June Campout

Late June 2008

A New Journey cannot begin until the previous journey ends. My journey ended when my love and companion of more than fifty-years left us for a better place.


On the Road Again: Driving up I-17 this Wednesday the coach seems strange with no one in the navigator's seat. It has been three years since embarking on a long trip like this one. In previous summers we would leave in early May and return at the end of September. Our travels often included California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and B.C., Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and back to the Valley of the Sun.
       I recall some of our trips to Baja, Mexico in past years. These evoke a number of good memories.

It is late in the summer for me to be leaving for the season. From this weekend's campout I will head for Lake Mary near Flagstaff, at least until the end of July, Then... I don't know. Perhaps on to Colorado, maybe somewhere on the Delores River or the beautiful lake above the town of Delores. Then move on to a favorite area near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. With the lateness of the season, I may not get that far.


This Friday morning in late June I stand on the edge of the Mogollon Rim under the tall pine trees, cup of coffee in hand, gazing out over the wide valley below. A couple of thousand feet below and nearly twenty-miles away is a small white spot in the forest; this is the town of Pine, Arizona. The buildings are like large dots among the trees. Sort of like standing 30 feet away from an HO gauge railway toy town.

Beyond this valley are tall ridges and peaks marching away to the horizon, probably fifty-miles away. The air is clear and crisp and in the low sixties, a lot different then the one hundred-fifteen degree temperatures I left in Phoenix.

On Wednesday, I pulled into this spot on the Mogollon Rim. Without precise directions I would never have found it. It is off of Arizona Route 87, about 25 or so miles North of Payson and a dozen or so miles south of Happy Jack. Then over five miles in "slow" gear over forest roads that no longer even have a number or show on the map.

This beautiful clearing gives us a great view from the edge of the Rim. Flat ground is at a premium. When I arrived on Wednesday there were three other motor homes and one travel trailer. My jacks lifted the front wheels off the ground to level the coach. Only one or two more units showed up on Thursday.

More rigs began to arrive today, Friday, for the weekend. Motor homes, travel trailers, tent trailers and tents. All bringing some of the friendliest people to be found anywhere. Many applauded when the j-john was delivered. I am looking forward to the weekend.

By Saturday we have nearly 30 people at this campout. The youngest is a 3-year-old boy. The oldest, I won't guess... Mostly couples, some singles who mostly camp in tents or in the back of their SUVs or pickups.

The weather has cooperated with no rain. We have had a good time with a potluck on Saturday evening. The stars are so bright!

Sunday at mid-morning I am talking to four or six people, standing near the middle of our camp on the Mogollon Rim. A number of people have already pulled out, heading home. A woman I will call Jodie came through, making the rounds saying goodbye to everyone. She motioned me to accompany her to her camp.

Her car was parked at the very edge of the clearing, a few feet into the trees. I noticed her tent was already down and packed away. On the other side of the car was her little reading place where she could take the sun and nap. She picked up the pillow and tossed it into the car. I helped her fold the blanket. We shook out the ground tarp, folded it and she put it away.

How to describe her? She is about 5'6" and about 135 lbs., brown hair, and a pleasant face with wide set intelligent eyes. She is lightly tanned with no strap marks. Her age? Early-forties? Perhaps older, maybe younger? What man has the audacity to publicly determine a woman's age? Not I. She told me she has worked at a university for some years.

She said she should have been on the road an hour ago heading back to the Valley. We talked for a few minutes more... She said she has a lot on her plate just now and is glad of our conversations. She feels much better about herself then she has in a long time. She was impressed with my "New Journey" and has again started her journal. I told her I too have gained from our time together.

She moved a step backward to her car, reached in and still facing me picked up her panties and pulled them on in one smooth motion. She pulled on her tan shorts in the same way. Then her top. This is the first time I have seen her in clothes. How does she look? Perhaps a little more mature, a little more of a commanding presence, not as vulnerable? No, not really. You might imagine this, but she is the same intelligent woman, with or without clothes.

Another hug from her, then she slid into her driver's seat. I walked to the rear of the car and guided her past some obstacles as she backed to the forest road. Once on the road, she stopped. As the car started moving forward she waved to me.

She drove slowly down the track on her five-mile trip to the highway and home.

Will we ever meet again? Maybe, perhaps at another campsite some time in the future?

Friends invited me to camp with this club. The club is family oriented. Behavior is the same as anywhere else; it is just that clothing is optional.

Visitors who chose not to shed their clothes are treated like everyone else, with no comments or special notice directed to them. Before the first day is over many have discarded most of their clothing. The next morning many are nude.

Children raised in this type of environment seem to be much better adjusted, with no need to try and imagine what is or isn't under the clothing worn by the other sex.

So if you are on a back road in the National Forest and encounter a sign, "Nudity may be encountered ahead" you know what to expect. Such a sign keeps the Forest Service happy.