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Modern Family Camper

Gone are this dad’s days of roughing it, and he’s perfectly happy about it.

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“That there is an RV!”

It’s an iconic line from the screwball character Cousin Eddie in the classic 1989 movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Eddie, in a braggadocios tone, tells Clark Griswold “not to fall in love” with that there RV in his driveway—insinuating that he was living the dream.

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Fast forward to 2017.

“That there is an RV, Nicole!” This not-so-iconic line blurted from my mouth an excessive number of times at the local RV dealership; so many times, in fact, that my wife Nicole had to tell me to stop. It was becoming “incredibly embarrassing,” she said.

I couldn’t help it. I was excited to finally be RV shopping—giddy at the thought of being able to pull a mobile family command base around the country.

I reluctantly stifled the movie quotes and turned my focus back to signing the paperwork for our brand new recreational vehicle. Who knew going into debt could be so exciting? With a hand shake and a quick walk-around tutorial on trailer basics, we hitched up the ol’ F-150 and we were off. We were ready to start exploring the American landscape, with 24 feet of pure adventure following me in the rearview mirror.

Now somewhere in the official handbook for being a Colorado family is a section dedicated to camping. It’s a law here, you know: You must take your kids camping. Period. It’s in our DNA. I spent my entire youth hitting the hills with my family pretending to be vagabonds by roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on dirty sticks, chopping firewood with a rusty old ax, and sneaking off to dig a hole in the ground for mile high bathroom breaks.

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It’s funny that we count possible Giardia outbreaks from brushing our teeth in a dirty stream as quality family time. And of course, camping allows you to use hip and trendy exercise buzzwords like “active lifestyle” and “health conscious” because you get all hot and sweaty during an afternoon hike. It’s practically a competition to see who smells the worst when you arrive back home on Sunday evening.

However, now that I’m getting older and wiser, the days of lying on rocks and praying that my tent doesn’t blow away are well behind me. I’m perfectly fine with raising a couple of spoiled campers and totally embracing the “glamping” lifestyle. Many of the RVs out there right now are larger than most of our first apartments. This summer we’re going to be able to stroll into campsites, push a button and roll out the automatic awning for just the right amount of shade. Then we’ll fire up the outdoor Bluetooth speakers with a little Chris Stapleton country music to set the mood.

If the kids get hungry, throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave while they relax on their own bunk beds, catching up on their favorite Netflix shows on the iPad with the built-in Wi-Fi. And don’t forget to fire up the heated floors and heated Memory Foam mattress for Mom and Dad so it’s nice and toasty at night! We’ve entered a new era of camping that includes granite counter tops, jetted tubs, built-in fireplaces, and leather recliners—the idea of roughing it is long gone.

So if you happen to roll into a campground this summer and see a family of four enjoying a little filet mignon with their feet up in electric massage chairs out by the campfire, please stop by and say hello. I might show you around the digs, because that there is an RV!

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