring up the curtain to give you this headline: A Perfect Camping Trip: No Such Animal.

The Things That Went Wrong With So-Called Perfect Camping Trips Will Begin Immediately Underneath Photo Next to This Bold Line of Text.

A camper's eye view of the inside of a securely-designed tent.
A camper's eye view of the inside of a securely-designed tent. | Source
U.S. President, John F. Kennedy  and University of Oklahoma  football coach, Charles "Bud" Wilkinson in the Oval Office.
U.S. President, John F. Kennedy and University of Oklahoma football coach, Charles "Bud" Wilkinson in the Oval Office. | Source

The Camping Trip Begins

with the "Wilkinson's," (no relation to Bud, an American football player, coach, broadcaster, and politician. He served as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1947 to 1963, compiling a record of 145–29–4) heading out at 9 a.m. sharp, Friday morning, July 2, on the road for a week's camping fun and relaxation. I simply cannot say that enough, some good old American R&R.

"Harold Wikinson," with aviator eye shades looking sharp like the Army veteran he is, calls out the checklist to "Mirium" to make absolutely sure that there is absolutely no chance of forgetting any minute or intimate detail that might hamper the "Wilkinson's" having their one week's vacation that this all American family has longed for all year long.

Then it Begins . . .

The Pontiac Visa Cruiser: always the pride of the "Wilkinson's" backbone of traveling near and far, suddenly smells like raw gas. And I don't mean fraudulence. With expert-thinking, "Harold," gets off of the westward interstate highway, Route 66, to get the station wagon checked out. What a relief. It was only a spark plug that is about to burn out, but it's not a major concern. The gas station and mechanic, "Donald," a drop-out from high school because of a mysterious teen pregnancy and some Home Ec female teacher forcing to resign, assures "Harold," that his Visa Cruiser will be just fine as the family gets to a reliable camping ground, but the car needs attention concerning the faulty spark plug.

"Johnny," the "Wilkinson's" son: feels a bit off as he informs his mom, "Mirium," that he feels as if the bacon, roast beef and egg omelet was not cooked to par and thinks that he might have to up-chuck at a roadside rest area. Now are you seeing what is happening? The so-called "perfect" camping trip is starting with little incidents that unless checked, will end with disaster.

Meanwhile, the "Wilkinson's" pretty daughter, "Julie": is having a marvelous trip with not one complaint to be heard from her 12-year-old lips. Way to go, "Julie."

State Troopers: on Route 66, are famous for speed-traps as they were before state legislatures made them illegal, and now the "Wilkinson's" are going to be easy prey for a rookie trooper about to score his first speeding ticket. But "Harold," the older, more experienced leader of the "Wilkinson" band, and an Army vet, talks tough to the rookie trooper and only receives a warning instead of a real ticket. But this family has now racked up three minor incidents that are subtracting time from the family's yearly camping ground which no one has tapped out to yell, this camping trip is NOT perfect.

Only Three Minor Incidents That Have Attacked our Heroes, the "Wilkinson's"? Just you Wait!

"Harold" and "Mirium": are almost speechless as they are totally-focused with the AM radio listening to updated weather reports and other news not looking to check the outside of the Vista Cruiser when suddenly a loud thud gets this husband and wife's attention. "Harold," "Mirium" squeals. "I see a big dead crow or something that is now laying on the highway," she explains. "Just great," "Harold" comforts her and with expert observation of the dead crow or something, tells "Mirium" that the only thing that is broken is the radio antenna that the wayward crow hit beak on and now will not pick up any westward radio stations. What will the "Wilkinson's" do now? Talk? Let us think about this.

The "Wilkinson's": have immediate difficulty re-learning how to talk to each other and this is not a problem, because "Harold" is a mid-1950s bread winner and stays from 9 to 5 at his company, "The Metro Illinois Life Insurance Company," and loves to love his job taking care of suspicious manufacturing fires, so naturally, he talks to his co-workers so much that he is talked out by the time their yearly camping trip rolls around. "Harold" quickly apologizes, "Johnny" and "Julie" both let out sighs of relief and all things are fine with the "Wilkinson's."

