Vacation is officially marked on the calendar for 2010. I have turned in all the appropriate forms for the new job. It is official. A group of bike/ outdoor/ fire pit enthusiasts are gathering in Brevard, North Carolina mid-May for a long weekend of biking, hiking, and cardboard burning. A congenial meeting which assigned all of us with various tasks yielded the understanding that sometime between the ages of 22 and 33, I have become a full fledged yuppie.
In my early 20’s, I owned a dilapidated Volvo wagon with double digit rust spots. It did NOT have a CD player…but it had a rad tape deck. The leather seats were cracked in such a pattern that after hours of sitting, your legs look like they had been grilled and in the hot summer sun, they may actually make a sizzling sound. The air conditioner sometimes worked, other times it blew out musty warm air from vents that smelled of wet creek bed. Otherwise the crank down windows were always available to send a breeze your way. A vacation during this time consisted of the following tasks:
1. Place a twin size mattress in the rear of the car. By folding down the rear seat and gently modifying a twin mattress, I basically drove a hotel on wheels complete with a 360 degree view. The cost of the hotel was around whatever gas was for the day….$1.02/ gallon.
2. Load the floor of the car with salt/ sugar infused foods. Standards on long road trips included: Doritos, Triscuits, Chocolate covered donuts, Double Stuffed Oreo’s, 2-3 jars of peanut butter, cheap wheat bread, and a 5lb bag of trail mix from Sam’s Club (you have to have at least ONE healthy thing).
3. Map out the route. No external communication devices were to be had. There were NO CELL phones on trips…no GPS…no I-Phones for back-up entertainment. I had to sit down the night before, map out a route and places to stop to call and check in with the homestead.
4. Pack one bag. One bag rule. If two people were traveling in a car with a mattress and 10lbs of oreo’s under the rear seat, then clothing and toiletries were limited to ONE bag, usually an LL-Bean backpack with my initials on it leftover from grade school (no joke….this thing lasted through the second year of college).
5. Destination optional. Sometimes there was no real destination. Sometimes the drive just resulted in park sleeping and roadside visits. Other times, the evenings ended with Phish shows or Indie Rock Festivals still holding onto grunge.
Well, things have changed….it is official. I am a yuppie. I am a peace loving, travel craving, expensive hobby enthusiast…YUPPIE…
Results of Sunday night planning meeting/ dinner:
1. The newer Volvo with polished leather seats, dual climate controlled air conditioning and CD player will be loaded with bikes. It will be covered with road and mountain bikes. Forget the modified mattress, bikes come first. Bikes will be polished and loaded appropriately for the car, of course.
2. Reservations made at a B&B. Forget camping or sleeping in the back of the car swatting off night creatures…instead, we will be stopping halfway in Knoxville, Tennessee for a night of pampering with Egyptian cotton sheets, home cooked breakfast and a deep soaking tub.
3. Don’t forget the coffee grinder and traveling coffee bar. One thing that came out of this meeting…MOST PEOPLE LOVE THEIR COFFEE…and we are far too refined and adult to drink Maxwell House. Instead, I am to bring my grinder so that every morning the first sound we hear atop the mountain are fresh oily beans being ground for the most perfect cup of roasted java. Also in tow will be organic sugar, organic half and half, and biodegradable stir sticks. I may throw in some cinnamon and nutmeg to compliment the perfect cup of coffee.
4. We don’t need no stinking maps! Forget maps, within minutes of the email with the physical address arriving in our in-boxes on Monday, I plotted the route in the I-phone complete with turn by turn directions and satellite mapping. Honestly, if we get lost it is because we are illiterate and we deserve to get lost.
5. We need more luggage. Not only do we have to pack enough bike clothes for the weekend…shorts, bibs, jerseys, socks, etc…we have to pack clothing to hike, have dinner in, and of course, more casual “walk downtown like a tourist” clothing. If something is truly soiled, then our full size washer and dryer can handle it and even steam out the wrinkles if necessary. Asides from this, there are also a host of hair care products and skin care that MUST make the trip.
6. The food….Oreo’s are good…but we devised a menu complete with waffles, chicken parmesan, and a full American breakfast. There will be no fast food run thru’s here. No, instead, we will use the newly remodeled gourmet kitchen to crank out delicious food. A large industrial sized pan of Espresso brownies and host of other desserts will replace the multiple boxes of Little Debbie cakes of yesteryear.
Am I ashamed? Do I feel I have sold out? No…my needs have changed. Some may use the word…”evolved”…I need comfort when I travel. I have worked hard and deserve not to have to spend my free vacation time worrying about running out of gas or replacing a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. I like hot showers, clean clothes, good food, and a car with air conditioning. If these things make me a yuppie, so be it…I have been called worse.