Sunday, March 4

Camping Revisited...

Here’s the follow up I promised on the camping article I read in the February ’07 Road Runner issue—one of my “most favorite” magazines. I had admitted being annoyed that the first installment of the two-part article lacked a perspective that included women—not a word about any unique issues women might face or information germane to their camping needs. The February article, while well-written, I thought, should have offered something—anything that conceded that bikers and campers are a more inclusive group than the author had acknowledged. I probably would have been more forgiving had even a couple of sentences been plopped in as an afterthought. Women don’t necessarily need someone to tell them these things and it’s not just about being political correct—something I hear “trollers” ranting about on far too many forums. In my book, to be recognized shows that the writer has considered another important viewpoint—a wider audience, so to speak.

Anyhoo…a few days ago the April issue of Road Runner arrived—a Christmas subscription gift from my mother. As usual, I sank into its pages, momentarily forgetting my hives and the need to put away the perishable items sitting on the counter. That’s what Road Runner magazine does to me; I become oblivious to my whereabouts. A quiet, comfy spot to peruse the well-crafted narratives is all I want. I imagine snapping those inviting pictures the travel tales include. I follow the routes in my atlas, tracing the writer’s road details and dreaming of my own travels to those locations.

I read some of the April articles like the one on scootering in North Carolina; “Meandering in Manitoba;” and, an excellent review of the KTM 950 Adventure motorcycle. The “review” rider rode the KTM over 23,000 miles, through some of the most rugged off-road trails and challenging on-road conditions. After reading it, I went off to do some Internet research on the KTM. It is stunning in bright orange and black. It’s a tall bike, but a lowering kit would make it possible to ride this with comfort. It was after this ride review that I remembered to read the second installment of, “Is Motorcycle Camping For You?” The article, which offers ten steps to “enjoyable” camping, is again, well-written and unequivocally informative. Perhaps that’s all one should expect? Clearly, the author doesn’t know/value/care—or something else that is invisible to me—about gender-specific camping matters. To be fair, he does have one paragraph called, “Match the Campsite to Your Needs,” which doesn’t address what I’m talking about but embedded there in the author’s words is a message on the importance of staying in campgrounds that suit your comfort needs. It’s a stretch, I know. But I’ve concluded that there is no point in denouncing the author. After all, you can’t know what you don’t know.

It’s interesting that the April editorial to the readers mentions how negative stereotypes of ‘cyclists as “marauding motorcycle gangs” have mutated as the numbers of “well-educated, safety-conscious motorcyclists” increase and more motorcyclists devote their ride events to good causes and charities. If I were the editor, who happens to be a Christa Neuhauser, a woman, I would have asked the camping author to go one step further, to include something—anything that he would want the women in his life to know about camping. Just one or two words would have been mindful.