Fourth of July, Korean Style – Part One

“Give it a hard right…okay, that’s too hard. Your hard is really hard.”

I was backing up Bambi into a 15 foot space. Yes, a 15 foot space. And no, I am not mathematically challenged I know my Airstream is 19 feet. So where do the extra 4 feet go?

The Airstream trailer is measured from tongue (it attaches to the trailer) all the way to the bumper. This measurement is helpful when entering State Campsites with size restrictions, such as the one we were at: D.L. Bliss State Park. This park allows trailers up to 18 feet (size of trailer not including the tongue and bumper) and because Airstream Bambi is 19 feet including tongue and bumper, the technicality allowed me to enter the park.

My Uncle and Aunt planned their annual Fourth of July getaway to Tahoe National Forest. They asked me and my parents to join. At first I was hesitant. There was so much going on with work projects and studying for comprehensive exams (to finally advance in my PhD candidacy), I didn’t know if I could take time off.

Then I reconsidered since it will be one of the few times to go away with family due to my Dad’s deteriorating physical state.

I reserved a trailer site next door to my Uncle and Aunt’s tent site. My site was categorized as “handicapped” since my Dad is disabled. One would think a “handicapped” spot is easier to get into but no…one has to negotiate a severe right angle in order to back into it. There are many problems with this scenario: jackknifing the whole rig is a concern…but for me, I’m a small Asian female driving an SUV and towing an Airstream. Bad-Female-Asian-Driver-stereotypes coupled with the fact I was backing into a handicapped spot didn’t build my confidence level.

We were on time (as most Koreans tend to be), actually we were an hour early for the reservation. The campsite was very tight so I was glad no other campers were present. I endeavored to position the trailer into the spot with minimal issues but as soon as I started, the trailer veered left. I steered to the left to correct but realized the trailer was still going left. I turned right and the trailer went right which was great but I was still having difficulty because of the gigantic pine trees surrounding my site.

If it had just been me trying to figure this out, I would have been fine but in true Korean fashion, the entire family had to watch in silence. While this awkward performance was going on, one of the camp hosts zipped by on a John Deere Riding Mower and waved, “You’re doing just fine!” and drove off.

Apparently, he felt sorry for me because within a few minutes he returned with another man and the two offered step-by-step instructions as I looked into the side mirror tried not to hit a tree or boulder.

“I have a fifth wheel myself so I know how tough this can be.” He reassured me. “Turn your wheel to the right, a little left, hard right, left.”

The other man continued to offer reassuring words, “You’re doing great. Just take it slow.”

Within five minutes I had Bambi backed into the spot.

My Aunt and Uncle began unloading: an ice chest containing food, a storage chest full of camping gear, cooking tools and a rice cooker.

In honor of Independence Day, we were ready to celebrate with a Korean BBQ, kimchi, steamed rice, sitting next to an Airstream Trailer.

This was shaping up to be a very Korean-American experience.

To be continued…

Bambi in Tahoe

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