Weekend Observational Blatherskite

I learned something this weekend; there are two different types of people who camp. Group A is the weekend/vacation campers, like me, Carl and the kids, and Group B is the seasonal campers. Group B can even be broken down into two subsets: summer seasonal campers and yearlong seasonal campers. Summer seasonal campers are people who park their campers in one spot all summer and come out to their campsite every weekend. Its kind of like having a summer house. Then in the fall, they shut everything down and put their campers into storage, sometimes on the same lot where they park them all summer. For instance, the family that was camping behind us had a HUGE fifth wheel camper. The lady who owns it told me that they bought it, had it set up, and they come out every weekend, but they have to leave the camper there because they have no way to move it. They were driving a minivan, and you need a big pickup truck with a gooseneck hitch to tow a fifth wheel camper of that size. So I guess if they ever need to move it, they’ll have to hire the job out to someone.

Yearlong seasonal campers are people who no longer maintain a permanent residence but live in their campers all year long. For half the year they live in Iowa (April – October) and the other half of the year they live in Texas or Arizona or something. These people own either huge-o mondo fifth wheel campers or full-size “magic bus” RV’s, and they tow their car behind the RV. I find this lifestyle curious: if they don’t have a residence, where do they get their mail? And how do they file their tax returns? These are things I’d like to find out, because Carl and I actually would like to retire as yearlong seasonal campers, but with this twist: we’d like to join up with a group that goes around the country and helps churches build new buildings or helps with building additions. We got this idea several years ago when we went “home” to South Dakota to visit Carl’s family, and a group was there helping Carl’s old home church build on an addition. These were really neat people. They showed up in a caravan of campers and lived in them while they worked on the building. Members of the congregation were also working, but the job foreman was a member of this group. I wish I could remember the group’s name, but oh well. I think that would be a great way to retire. See the country, work with tools, help out other Christians, and build stuff. Yee Haw!

Both types of seasonal campers have several things in common. First, they all own golf carts. Not because they golf, but because the carts are the best way to get from point A to point B without walking, and they can drive the carts around the campground (kinda like Sunday driving) and not use alot of fuel. Second, they all have semi-permanent decks just off the front door. Some of the decks are fairly elaborate, with rails and flag poles, and almost all of them have some sort of lawn decorations and stacks of firewood. Third, the people who own pets invariably own dogs, none of which is any bigger than a cocker spaniel. I saw dachsunds, jack russell terriers, yorkies, teacup poodles, and those Oriental dogs whose names I can pronounce but if I tried to spell it I would be writing cuss words. All these dogs can sit comfortably on the dashboard of any vehicle, and they all make that annoying “yip” style of bark. In our house, we call them “barking cats” or “poochie-pookums”. Judah, of course, refers to such dogs as “appetizers”. I’m kidding. Judah wouldn’t bite another dog, he’d just lick them to death. And I don’t have anything against people who own small dogs. Those little critters can be just as vicious as a big dog, and their little teeth are very sharp and needle-like. Plus, a little dog can cuddle up on your lap, whereas Judah can only lay his head in your lap, and his head takes up your whole lap. But I prefer large dogs. It’s hard to play football with a dog that’s the size of a football.

But I digress. Seasonal campers, or RV-ers (as I think they prefer to be called) are a unique American subculture. They blend the comforts of home with the “rugged” outdoors, and the yearlong RV-ers are the remnants of the pioneers, people who took everything they had and moved from one part of the country to another. I think that’s the appeal of yearlong RV-ing: going someplace you’ve never been before, seeing new sights, meeting new people, and knowing that you don’t have to be back “home” at any particular time because you’re taking your “home” with you. Plus, yearlong RV-ers are usually retired folks, so they don’t have a job that they have to rush back to. They can take their time going wherever they like, and they can stay as long as they like. They can give in to their wanderlust because they’ve already put in their time being responsible, home-owning, career-driven, child-raising grownups. Their home is “on the range”.

Or on the interstate…..

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