What if the World’s Leaders Met Around a Campfire?
If they could meet around a campfire, perhaps pass a peace pipe, strum a guitar, sing a few lines of Kumbaya, do you think we might have a different world?
For us, one of the best parts of RVing is spending time talking to people we might never connect with otherwise. We spent Memorial Day long weekend just that way. Camped on the shore of Grant Lake with only a couple of other campers, we waited out the busyness of the highway traffic together.
As is common even in boondocking settings, after exchanging a few pleasantries, we agreed on a common campfire – a good way to stretch the firewood. It was fun enough that we repeated it 3 evenings in a row!
As campfires go, these had all the components. Music, laughter, and conversation that moved from camping and other adventures to war, guns, and politics. You would be right to assume that we didn’t agree on everything. But we disagreed politely, listened to each others’ points of view, and thought about it before we offered ours.
In essence, we were free to walk away at any time. But why? When respecting differences meant we could continue the conversation and maybe each come away with a better understanding of why we had them.
And then there were my favorite moments each night. These happen around any campfire – you know the ones – when no one speaks. Everyone sits and looks into the flames in silence for a while. These silences are never awkward around a fire. Just being together is enough.
When the weekend was over, we exchanged hugs as we said goodbyes. Sincere ones. We had bonded. With every intention of meeting up again. We took photos to remember each other, too, but I’m purposely not posting names or faces. It’s not necessary.
I can offer a shot of our campers on the shore. Our trusty Roadtrek is on the left. The center camper is actually an old army truck. The white truck goes with the tent trailer on the right.
The tent camper belongs to a single 49-year-old local Californian, retired from the army on an early pension. He told us this was pretty much his life now – moving around to fish. He had served several stints overseas but not on the front lines. He didn’t talk much about it unless asked but some of the answers to our questions surprised us.
The couple in the army truck were from Nevada and, except for buying this truck, they had no military ties at all. They planned to convert the truck into an RV. Definitely a high-clearance one that will be able to handle any terrain! This and other retirement dreams were still on hold. Mostly due to the 2008 economic downturn.
Our fisherman friend was having no luck, not even a bite. Still he promised us a fish dinner. Three days we watched as he spent the entire day on the lake…
and low and behold. Our dinner was …..
Enough Socializing, Let’s Explore the Area
Grant Lake is very near Mono Lake and Randy and I spent an afternoon wandering around the tufas.
Another First for me: Altitude Sickness
The next day we hiked a 4-mile trail to Parker Lake, a pristine Mountain Lake. (I actually experienced a moment of altitude sickness on this trail. A first for me.)
Not-so-hot Hot Springs
After the weekend, we moved a few miles north to camp in the forest near Buckeye Creek.
But buckeye creek was still running too fast. There’s so much snow melting from the Sierras – the most in 6 years. The riverside hot springs pools were flooding with snow melt and much too cold to enjoy.
But the temperature at this smaller pool overlooking the creek was just right.
Lake Tahoe – Already Too Busy
Finally, we made our way up to Lake Tahoe. Although it’s early in the season and mid-week, the lake was already far too busy for our liking.
We were lucky to find a parking spot at Inspiration Point. If you are in a larger RV, you don’t stand a chance.
Peeking into the Homes of the Rich
We did enjoy a few hours at Talac Historic Site, one of the few free offerings on the entire lake. There’s no admission fee for walking the grounds, although you can book various tours. But you can see so much on a walk. Three mansions plus all the guest cottages that belonged to these three families. Each furnished in the style of the time.
The well-to-do were basically the only ones who came up to the lake in the 1920s. These summer-homes became less appealing to them when the roads were built and the “common people” started to build here too.
We made many other stops and enjoyed the scenery on the drive, but not the traffic. We actually drove the entire loop around the lake in one day. Too fast really. Probably we’re just spoiled and have no patience for the traffic, crowds, and expensive campsites and parking rates.
With some of the campgrounds still closed, even finding a campsite was a challenge. Although we had planned on camping here, in the end, we didn’t even try.
It seems a shame to end this glorious month we’ve had, following Hwy 395 at our own leisurely pace, with a less-than-perfect day at Lake Tahoe. But it is what it is.
Maybe if Lake Tahoe was not so beautiful, it wouldn’t be so busy.
Maybe if Memorial Day was not such a big holiday, driving on that weekend would be tolerable.
Maybe by sitting around a campfire with strangers, we can learn new ways to just “be together”. Peacefully.
Days on the road at time of posting: 83
Total camping costs to date: $62