Now Just Wait to see What is About to Happen

Only Two Hours: to go before the "Wilkinson's" are about to stop, stretch, and pitch their family-size tent that they bought from the Outdoors and Camping Dept. from Sears, (personally endorsed by Sir Edmund Hilary, the first person to successfully climb Mt. Everest) and get to having barrels of fun, but uh, oh! Looks like that this diesel truck that is directly in front of them are weaving from side to side which can only mean two things: a drunk driver or a sleep-deprived trucker. But it's the first reason that causes the "Wilkinson's" to pull off of the road. The uncaring beer guzzling trucker tosses out an empty beer bottle landing on the windshield of the Pontiac Vista Cruiser. "Harold" takes charge immediately. Not a windshield break that their insurance company cannot install once the "Wilkinson's" return from their week-long camping trip.

The "Wilkinson's" Soon see Other Things go Wrong Underneath This Photo:


Hiking is a great way for camping families to bond with family members.
Hiking is a great way for camping families to bond with family members. | Source
  • "Mirium" forgets to bring an extra five pounds of ground chuck that "Harold" is known for to grill those scrumptious "Wilkinson Burgers."
  • "Julie," now age 14, begins to notice that her attraction to boys is now growing stronger. Now that this is considered something that could cause a camping ground to be imperfect, but it can cause a young girl to be distracted.
  • "Harold" accidentally forgets his fishing license and the elderly, friendly Park Ranger writes him a ticket that stings him for the unholy amount of fifty-bucks.
  • "Mr. Stuart," the owner of "Krazy Kamping World," where the "Wilkinsons" have stayed for the last ten years and toured the same tourist sites including the Grand Canyon, now tells "Harold" that thanks to the inflation causing his fees and supplies about to go higher, now will cost his family over $200.00 a week instead of the almost-free $5.00 a week. Yeah, this so-called perfect camping trip is going past the tape to be dubbed a disaster.
  • "Harold" forgets his Coleman lantern and has to cook his famous "Wilkinson Burgers" in the dark, but adds a spice that he thinks is ground cayenne pepper, but turns out is a half-box of Comet cleanser making the entire family come down with a nasty virus.

Is That The Worst of All of the "Wilkinson's" Woes of Their Yearly Camping Trip? Read on. . .

  • After the "Wilkinsons" managed to get home, "Harold" had to put the Pontiac Vista Cruiser in the shop and that poorly-sparking sparkplug went out from mid-way to their home in the east and all but cost them a new engine, but their bill was bad enough $546.00 for repairs.
  • "Julie" became missing during the yearly camping vacation trip and fell in love with a "Manny Rodriguez," a Mexican immigrant who is working for "Mr. Stuart," and now "Mirium" is worried about "Julie's" time-of-the-month is not coming on time.
  • "Johnny" had to have exploratory surgery thanks to that breakfast omelet a week ago and now the surgeon discovered that that poorly-cooked bacon has caused a rip in "Johnny's" colon and now the family will be out $1,244.00, but thanks to his own insurance company, "Harold" will only have to pay his deductible of $350.00.

Now to you see why there is no such animal as a perfect camping trip?

Good night, Yuma, Arizona.

Sadly, this photo is not of the "Wilkinson's," but another family who has taken the time to check every detail of their yearly camping trip.
Sadly, this photo is not of the "Wilkinson's," but another family who has taken the time to check every detail of their yearly camping trip. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Richard,

      How are things in Denver?

      Just want to thank you for comments you made on my hub, or rather, comment.

      I appreciate your time--and this hub reminds me of those early times in my life when camping WAS troublesome, but the good times outweighed the frustrating things.

      Write soon.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Pinetechseo,

      Yes. You are so right.

      Thanks for coming by.

    • Pinetechseo profile image

      Pinetechseo 6 months ago

      We believe that spending more time outside has its own health benefits like sharper thinking and creativity to simply being happy.

      https://www.campper.com

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 6 months ago from Denver, Colorado

      A nice reality check on camping!