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Backpacker Magazine – January/February 2010

Reader Essays: If Clark Griswold Went Camping ...

The trip would start like this, imagines Wayne Wright.

by: Wayne Wright


BACKPACKER 2010 Reader Essay Contest
Read all the winning essays.
First of all, cargo capacity. I mean, we’ve got the sleeping bags, ice chests, tents, and floaty toys. We need a rig with nine seat belts, cargo capacity, and a roof rack. No prob, ’86 Suburban, non-fuel-injected. That’s right, five maybe six miles to the gallon, up or downhill. Not the prettiest thing in the world, no $2,200 DVD/sound system—eight-track works darn well, though. Kid organization. Who’s coming? Which friends?

Four different age groups with four different sets of needs.
Packing. For warm days, cold nights. Lawn chairs. Bikes. Flashlights, cookstoves, tents, lanterns, and cooking utensils. Three different coolers: one big one for food, one bigger one for beer, and one medium-size for juice packs and pop. Swimming and fishing gear? Bring it all. 
Seating arrangements. How far can I reach back to smack when passing a Walmart truck at 75 mph on Fourth of July pass? OK, no problem so far. Stuffing things scientifically so every square inch of cargo capacity is utilized to the fullest. Wait, did we bring enough beer? 
We’re packed, seven kids are loaded, rig’s filled up. Who has to pee? We are not stopping; repeat not stopping.

Cruising now, going 65 on I-90 East. Randy calls AJ a dork, which results in Randy getting smacked upside the head with AJ’s Burger King flashlight, which results in him splashing part of his Mountain Dew on Joe, who thought it was Niki but errantly hit Becca with his GI Joe Hummer (with the .50-cal AA attachment), thus making her flip her licorice on Jake, who was minding his own business this time just talking to Dennis about the new Linkin Park CD, which apparently isn’t as heavy as their old stuff.

My wife was too busy waving at truckers to notice. 
Where’s that soundproofing technology? Can’t Bose come up with a cone of silence for the back? One that doubles as a pee receptacle???? I’d pay 2,200 bucks for that!!! 



Wright lives in Spokane, WA. Favorite hike: Anywhere in Glacier. 



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Paul
Mar 05, 2010

We've all been there, with or without kids

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