These days, Gary goes glamping

Okay, I am on another adventure with the in-laws camping at Maroon Bells in Colorado. We call it camping, but it is nothing close to how I used to camp.

Apparently what I do now is called glamping and I’m not even sure if it’s legal in Utah.

Since this COVID thing hit and people have been locked up for months, RV sales and rentals have skyrocketed. RVshare reported a 1,000 percent increase in nationwide bookings.

The camping industry is anticipating 46 million Americans will take an RV trip in the next year. Dyrt, the equivalent of Yelp, lists 44,000 public and private campsites, has 500,000 reviews of those camp sites, has raised $7 million as a startup, and now has 30 employees.

I bought my camper on April 9, 2020. Since then I have slept in it 31 nights; camped in seven western states; and been to Comb Wash, Capital Reef, Goblin Valley, Great Basin NP, Lake Tahoe, Flaming Gorge, Mancos State Park, Maroon Bells, Silverton, and Jackson Hole just to name some of them.

I’m sure I’ve seen at least 45 of the 46 million people who were supposed to camp this year.

But, my camping has gone to glamping because life happens and things I used to easily do now seem harder and slower, and frankly, I need assistance and creature comforts that I used to scoff at with complete disdain. Let me give you some examples.

I used to be happy when it snowed. I would take my trusty shovel and clear my driveway and maybe my neighbor’s too.

As I got older the snow seemed deeper, and somewhere along the line I decided I needed a snowblower. Eventually the neighbor fell off my list and I was put on the old people list. Now I use a tractor to clean the same driveway.

But if it’s a big snow I am completely content to wait a week before going to the mail, in hopes that it melts or Bubba comes by and digs me out.

When I was a poor college student, I bought a hibachi and couldn’t wait to get it home and try it out. It was awesome. If I used an entire bottle of lighter fluid I could roast one wiener at a time.

After some time, I decided it was just easier to marinate the wiener in lighter fluid.

As I got older and had more mouths to feed, I bought my first outdoor grill with a real propane bottle. I was never so happy.

Oh sure, the neighbors were usually nervous about my grilling skill and conveniently had a water hose at the ready.

Finally, I got old enough to have hair growing out of my ears, which my too-kind and-loving wife insists is poor personal hygiene. So she routinely sneaks up behind me and plucks them.

But, being that old, I wanted a grill big enough to be mounted on a flatbed trailer like Terrill has.

Okay, I am ashamed to admit it. I had grill envy. I succumbed and bought a huge smoker that basically lets you put in an entire cow at one end and out comes baby back ribs, burgers, and wieners on the other end. The propane bottle is delivered with a truck.

Well, as I got older, somewhere along the way I went from camping to glamping. When I was younger, Turbo and I used to backpack 10 miles, sleep on the ground, eat a bologna sandwich and jerky, and I could go from laying on the ground to standing like a gymnast dismounting the beam without making old man noises.

But time passes. Turbo went camping in doggy-heaven and I awoke with a few more aches and pains. So I put a camper shell on my truck, which made it possible to have a mattress and fall off the tailgate into a standing position without any old man noises or bad words.

Then I boiled water in a single pan and added dried food that had the texture and taste of something you might scrape off the floor near the food bar.

Later, I bought a pop-up camper so I could add a stove and sink. Now I have a camper that has a toilet, air conditioner, heater, stove, and pop outs and I have to take a generator with me.

Really? And you call this camping? What the heck happened? I live in a cave and can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. I eat raw meat. I taught Jerimiah Johnson how to be a mountain man, and now I have to ask the campground host which campsite has water, electricity, and sewer hookups?

Yep. The times are a-changin’. I expect soon I will just put virtual glasses on and pretend I went camping all from the comfort of my big overstuffed chair.

I don’t know if I will take my in-laws on my virtual camping experience as their mere presence inhibits my ability to swear, smoke cigars, drink beer, and play cards for money.

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