There’s nothing quite like the first camping trip of the year. The memories to be made, adventures to be had, and rashes to be soothed that all lie ahead. Dizzy with that first trip anticipation I realize how out of practice I am as I reach for my roll aboard suitcase. What am I thinking!? There’s no place for a roll aboard on a camping trip! Coming to my senses I toss the suitcase back under the stairs and head to the garage. There it is! On the dusty top shelf of the rickety rack in the back of the garage. My hiking backpack! Just where I left it last September after our cross country road/camping trip – also known as the “great itch of 2017.” That trip has already begun to fade from reality and into family legend. Thankfully, so has that pesky rash – lesson learned, beware truck stop shower floors. Ah, but all’s well that ends well. First item on the list – my Adidas shower slides, the perfect shower shoe (despite what so many soccer players try and tell you – these suckers shouldn’t leave the locker room).
The hiking backpack shows its age but does so gracefully. Like Christie Brinkley, sure she’s an AARP member now but if she asked you today, “well, are you going to go for it?” you’d dive head first into the pool just like Clark Griswald. I notice that unlike Christie Brinkley there’s a little mold growing on the pack. Oh, that’s right! It was raining on our last camping trip. Seeing the mold, new mold, on the duffel bag brings it all back. Wow, that was a soggy few days in nature. I must have tossed the wet bag directly from the car and onto the shelf after dumping out the cold damp clothes in the living room after we got home. Well, this year will be different. I will be sure to clean and fully dry my hiking pack once we’re back from this year’s first adventure. Heck, it probably won’t rain anyway.
Boy, this really is an amazing pack, it’s got a compartment for my clothes and a completely separate one for my flip flops. This pack will easily hold two pair of flops. So with the Adidas shower slides already ticketed I need to choose my primary pair of flip flops very carefully. This is much easier said than done. Not every flip flop decision is as cut and dry as those shower slides.
Which flip flops to pack? Hmmm….? In my 20’s this was an easy choice. The Teva’s. It was easy for a couple of reasons. First, it was my only pair of flip flops. In fact, it was one of only two pair of shoes I owned. The other being my “active/work” shoes. Secondly, I was young and tent camping. It was the late 1990’s early 2000’s and the forests of the beautiful Pacific North West were just thick with Teva’s. Easy.
But now it’s a different story. Twenty years later I’m married with two kids. I’m…a Dad. What’s more, we won’t be tent camping. Nope. For reasons that I don’t yet fully understand I now own a twenty-two foot 1988 Winnebago Class A motorhome. This is what we “camp” in now.
Vintage is a word that has been repurposed to express what was once described as old, creepy, or tacky. Our 1988 Winnebago is 100% vintage – or so we hope. It is a time machine of sorts. Once inside you are very much in 1988; surrounded by beige walls with tasteful wallpaper and real solid oak cupboards and countertops. It’s like the DeLorean from Back to the Future but less posh. Herein lies the challenge of which flip flops to pack. The Teva’s are right out. I’m not in my 20’s anymore after all. I bought a pair of Havaianas last summer to keep in the motorhome as house slippers and considered using these as my everyday camping footwear. But that was before I learned that Havaianas really only belong on the Las Vegas strip or in strip clubs. Me in those pulling up in my “vintage” motorhome would attract all the wrong attention. More trailer park than a fun family camping trip. There are some places that you just don’t want to “belong” and me in my 1988 Winnebago at an RV campground tromping around in a pair of Havaianas is one of those places. It’s the not so subtle difference between visiting a strip club and working in one. The Havaianas are out lest I’m mistaken for “kin” Deliverance style. My Olukais are a little pretentious for this scene and the Hunters would get me beaten up. Either for being too “fancy” or because Cletus “don’t get it”; or both.
That leaves just one perfect and now perfectly obvious choice. The Chaco Waypoint Cloud flip flops in maze red. Yes, these flip flops convey it perfectly. “This is a vintage motorhome, not my primary residence. We’re here for good old fashioned family camping trip.” They are comfortable and durable enough to traverse the trails, rivers and streams of this amazing place.
Update: Day 1
It’s raining but that’s no problem for my Chocos. They were completely game for our family hike through the forest on the rain soaked path along the near flood-stage river. The only thing that stopped us were the signs warning of many recent bear sightings in the area. The Chocos are so solid that I’ll bet they’d be fine in a bear encounter, but I’m not sure today’s the day for that test.
Update: Day 2
Still raining. Campground thankfully has clean showers for campers. The Choco’s were the perfect flip flop on the trek from our vintage RV to the shower room – soap, towel, & Adidas shower flip flops in hand. The Choco’s made it obvious that I was there for a good old fashioned family camping trip and not between shifts at the Randy Unicorn. Once inside the locker room type shower/bathroom place I switched into the Adidas for a quick shower. They did their job by bravely protecting me from the shower room floor. This will be an itch free trip.
Update: Day 3 & 4
Still raining. Choco’s don’t seem to mind. Wish I could say the same for myself…
Update: Day 5
Home now. Rained entire trip. The tag-team of Choco’s and Adidas flipflops was the perfect choice. Everything is soggy but I’m itch free. There’s a pile of wet clothes in the middle of the living room and my hiking pack is back on the dusty shelf in the garage ready for the next trip. Hopefully we’ll all dry out by then.
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