Sunday, June 29, 2008

Uncle Frank and his magic RV


The day was starting to bum me out. I was halfway through my longest week on the trail and my motivation was running low. The Shenandoah National Park was starting to annoy me. I had planned on picking up food resupplies at each of the campground stores, but the selection was terrible and the prices were absurd. I was getting sick of combos and peanut butter and, as I approached the Big Meadows Campground, I started to dread another disappointing camp store visit.

And then I met Uncle Frank.

Uncle Frank was out on a four-mile hike with his niece and the son of his friend. I stopped to ask them for directions to the campground showers and continued on ahead of them. Within a few hundred yards, I was confused by a discrepency between his instructions and a park sign. I sat down on a rock to check the information in my trail book. Uncle Frank caught up with me and called out, "Hey Guy. I knew this sign would confuse you."

He redirected me towards the showers and I started off again. I was 20 steps ahead of him when he called out again. "Do you want a burger?"

That's a rhetorical question, really.

An hour later I was showered and sitting at campsite I-223 with Frank and his family friends. Two burgers, three beers and four tasty-cakes after my shower, I was back on the trail with a new faith in humanity and Shenendoah Park campgrounds.

Why do I like Frank? He's a carpenter from New Jersey who vacations in style with a big RV, beer, and a desire to meet and entertain new people. That's my kind of trail magic.

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