I remember when camping meant a tent, sleeping bags, listening to the raccoons nimbly flip off the top of the metal garbage container and nights where the stars were so dense and the milky way created such a wide swath through the sky that most of the black night is obscured.
That was camping.
For close to six weeks now,we’ve been living in an RV resort with huge rigs like ours, three to four slide-outs so that the mammoth bus can fit on the road while traveling, then expand about 30-40 per cent to somewhere between 400 to 500 square feet. Most rigs are similar to ours with accouterments like gas fireplaces, 2 televisions, queen sized bed, full bathroom, leather couches, complete kitchen for preparation of meals, all done in a very tasteful decor.
Many of the rigs have license plates or signs about ‘goin camping.’ The password to our internet service is ‘gone camping’.
In these central California November days, the days are shortening quickly; therefore by 5 in the afternoon, it’s getting dark, by 6 or thereabouts, we see the campfires begin to appear until a fire can be seen in about 30% of the ‘campsites.’ We see families and friends sitting in their canvas chairs, with jackets, sweatshirts because when the sun sets this ocean air cools quickly. I can imagine what is happening around each of the fires as the flames illuminate the faces of men, women and children engrossed by that primal need to belong to the tribe and the tribal tradition of telling stories, sharing food and drink in an ancient and mostly vestigial ritual of going camping.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’ve watched 5 rigs pull in basically leaving less than two or three spaces here at Pismo Sands RV Resort, only three miles from the beach. The campfires will begin to be lit in a couple of hours and the tales will begin to be told by 21st century men and women drawn to ancient traditions of fire, stories and tribes.