Because it’s fun … and I can…

On a somewhat lighter note than yesterday…

Thanks to the divorce-from-hell finally being over, I can now take my munchkins outside the county without written permission from their father – something that rates a difficulty level along the lines of having the Pope declare homosexual marriage a blessed sacrament, sanctified and happily performed by all Roman-Catholic clergy. Hell, that’s probably an easier task.

But I digress (I’m good at that…)


I love camping, my kids love camping, and I’m figuring it’s time for a little weekend trip. I didn’t go before because while there are lots of places within the county to go,
we’ve been to all of them with their dad, and I didn’t think it a good idea to drag them off on our first camping event without the pater familias and go someplace we’d been before – with him.




If you look in the middle there – that’s my little guy with his fist in the air, already an experienced camper and hiker. His big sister is the girl in pink shirt, hiding behind him and their dad… That’s how much they like camping – they’ve been at it since they were in diapers… This was a group of several families – and my munchkins finished a 3.3 mile hike that day.


And so, I was left to wait – and now the wait is over and THE SEARCH begins.


THE SEARCH is the diligent effort to locate a suitable camping spot within, say … a 5-ish hour drive from home.


Suitable” in my eyes includes a lot of things, and does not include some very specific things. Plenty of other things are optional.


It does not include:


~Loads of drunken or stoned people. While fun when it’s all adults…. with kids? No.
~Crowds. If I want crowds, I’ll go to the mall, or DisneyLand.
~RVs of any sort. Ick. I hate trying to cook my breakfast bacon to the tune and aroma of a generator humming along just 5 feet away.
~Large, open, parking-lot-like campgrounds. Usually populated by large, generator toting RVs.


It does include:


~Pretty scenery. I like to wake up, open that tent and think, “WOW! That’s beautiful!”
~Quiet. I want the sounds of nature, not the sounds of buzz saws, cars, etc.
~Activities. No, I don’t mean Campfire Hour with the Ranger. I mean stuff like hiking trails, places nearby where you can rent canoes, that sort of thing. Adults may enjoy days of doing nothing, but active 13 and 10 year olds do not.
~Fire. It’s not a camp without a campfire.


Things I couldn’t care less about:


~Bathrooms. I’ve managed everything from flush toilets in well-lit brick outbuildings to digging holes in the dirt and carting out the paper. No biggy.
~Electricity and running water. Water I can cart in. Electricity usually brings along those who feel the need to blow dry their hair while on a camping trip. Or watch their TV or something. You’re supposed to be “getting away from it all.”


Bottom line – I prefer smaller campgrounds or so-called “primitive” or “wilderness” camping, I don’t care if there are other people or not, so long as there is enough space and peace and quiet for all of us and I really hate, hate, hate camping in industrialized “campgrounds” that more resemble parking lots or mobile home “parks” than a “campground.”


I prefer to stick within the 5-ish hour time line because we’re starting out with a weekend trip and I’d rather not have an entire day of driving.


Where does this leave me?


Well, to the north I’ve got Montana De Oro, I’ve got San Bernardino to the northeast (but no fires there right now), and Joshua Tree, the Colorado River, Anza-Borrego and Cleveland National Forest to the east. To the south, it’s Mexico – nope. Not going there yet.


We’ve already camped just about everything within Cleveland and most everything within Anza-Borrego.


Other factors? Weather and terrain. We’re thinking of going at the end of October or early November – which means in the deserts it will be beautiful days and chilly ass nights, the mountains may include snow and the beaches would be chilly and possibly damp. Not that any of those are bad – just they need to be planned for.


And that’s it… I’m itching to get my butt out of the house, out of the city and back onto a trail. I’m itching to be outside, smelling the campfire and having a good ole time of it. It’s been nearly two years now, and even then, the last trips we were on were group camps, and fraught with the stresses of a marriage gone bad.