Adventure is a Nine-Letter Word

The word “adventure” conjures up different images for different people, and let’s face it; some images are just prettier than others. For my hard-core outdoorsy friends, adventure means tackling the Appalachian Trail with three pounds of dried beans, a tarp the size of a Kleenex and a compass. Just to fluff things up a bit, they might take a change of socks.

My middle-of-the-road friends have spent more money on camping gear than it will cost to put their children through college. Tent poles bent? Off to “campingstorethesizeofCleveland” to get the best nylon and titanium tent-holderupper. Oh, and don’t forget some light-weight skillets in which to make the omelets and biscuits and gravy for breakfast on the portable stove, because the wood-burning fire is too much trouble, and it’s hard to find sticks, anyway.

My powder puff family is in a whole different league. I came by my traveling/survival skills honestly. Some people say that their idea of “roughing it” is going to a Holiday Inn. Well, my parents’ idea of roughing it was when the Ritz in Pasadena couldn’t serve a third order of toast through room service because the kitchen had finally closed and it was afternoon.

My dad loved to travel and my mom put up with it. And, if it involved a fun group of friends, he was game for almost anything. So, one time… and one time only… he tried camping. It was near beautiful Grand Lake in Colorado, and this group of people meant business; they wanted to be out in the beautiful night under the stars. So, my dad brought lobster to cook over the open fire. He also managed to unhook and remove the seats from someone else’s circa 1968 Suburban so he and my mother didn’t have to sit all the way down on the ground.

My own level of adventure falls somewhere comfortably between crème anglaise and hiking in the mountains of New Mexico. I have parameters, though. The temperature must be between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, there should be a chef at my destination – no farther than 37 minutes from where I started; and there must always be plumbing and consumable alcohol within an arm’s reach.

I need bug spray, sunscreen, shampoo, magazines, candles, iPods, Izods, dish soap, doggie bags, folding chairs, floaty things, ceiling fans and bungee cords, swimsuits, flip flops, blankets, guacamole and beer, aspirin, band-aids, spatulas and skewers, and a solar power supply for my iphone. And, that’s just to get me 45 miles out of the city. I’ll take an extra order of toast, too. Please and thank you.