Camping like an American
January 1, 1970
by Sofia Gomes Coelho
Camping like an American
Summer 2015, more especially July 9th I was the US more specifically in Las Vegas to visit my best friend (who I actually meet in Paris in 2014 – but that’s another story to write). We just had arrived from our little trip to California when her family decided to go camping at Puffer Lake, Utah for three days. The moment I found out that we were going camping I started to picture all of those cliches from the movies in my head and got more excited than ever.
It was Friday morning and we were all getting read to get on the road. Counting all of us we’re in 11 plus the people that meet us in the mountains. We had a camper three cars a quad two dirty bikes and three dogs.
After a couple of hours we finally left, it was going to be a 4 – 5 hours drive from Las Vegas to Puffer Lake. I remember, that day was insanely hot, so hot that right after we got into the freeway the tires from one of our cars exploded! It was that moment I knew it was going to be a truly American adventure. We went to a city nearby to get new tires afterwards we went back to road to Utah, as the time passed I could feel the temperature dropping nicely (fact that got me scared because I didn’t have any “winter” clothes – so if you’re going on a road trip in America I suggest you to be prepared) besides the weather the view was amazing, at least for me not used to Rocky Mountains. By the time we arrived it was already nighttime and not even kidding we went from 35ºC to 15ºC real quick!
So imagine a city girl who had never tried to set up a tent doing it in the freezing pitch black, that was me. After a while trying to set up we finally did it! The first night we we’re there, my friend’s dad set up a bonfire and her mom cooked us dinner. We were just sitting there talking laughing drinking for hours and seriously that feeling of sitting outside by the bonfire with the stars above your head was just priceless… It was time to go to bed (I’d say that we we’re a little bit tipsy) we went back to our tent in the freezing cold, it was so cold I had to sleep with two layers of clothes plus the blankets and the sleeping bag, but before that I realized that we were not sharing for three days (three days without shower was something extremely hardcore) so I decided to put baby powder in my hair the thing is I didn’t even realized until the next morning how much baby powder I had put in my hair so when I woke up the next morning I was ALL covered in white stuff of course everyone made fun of me. We woke up with the wind blowing our tent and I could swear that it was going to fall of but fortunately it didn’t. Throughout the day my friend’s dad took me and my Italian friend to drive for the first time a stick car, I would say we did very good afterwards we took this little quad type of car and drove around the mountains (the view was incredible so as the day). They decided to do a group ride, so some of us took the dirty bikes, the quad, this weird car in the picture, the truck and some other toys (like they like call it) and it was so much fun. When we came back the sun was starting to set and the cold weather was taking place, once more we were all together around the bonfire and for the first time in my life I got to eat the truly American s’mores and not just one but a bunch of them until I could not eat anything else (that moment made me fulfill my dream of camping as an American). As we sat there another beautiful night was starting to show up so we gathered our cups of hot wine, turned up the music and danced all night long (or maybe just until three!)
The next morning I woke up really early and we out for a walk, it was a bit cold but sunny and I was just think that it couldn’t get any prettier or better but then we all went on a hour and half hike to the top of the mountain and what I thought it couldn’t get any prettier it did – that view was priceless, the cold fresh air going through my lungs and the peace that place gave me was worth every single step it took me to get there. My friend’s dad (who’s a little bit crazy in a good way) went up the mountain on his dirty bike returning he took each one of us on a ride (I suggest you people, if you like adrenalin, go as passenger on a dirty bike). Sadly, it was our last night there, but of course we wouldn’t let it be just a regular night so we set up the bonfire again, ate dinner and started to tell scary stories…. Suddenly someone decided that it was time for a night ride with the toys! Oh man, there was literally no lights out here but who did really care about it (me!) I went on the car with my friend’s sister, I got my seatbelt fasten my helmet on and my heart in hand! We were going so fast that I couldn’t feel my nose because of the wind but for sure it was a great injection of adrenaline in my body.
The next day we were getting ready to go back to Vegas which means: eat all the food that was left and pack! On the way back we stopped in Beaver, Utah to buy this (according to my friend’s dad) amazingly noisy cheese ball, that you have to place it in the back of your teeth while you eating so it makes noise (it makes no sense, I know) but in fact it was really good though just a little bit annoying I mean it must be the whole point of it! We were all so tired we slept the whole way back and just when we were five minutes away from the house one of the cars ran out of gas in the middle of the street, we all had to stop and wait for my friend’s dad get a gallon of gas to put in car. After that embarrassing but funny situation we finally got home. We ordered 5kg of super spicy shrimp and some other stuff, when I say super spicy I mean it, while everyone was eating our eyes were crying we were sweating and red but we couldn’t stop eating it because it was just so good! Afterwards we finally got to shower and sleep on a proper bed. In the end, all of the moments and experiences made me check “camping like an American” of my bucket list.