To Camp or not to Camp….there’s really no question!
I camp…just sayin.
Before July 25th, I couldn’t say any of that. Before July 25th…I’d be like “no.” Here’s how that changed:
You’d think that a guy that grew up in Alaska (19 years) of all places would have went camping or fishing or hunting while he was there right? Not this guy. I was busy at the gym or the park. I didn’t miss the great outdoors because I didn’t know them. Ignorance is bliss.
When I went through Havasu City a couple months ago my good friends talked about going to the High Altitude Kampout in Flagstaff, AZ and how much fun it was. I determined then that I was going to go, but I wanted it to be a surprise. I called my buddy Cory and asked if he could help me make this happen. He was super stoked and agreed instantly. He said he’d bring a tent and everything I would need including a hug and a sippy cup if I wanted.
Tucson to Flagstaff is about 5-6 hours in a bug. I have a tendency to goof off at stops and give in to my attraction to distraction so it takes me longer to get where I’m going. I see cool stuff…I think. In any case me and my wife Carole loaded up the car and we headed out bright and early Friday morning. The guys in the Chirco shop gave my car the once over so the valves were adjusted, oilchange, carb sync, and checked all the vitals. It’s nice to have a shop with expert mechanics on hand. I appreciate all they do to keep my car on the road.
The drive from Tucson to Phoenix is one of those trips folks who live here make often. You get desensitized to the amazingness. You find yourself sayin things like “Stupid awe inspiring random rock formation.”, “Dumb old historic civil war site.’, “Lame a_s area that the nationally covered haboobs start in.” So I’ll just skip that part.
When we got to Phoenix is was 93 degrees at 9am! I think their low was 91! It’s a hot place in July that’s all there is to it. Coming out the other side though, you start to climb a little and things get better. None of the hills were challenging for my 1904cc so it was a nice easy cruise.
Coming into Camp Verde we saw some buses on the road finally. Turned out one of them was my good friend Mike Jordan…yeah yeah I know…get it out your system, I’ll wait……anyway he was with a group of Arizona Bus Club buses and we all ended up taking a break at a Camp Verde, AZ gas station. It was cool to chat and make introductions. We were only about 50 miles from Flagstaff so we took off. The next stretch is beautiful! Nice climbs, trees, cool air, just gorgeous. It seemed to go faster than I wanted, but I was so excited to get there!!
I pulled into the camp area and saw photographer Eric Arnold. He waved and took a pic and then I saw my buddy Jim Share!! He’s one hairy mofo these days and he was thrilled to see me. We hugged a good hug and laughed. He’s one of the founding members of The Tucson Bus Mob and we miss him in Tucson bad. We kinda kept hugging which wasn’t odd at all. This is why I was there. Good people. Jim pointed us to our camp area where all my Havasu friends were. Cory kept my secret so everyone was very very surprised. There was more hugging and some jumping up and down and someone threw some panties….ok it was me, but still it was awesome. The VW legend John Howard was there. Art, Bob, Mona, Launa, Denise, Bustoration Ronnie, Josh, Dave, Joe, and so many more, and that was just our camp (…you like that “our” camp??…yeah…I camp). After all the greetings we set up our tent and settled into the fun.
First of all, the Flagstaff KOA was amazing, and Jim and Janyel Share spared no accommodation to all what seemed like 600 of their guests. It was one of the best run shows I have been to. The facilities were very very nice and the people, well what can you say?…outstanding. There were camps everywhere! many folks came up in groups so it was almost regional. I would hang out in the Havasu City camp where I was staying but then get up and go visit “Tucson” often. Many of my Bus Mob buddies were there so it was fun to go and hang out there too. Peoria VW came up with their insane schwag trailer and Keith and his wife Suzanne camped as well. Its always fun hanging out with them. Great dealership btw. Look them up.
One of the things I enjoyed most was just randomly walking into a camp, introducing myself and joining in conversation. Bus people are some of, if not the best people in this hobby. My cheeks hurt from laughing after a while. The entire scene was as hip as it gets. As the night went on there was additional festivities and VW bonding over a brew or two and yeah…even more laughter.
That is pretty much how it went for two solid days!
Here’s my list of observations.
- If it were possible for me to get even closer to my Havasu friends…it happened.
- The showers were so nice I wanted to roll in dirt after I was done so I could take another shower.
- I knew I was really “roughing it” when the pizza guy got there.
- Crying myself to sleep is a normal camping experience.
- Solving the worlds problems with people you truly care for is priceless, and
- Spending a weekend with 600 of your new best friends is about as good as it gets.
I can’t wait to do it again.
Here’s a little vid I made of the event. Enjoy.