The great outdoors indoors

Get a load of Ms. Snooty Patooty. On a typical July 4 weekend, I would have snuggled in a tent, hooked propane to a cook stove and used a package of moist tissues to wipe off top layers of dirt.

I’m really too good for all that. I am a recreational vehicle person.

OK, not exactly. We hang with folks who own RVs. I wonder if that happens as you get older? We used to camp with young friends who thought a new lantern for the season was pretty ritzy. Now our friends have 35-footers with VCRs above the cab.

Chuck and I tagged along in our 1990 pickup with a canopy. Our blow-up mattress still makes a dandy bed. At the RV park, there were no tents allowed. I mean, darling, what would others think, those who spend $500,000 on their rolling beds, if they were subjected to the sight of a tent? Chuck and I parked out of the way and tiptoed to our friend’s sites trying to look like we also spent $400 to fill our gas tank.

There was another la-di-da deal. There were no campfires allowed at our RV park. A member of our party brought along a collapsible metal outdoor fireplace so we used that nice loophole. It was pretty hard to stick a marshmallow through the grid but you could take the lid off. I prefer my marshmallows cold from the sack anyway.

Opening the refrigerator in an RV isn’t like fishing through melted ice in a red Igloo chest. Something was wrong with that picture. Kitchens had adorable, latched little cupboards. Counters were lined with coffee makers and microwaves.

One hostess served homemade vegetarian pizza hors d’oeuvres. She made pasta salad and a hot mashed-potato casserole in the oven. Men went boating and brought home 23 Dungeness crabs. We has a feast Saturday night.

The first time I camped with my now-best friends, they only knew my husband. I grudgingly agreed to go to Squire Creek County Park near Darrington to meet them, but insisted on setting up my own spot. We parked across the driveway from the other campers, and Chuck and I got out our disposable barbecue and hot dogs.

Across the way, the new folks mixed potatoes, vegetables, onions and slabs of beef in foil. Packages sizzled on an open fire and smelled heavenly. After our meager meal, I agreed to drag my lawn chair to their site.

Three games of cards later we were old buds. We’re still camping together.

Now we have mutual friends who head outdoors in metal movers with bathrooms. Loos had decorative soap and little embroidered towels. I remember Girl Scout camping where the restroom was any old log off the beaten path.

I felt wistful as I flushed.

Did I mention you could take a shower in their RVs?

It rained a little Saturday. They simply unwound awnings from the side of their behemoth beasts. We didn’t get wet sitting at living room tables with cocktail napkins under beverages. At a regular campground, we strung a tarp from a tree over a picnic table, and it would usually cave in. You would use a stick to push up the middle where the water accumulated. Kids screamed to see which way pools from the blue roof spilled over.

One year at Flowing Lake County Park east of Snohomish, our merry little band pitched three tents before a Friday night downpour. Soggy sleeping bags became heavy lumps as water rolled through canvas like a North Dakota flood.

We contemplated heading to town to a Laundromat but opted to break camp. Last weekend, if anyone had gotten a teensy damp, we could have propped feet on the RV couch and played Scattergories under electric lights.

One time camping in Darrington, it was so hot when we went to town for a softball tournament, we wet T-shirts in the river and draped them over our heads.

RVs have air-conditioning units on their roofs.

One thing peculiar at the RV park was that when we went for frequent walks, we rarely saw anyone. I assumed folks were inside units watching CNN because most had minisatellite dishes in their tiny yards. Several had Lexuses parked nearby for trips to town. At a tent campground, you would have seen your neighbors stocking fires, grilling bacon or hanging wet clothes on lines.

We can’t afford an RV so there isn’t any point deciding if it’s the life for us. But it’s great having friends who let us tag along. There was another benefit to sleeping in our truck. When we broke camp, we didn’t have to unhook sewer lines or vacuum.

I felt kind of snooty just driving away.

Kristi’s Notebook appears Tuesdays and Fridays. If you have an idea for her, call 425-339-3451 or send information to


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