I Went Camping and Lived to Tell.

I Went Camping!

Yes, it counts as camping even if it’s only overnight. I was wondering how we would fill up the entire day up there in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York, out there in nature, with nary a baguette vending machine in sight. (I was pretty sure there’d be rustic versions of the pissoir all over the place.)

Here’s all you have to do to keep yourself occupied for hours and hours on end, up there in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York: all you have to do is get yourself —

Top Cat was the Skipper, I was Gilligan, and it was supposed to be a three hour tour. Well, it was supposed to be a 1.3 mile walk, but it turned out that it was a 1.3 mile walk just to get to the trailhead of a three-mile hike, the first two-thirds of which was uphill, the last one-third of which was downhill. I think I’ll take uphill any day (easier on the knees). I took this picture in a clearing on that first 1.3 mile saunter…

…never dreaming that I’d soon become intimately acquainted with every rocky gully and root-entwined slope of that mound on the left.

Fast forward a few hours and many existential musings on the endlessness of suffering and we arrive at our destination:

This is the place that the most bored map maker in history named Big Pond. (What? Were all the good names used up by the time the settlers got to this corner of the Adirondacks? Was there no more poetry to be wrung out of the native American languages that gave us place names such as Chicago etc???

Top Cat dove right in. I stayed on shore, wishing I were a dog splashing my heart out for the sheer joy of being a DoG.

It doesn’t look it, but these DoGs were tearing up and down the shore, pulling sticks twice their size out of the mud, chasing each other in and out of the water, leaping through the tall grass and barking to one another “It’s a GREAT day to be a DoG!!!

There were a few other groups of people there too (Big Pond does not have a lifeguard so it’s not — thankfully –“kid” friendly) and they all brought their dogs. (I have no problem sharing a swimming hole with pooches.) There was an older (my age) couple there with their dog, named Miles Davis, and another older (my age) couple there with their dog named Ruby Tuesday. No Comment.

It was getting on towards cocktail hour dinner time, so Top Cat and I headed back to the campsite. It was a thirty minute walk, on flat land, to hie our way back to the all the comforts of camping. Why? Because there’s a freaking ROAD that links our campground to *!**#  Big Pond. NO DAMN COMMENT.

Home Sweet Home:

 My chef prepares his specialty, Chien Chaud de la Turkey:

Note glass of red wine to the left of the flame.

(Yes, this is how Top Cat gets his Bordeaux to chambre when he camps.)

I swear it was hot as Hades in New York this past weekend — isn’t it the hottest Summer on record all over the US? — but we were cool as a cucumbers up in the foothills of the Adirondacks…

…which brings me to the cool breezes of ChrisHanuKwanSolstice in August:

Since 2007 it has been a tradition here at VivianWorld to send out a ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card every year to my beloved Blog Readers:

These cards are handmade by Yours Truly

…completely original and signed by Moi

…and Suitable For Framing

But this year it’s a little different.

Usually I limit my ChrisHanuKwanSolstice cards to the first 50 readers who sign up on December 1…

…but this year you can get on my list if you post a review of Le Road Trip on Amazon.com. Post your review and then send me an email at vivianswift at yahoo dot com with your mailing address (anywhere in the world) and you’re on the List for being Nice in 2012.

I think this is a fairer way than a first-come shout-out to distribute my annual card (I’m giving you all plenty of warning!!). So  review the Damn France Book now and get on the list!

As they say in France, Merci Mucho.



13 Comments, RSS

  1. Today's First Review on Amazon

    Le Road Trip is a joy to read AND to look at. The book is about a trip to France but it is also a travel guide to life. The author reveals French scenes, but includes comments which are relevant to any journey. The text is done by hand (in this electronic age) by the author. She is also the illustrator. You will want to read this book and When Wanderers Cease To Roam, by the same author. These are books which you will read many times over and still discover something new. Happy Travels!

  2. Today's Second Review on Amazon

    i adored this book, i got if from the library on a friends recommendation and then i did what i never do, i had to buy it. i wanted it forever. too cute to release back to the library forever more. i also had to buy your first book, because they make a darling pair. then i bought another set as a gift. i adore your wit and charm, i laughed out loud so often reading this i was embarrassed sitting outside fearful my neighbors would think i was going daft. then my house guest was reading and i heard odd noises from her in another room, i rushed out to see if she was ok, she was just trying to stifle her laughs. wonderful book, you have great wit, humor and style, thanks for the smiles~

  3. Today's Third Review on Amazon

    A lovely book based on what could have been a trite conceit — love and travel compared and contrasted via a honeymoon trip to France — which is pulled off beautifully thanks to the author’s delightfully wry observations. The ups and downs of romance and travel are deftly illustrated with the author’s charming watercolors.

