So I did pour a glass of wine and walked over to meet my neighbors. As I was prepared to tell them, I’d have never have invaded their personal space if they hadn’t been in a Westfalia, in a similar vintage as Walden, no less. Sure, theirs is the uber-cool Synchro (that means four-wheel drive to a Normal Person), but I couldn’t tell that from afar.
I made my approach in such that they could see me coming from far away. I figured that if they saw me coming they could leash the dog, grab their handguns, or whatever they deemed necessary. As I approached, the matron said something welcoming, and that they had been “checking out my rig.” She introduced herself and her male counterpart called out a warm hello from inside the camper. I was introduced to the dog and a really cute toddler. I got a tour of their camper. We chatted. They came over to see Walden, who was something of a mess, in spite of my efforts that morning to clean him up.
I surely knew that they’d be coming over and somehow still didn’t manage to get stuff up off the floor. No matter. I was still able to show off huge storage space that was where the refrigerator once was. They use their fridge only for storage, further supporting my decision to leave the fridge out. I also learned that they haven’t bothered to fix their air conditioner, in spite of the fact that they’re pretty sure it needs only a new charge of coolant, thus supporting my decision not to bother to try to get the A/C working.
They were expecting some friends to join them and I said that I’d be happy to crash their party. They said that the kid would be asleep by about 7:00, so I was welcome after that. If this sounds like the rambling of a middle school kid about figuring out who to talk to at a new school, welcome to my world.
I arrived fashionably late, and joined them under a tree that was surprisingly capable of keeping the rain off of us. We chatted and finished our drinks just as the rain got hard enough to send us all to our respective Westfalia.
The next day, I took a little trip to procure ice, and hopefully charge my battery enough to listen to some music. When I returned, I found that two families in pop-up trailers with half a dozen noisy kids and dogs had moved in to what was essentially my space. I’d left a table there with a note saying that I’d be right back.
They wrote “OK” on the note.
Upon my arrival, they asked if it was OK for them to say there, as they couldn’t find any other places. Not really knowing what the park culture was and being generally averse to conflict, I sort of shrugged and said “Yeah. It’s getting mighty crowded.” I headed off to take a bag of ice to the VeeDubs, who were incensed and considered this behavior a violation of protocol. I ended up moving Walden over to a spot nearer the VW folks, who helped me to locate a semi-flat spot, making me feel less like I was invading their space. I was happy to be closer to them anyway, as it made it a tad easier for us to move in and out of socializing. It did put us in pretty close earshot, but thankfully they claimed to enjoy my guitar playing.
On my return from the ice run, I honked at another Westy owner, who waved back. A while later he came over on his mountain bike and chatted with me and my newfound friend about our vehicles, their peculiarities, ways to outfit them. Since I had just put up my Kelty Deluxe Carport, there was considerable discussion of side-awnings as well as refrigerators and air conditioners. This was the first time I’d set up the side-tent (of course, it was the first time I was actually camping!), and I was just starting to wonder whether it was a good thing to be hauling around; their attention, not to mention the shelter it provided in the rain, made me think that it was indeed a good addition to Walden.
I also asked Mr. Mountain Bike if he knew anything about the mechanic that I was slated to take Walden to on Monday, and he said that he had been using that shop for over fifteen years and was very happy with their work. I’d read some good reviews on a web site, but it was good to hear good things from a warm body.
Sunday morning I stopped the VeeDubs as they were driving out and bid them fare well. I also suggested that before they go much further that they might want to put the pop-top down. Having driven off more than once with the top up myself, I was quite pleased to see someone else do it. Though I went out to the forest to find solitude, I found cool people to hang out with. Though I haven’t given up on the former, I really like the latter.