|Abandoned house near Dixie and the Piankatank River|
Recently I reposted the first chapter in a series I wrote back in 2008 about my family's 1977 cross country camping trip. Two adults, three kids, five large attitudes and zero entertainment were trapped together for one whole month traveling from Mathews County to San Francisco. And back.
To those who have read this before, my apologies. To those who have not read this before, my apologies to you as well.
As I mentioned, the entire Chesapeake Bay family was jam-packed into a VW bus pulling a Coleman pop-up camper across country from Virginia to California and back for our family "vacation." One of our stops was the Grand Canyon.
The Chesapeake Bay Griswolds pulled up into the parking lot of the Grand Canyon. OK, not the parking lot but a parking lot, evidently a parking lot made specifically for motor homes and campers, because there were many of them nearby.
Chesapeake Bay Mother and Father had been eyeballing various RVs and motor homes all the way across the country. We were camping novices who had grown tired of putting up and taking down that pop-up camper with the canvas roof that had no heating such that when it was 30 degrees in the Rocky Mountains in the dead of August Chesapeake Bay Pre-Teen had to wrap herself in a VINYL TABLECLOTH to get warm enough to actually fall asleep.
But that is part of a story from a future chapter in this series, one which also involves three children being sent into the dark wilderness of Yellowstone to fetch firewood only to nearly kill themselves racing back towards camp in pitch black darkness, screaming the whole way, after hearing the mournful howls of ravenous wolves salivating at the prospect of a leisurely supper of Lost Kids Looking for Firewood. In Yellowstone. At night.
Anyway, Chesapeake Bay Parents were always pointing out various campers, and there happened to be a particularly nice one parked next to us in the Grand Canyon parking lot. Chesapeake Bay Mother decided she ought to get closer for a better look. After sizing up the outside, she cupped her hands over the sides of her eyes and pressed her face against the back window.
Now why did she do that?
The next thing we know Chesapeake Bay Mother jumps backwards and screams. She quickly runs away from the camper and tells us to get to steppin'--now.
It seems that although the camper was parked in the Grand Canyon parking lot, it was not vacant as CB Mother assumed. One male inhabitant was still inside and he not only had no clothes on, he was standing naked right near where Chesapeake Bay Mother
The moral of the story is this: The Grand Canyon is something everyone must see, but the inside of some stranger's camper is not. The other moral of the story is if you are going to prance around naked in your camper, don't do it when the Chesapeake Bay Family is around. We know no boundaries, especially when we've been trapped in a car together for weeks and are thousands of miles from home.
It won't surprise me one bit if Chesapeake Bay Mother's recollection of this story is slightly different. We each have our own version of every aspect of this infamous trip. For example, Middle Sister thinks the Grand Canyon is where we left her, but that happened at a rest stop in Nevada. Baby Sister conveniently doesn't remember any of this, because she was sick the whole trip. (As a result, she probably was given any spare blankets that one Arctic night that I had to sleep wrapped up in a tablecloth for warmth. Now it's all starting to make sense...)