    Overall this is a winning book and I eagerly await whatever subject Vivian Swift assuredly writes and paints about next. You will have a grand time on Le Road Trip!

  4. Nadine

    I’m on the card list! I sent this to Amazon (after I checked the post about Sophia, the amazing camping cat — well worth the side trip):

    “Charming Love Story”
    This book masquerades as a travelog but it’s really a love story. Whether you’re in your first and only love, or you’ve learned that love is better the second time around, this book shows how the arc of a love affair and the arc of a great trip are similar: from anticipation and infatuation, through reality checks and disappointment, to arriving at knowing that where’re we’ve been in love and travel has been worth the trip because, as Vivian Swift puts it, “the joys last a lifetime and the woes are always worth it.” And isn’t that the place we all want to be?

  5. Today's Fourth Review on Amazon

    With honesty, whimsy, and great charm Vivian Swift writes in a lively and authentic manner about traveling in her beloved France. She achieves this with her loose, stream-of-thought, anecdotal, and episodic style but especially through her drawings. Everything is covered — nightscapes, French bread, gardens, storefronts, a “what to pack” list, Cancale oysters, bordeaux grapes–with the spontaneity of a cafe sketch session that belies its elegant detail and accuracy.

    Ms. Swift’s narrative feels like a vacation. It’s interested in the history of bridges and cheese and wine, and takes notice of room decor and the contrasting tones of dusk and dawn in a village street…a fun, funny, and wonderful experience; highly recommended.

  6. Today's Fifth Review on Amazon

    Back in 2011, I purchased Vivian Swift’s first book “When Travelers Cease to Roam”. It was a delightful way to get through recuperation from knee surgery and it inspired me to return to my sketchbook journaling. Then I found “Le Road Trip” and loved this book even more. I enjoyed it on so many levels: reading about travel, learning more about France, and again, reinforcing the pleasure of keeping a travel journal. Vivian’s sketches in both books are sweet reminders that, while you can take a picture of something–once you sketch it–you mentally “own” every detail about the scene, or building, or whatever. The details are firmly planted in your memory. And you don’t have to be a great artist to enjoy that pleasure. Then to read Ms. Swift’s words about what she has sketched/painted takes journaling to a whole other level. Do yourself a favor, get the book–and while you are at the store–buy yourself a journal and some paints. You will begin to see the world in a whole different way.

  7. I reviewed yr book back in June so it probably doesn’t count..
    I’m impressed.
    And rewarded with turkey dogs after climbing that mountain!! I am completely lacking in the adventurous spirit I think…
    Were there S’Mores to go with the Bordeaux?

  8. Big Fan

    I’ve already bought 21 copies of your book for everyone on my gift list — and I’ll gladly tell everyone on Amazon how much I love your book…as soon as I figure out how that Amazon thing works, and how to spell “incomparable” and “genius”.

  9. Another Amazon review

    Do you like France? Lovely watercolors? Laughing? Bon mots? Travel? Love stories? Cats? Food? Wine? Hand-illustrated journals? Answer yes to any one of these, and this is the book for you. Vivian Swift has created a worthy successor to her first book, “When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put.” As her witty, slightly irreverent prose takes you along as she and her guy travel through France, you are treated to the sort of illustrations that will lure you back to the book long after you’ve absorbed the story line. It was hard to decide how to start reading this book–I wanted to look at all the pictures first, but then I felt like I was unwrapping birthday gifts a day early. With great self discipline, I began at the beginning, and within the first few pages the book had already changed my life: I will never look at an ear on the BBQ grill the same way again!

  10. Mary

    I posted a review on April 12th !! Somehow, because I am not computer-savvy, it got lost in the never never land of Amazon Kindle Books part.
    ( Dunno how I did that.)LRT is not in Kindle.
    I saw it yesterday, but I can’t get it today.
    Geeze, I wish I had a teacher. I’m 75.

    AND, I mentioned the ear on the BBQ ! Funny, even before the book started. Right?
    Vivian has the nicest readers. She deserves the BEST.

  11. CAMPING?!!! You brave woman. I gave it up long ago, couldn’t find a tent big enough for me and my anxiety of the great outdoors. I am suitably impressed.

  12. Carol

    I have swore off that kind of camping!

    I did go camping this past weekend. We traveled to see our sons new home and took two granddaughters with. The girls and I set up our cots in one of the spare rooms and grandpa slept in the room across the hall on the floor. Glad he was next door, was quite noisy even with the door closed-that man can snore!

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