Biff America: Date night on The Love Boat
Special to the Daily
You totally creeped out that little girl.”
Of course, I thought my mate was off base with her assessment. I consider myself one of the least creepy people I know. I don’t hug, flirt or stare, and I no longer wear welding goggles and a kilt in the sauna.
In my defense I countered, “I didn’t creep her out; she thought I was funny.”
“Honey-Bun, she was an innocent moron teenager and you are an old, unwashed, unshaven dude, and she thought you were talking to her about sex.”
I can read the minds of many of you reading this now. You’re thinking, “I always knew he was creepy.” So, please, let me explain.
It was date night in the “love boat.” The love boat is what we call our small RV. And date night is our expression for finding a place to camp early in the day, preferably one that has nearby drinking water, so we can take a shower and relax.
We had been traveling for about six weeks. Four days earlier we left the West Coast and were heading through Utah back to Colorado. The 18-hour drive took us a few days because we would stop daily to take a two- or three-hour bicycle ride and maybe a hike. We seldom drive more than four or five hours a day.
A major concern when we travel during the cold months of autumn is to find a place where we can fill our camper’s drinking water tank. If we conserve and don’t take showers that can be every four or five days.
We’d been driving, biking and hiking for almost that long with nothing more than a sponge bath and we were feeling and looking a little ripe (especially my mate). Normally we eschew developed camp grounds where a fee is required; instead, we opt for free, more private, dispersed overnight spots on BLM land or in national forests.
But late on our fifth day while heading east there didn’t seem to be any public lands nearby. We headed for a small Utah state park located next to a large lake.
We try to stay away from lakes and reservoirs as they attract a boating and fishing crowd (and crowds in general). Not that we have anything against boaters and anglers; it’s just that many of them have larger RVs with loud generators, and they seek out more opulent and expensive camping.
We saw on the map that the state park in question had two campgrounds, one lake-side and a smaller one a mile down the road. We determined that the bigger campground had full hook-ups, boat ramps and a laundry; the smaller had an outhouse, water facet and nothing else.
Both campgrounds were priced accordingly, but we wanted to make sure the smaller one wasn’t crowded and that the water was turned on.
We pulled up to the park’s entry kiosk and were greeted by a young gal, 15 or 16 years old, with a peaches-and-cream complexion. We asked about the camping and she said that the off-season rate for the smaller place was $6, but she didn’t know if it was full or if the water was turned on.
“Tell you what,” I said. “It’s date night here in the love boat so we want to find a romantic spot. We will go check it out and come back to pay if we can find something suitable.”
I thought the gal reacted with amusement. Ellie thought it was nausea.
I only made it worse when I added, “I know what you’re thinking: Any campsite is romantic if I’m in the RV. Don’t feel bad for feeling that way; you’re only human.”
It was while driving to and checking out the campground — we were the only ones there — that my mate accused me of scaring that little girl. I assured her she was wrong. It wasn’t until I bicycled back to her station to give her my money and she closed the door and took my cash through a little porthole that I admitted to myself that Ellie might have been right.
My mistake was multifaceted. First, thinking the girl would get the inside joke that “date night” meant we were taking showers and not conserving water. Second was not recognizing that we were probably her grandparents’ age, and I’m guessing they never talked about date nights and romance.
To make matters worse, while in California, my buddy, who works at the Hotel Essex, gave me an old ball cap that said “I (heart) Essex” on the front. As I looked at my reflection in the window when I handed the young gal my money, I notice the first “S” had faded almost off.
So in addition to all my other faux pas, I was wearing a hat with “I (heart) E sex” on the front.
I think I might have creeped out that girl.
Jeffrey Bergeron, aka Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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