Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chubby Vegan Goes Camping

Well sort of...

I have never been a camper. My idea of camping is a ropes course and a student leader-training program. (I won't say my idea of camping is the Holiday Inn, because that is super cliché and I happen to be a huge fan of Holiday Inn Express.) That has pretty much been all of my experience with the outdoors. I stayed at a cabin in NW Pennsylvania once and left with a nasty case of poison ivy in places no one should have poison ivy. All in all, camping and me have never usually been friends.

When I was a kid, we never went on a family camping vacation. I thought families that did that were really strange. My family vacations were usually to Cape Cod, not the beach though, to the mall. My parents liked the Chinese restaurant in the mall food court... If only I was kidding.

When I moved to Pittsburgh I heard people talk about this strange weekend phenomenon called going "up camp." I have lived in different places all over the east coast and never heard this expression before. Basically, hundreds of Pittsburgh folk have some type of RV, mobile home, yurt, or camper in the countryside of Western Pennsylvania that they travel to on the weekend. Most of the campsites are on large lots of land that they share with other "campers." People go, usually just on the spring / summer weekends, and share lots of food, fellowship, and most importantly... beer. 

I have only gone "Pittsburgh camping" once. Our friends Corey & Laura have a Pittsburgh camp around Grove City, PA that they are pretty much in love with. I think if they could live there year round, they would. I love hearing them talk about it because they get so excited. I had fun on my one and only Pittsburgh camping experience with them and haven't had the chance to go again.

Our camping leaders
That may change.

This weekend I went to the Pittsburgh RV show. It is pretty much RV and mobile home utopia. It is a subculture I never knew existed. If I could live out my chubby vegan life in some of the mobile homes I saw I think I would be a happy guy. 

These things are amazing. The RV show displays the homes that are pulled and hitch up to a site and the RV's that are driven on their own. Some of them have multiple bathrooms, full kitchens, living rooms, upstairs, couches, recliners, and the list goes on and on. It seemed like each one got more amazing. 

RV enthusiasts have their own lingo about their campsites, how long their trailers are, year round or not, and every other thing you can imagine. I pretty much just ran around climbing in and out of RVs like each one was going to have a pot of gold inside. 
There is something about being a vegan for me that makes me feel somehow more connected to nature. I am a city guy through and through, but not using animals for my personal benefit makes me feel like I am more in tune with the natural world. It's one of those benefits of a plant-based diet that I think people don't really know or maybe never realize.

My New Home
Maybe it's because the beautiful deer in the woods is just a beautiful life and not my next dinner. The wild turkeys that roam the forest of Pennsylvania are just beautiful creatures and not the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving. The land that surrounds us is precious and not just empty space waiting to be paved into a parking lot.

So I have never been a camper but I think I could be convinced. It would be great to have a place to go and just enjoy nature and enjoy the world. Turn off my phone, shut off my TV, cook lots of awesome food and just be. Who wants to join?

As for now, I will enjoy the roasted pecans from the Cinnamon Roasted Almond Co. at the RV show. After being assaulted to try a sample, I asked if they had butter on them since I thought that was a sure thing. Much to my surprise, with no prompting, the guy told me they were vegan. Well thanks guy! I believed him even with all of my vegan guilt issues... 
Cinnamon Roasted Pecans... nom nom nom

So I will enjoy some awesome roasted nuts and you can check out some more pictures from the RV show after the jump.

Until next time America....

More pictures from the Pittsburgh RV and camping show.

Sleek and stylish... and on wheels
Yeah, it has multiple seating areas

Pinstripe Golf Cart- need I say more?

Outdoor kitchen and wine bar... oy
A fireplace... Ridiculous!  

Taking a nap in a tiny camper. They were presh.
Chubby vegan is my co-pilot...


  1. Interesting that your vegan-ness makes you feel more connected to nature. It makes sense, but I bet a lot of hunters would argue that their practice of hunting brings them closer to nature as well. It's one thing to abhor the food industry and its practices, but even if I decided to stop eating meat from grocery stores, I think I would still eat hunted meat. It's a predator/prey relationship that has been around since the beginning of time. Would you scold a lion for eating an antelope?

  2. I think hunters probably do feel connected to nature. Deep down hunting is a part of evolution and part of life. My problem is, I think hunting should only be allowed if it's a fair fight. No guns, no crossbows, no artillery... just you, your hands and the animal. A deer can't fight back when a hunter has a gun. What about self defense? Therefore, the fight isn't fare. I don't like hunting at all but if someone really believes it is their right to go into the woods and shoot a deer, I doubt there is anything I will say to stop them. I just can't justify it...

  3. Well...I'm pretty sure ancient hunters used weapons. I don't think any fight in nature could be truly "fair" in the sense that both sides have equal resources and abilities. Nature gave humans the brainpower to develop weapons to kill food and survive. Nature gave deer the ability to run. It kind of works itself out. I can't imagine that any human (aside from Chuck Norris) could catch and kill a deer with his bare hands...

  4. Exactly why they don't need to be killing animals. Right? Until you can go out, look a pig in the face, slaughter it, skin it, and eat it- you have no business eating a pork sandwich. Nature also gave humans the ability to grow vegetables, harvest fruit, and grow soybeans... Much the same. Eh?

  5. Mmm...I still disagree, but I don't think either of us will convince the other (obviously). I'm just trying to tell you that I don't think there's anything wrong with hunting, with or without weapons, if you're doing it for sustenance. I can see the point of vegans who don't eat meat because of mistreatment of animals in the food industry -- that makes sense to me. But to balk at hunting in its purest sense, well, I don't see a reason for it. I'm no history buff, but I'm pretty sure humans survived for ages by hunting for food AND by growing vegetables. It seems like nature 101 to me -- the food chain. Living things kill other living things in order to perpetuate their species. No prey ever WANTS to be eaten, but it's the natural order of things, and who am I to disrupt that? ;)

  6. As much as I hate this phrase, I guess we can agree to disagree.

    However, I am totally okay with interrupting any type of natural order... I am not having children so I guess I am instantly disrupting said order.

    There a million cons IMO to hunting. However there are plenty of avid hunters who will counter with their own reasons why hunting is good for them. I will probably not agree with them, but I will let them (and I guess you) have your own opinion.

    Until next time... Elmer Fudd. ;)


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