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, Wyoming
Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Jun 30, 2010

I Love NOT Camping!

Back in the early days of our married life The Big Guy and I lived in a Sheep Wagon. What’s a sheep wagon, you ask? (See picture above—shake head in disbelief then GASP!) Well, it’s kind of like an old time camper, only smaller…with fewer amenities…and less square footage.     
    Inside this little house on the prairie was a bed (slightly larger than twin size), a table that slid out from underneath the bed, a small cast iron stove that had been retrofitted with propane, one small cabinet and one shelf. We also had a tea kettle, a dish pan and a bowl. Water was hauled in and stored in cream cans and rationed as if it was gasoline and WW2 was still going on.
     The summer of ’82 we slept with the door thrown open and the one and only window propped up hoping for enough of a cross breeze to cool off this little easy bake oven that we were calling home. In the evenings we bathed in a nearby creek, and then afterwards had the romantic task of picking leeches off each other. We went to the bathroom anywhere we felt like it. Not having a pot to piss in took on a whole new meaning. In place of TV we watched nightly lightning storms and the rain was our radio. Life was simple. I needed my head examined.
     We spent one winter in the sheep wagon too, which was not so serendipitous. Baths were taken in a dishpan and we literally froze our butts off when having to go outside to use the “facilities”. I was stuck inside the 7' x 12' box, 24-7 and my days were spent painting ceramic mice, which would become Christmas ornaments once I stuck a metal hook through their heads. (This was after my lobotomy, by the way) The up side was that the sheep wagon was so small that it could be heated with the strike of one farmers match. Two matches and we didn’t need sock hats in bed. The propane stove was only used for heating water because when we fired it up the sheep wagon was turned into a sweat box in about thirty seconds.
     I know what you’re thinking…we don’t seem like the type of people who would live like that. Well, all I can say is that we were young and dumb and broke and actually liked being together in small spaces. Also, it was the furnished housing that came with the job. The Big Guy was operating a dozer and scraper and working for a guy who was paying him THE BIG BUCKS! We were practically rolling in dough! So much that we likely could have afforded an actual pot to piss in. Think of it like a year long camping trip—with fringe benefits.
     The job ended a year or so later but the repercussions have been life long. To this day I hate camping, I’m terrified of mice, I have an aversion to arts and crafts and, not surprisingly, I refuse to pee outside. However, this whole experience was a lesson in reliance and commitment. Most young couples develop a trust—meaning that the one in the bathtub isn’t worried that the one with the blow dryer is going to toss it in the tub with them. Ours was different. When one is picking leeches off of the other one’s backside and takes the extra time to double check, it brings a whole new meaning to knowing that your mate “has your back”. We have known that about each other for over thirty years now.
     Those days are now long behind us and no way in hell do I want to spend another night in a Sheep Wagon. Not even for old time sake. There are some things you just don’t have to do twice in your life to be sure that you don’t want to do them again, like poking a hibernating grizzly, juggling chainsaws or bathing with leeches.
     Big and I spent the next 25 years without pitching a tent or unrolling a sleeping bag. We kept the girls a safe distance from s’mores, hotdogs, campfires and any movie that glamorized camping, like The Parent Trap.
     The thought of sleeping anywhere other than my own bed (or a hotel room) hadn’t crossed my mind in years when The Big Guy got a wild hair and decided that we should buy an RV. I reminded him that I’M NOT CAMPY! "It won’t really be camping," he said sounding somewhat convincing. "We’d have a bed and AC and a TV," he continued to sell me the idea.
    Ok, so I may have softened a little when I saw the push-button flush toilet and the computer desk. For a moment I thought I heard the chorus of Kumbabya playing in my head, Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya. The heated marble floors were a nice touch, someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya, but I still had my guard up. The two burner gas stove and convection oven made me think, "Yeah, maybe I COULD be campy!" Someone’s laughing Lord, kumbaya. Then I saw the dishwasher! Someone’s smiling Lord, kumbaya. Yeeesssss! THIS is my idea of roughing it!
     “Honey”, I said, “I’ll get the s’mores going while you go turn on that outside flat screen TV.” Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya.
     I love NOT camping!

I got this recipe almost 20 years ago, from the Sweetwater Restaurant in Jackson, WY. It is one that I have continued to make over the years and it remains one of our all-time favorites. Grilled Halibut with Thai Nut Relish isn't exactly camping fare, but it is as easy as hotdogs and I guaran-damn-tee you that it tastes a whole lot better. I have made this while "camping" in the coach and we have fine dined under the stars while watching the big sceen. It's got a nice bite, so serve it with an ice cold Pinot Grigio, then grab a second bottle and hit the hot tub! No leech picking required. Go to the "Seafood" tab at the top of this page to view it. (I served it tonight with saffron rice with chives, {snipped fresh from my herb garden} and grilled sesame-ginger zucchini. It was delish, my official-life-long-taste-tester declared!)  
Left: roughing it in Jackson. Why ya'll looking at me--do I look like someone who knows how to build a camp fire?
Below left: the kids in Jackson this past week, which is where we were loving NOT camping. They are giving me their best "I hate camping" look. Below right: sitting around the TV, which I gotta admit, kind of resembles a campfire. Is it just me or do you see the resemblance too? Kumbaya, my Lord....


  1. Read it...LOVED it!!! BTW...I HATE mice, too! Maybe in one of my previous lives I've lived in a Sheep Wagon, too!!!!

  2. Trust me Suzy, you would remember if you had. No amount of therapy could block that out-not even a lobotomy! Haha! Thanx for reading!

  3. I remember your days in the "sheep wagon"! Glad you had fun with everyone in Jackson "not camping". Who is that white haired guy? LOL!!


  4. Hey Judie, I have seen your coach so I know that you are one of those NOT campy types too! The white haired guy? He is the bus driver! Thanx for reading SdJ

  5. I am a fan of the not camping either. The closest thing I get to camping is the cabin. I would probably venture out in the RV too, But thats just because it is nicer than my house! Looks like you guys had a fun time.

  6. Jordie you are my kind of girl! Calling your cabin a CABIN is like me calling our coach a SHEEP WAGON! But hey, sometimes a girls gotta rough it!

  7. As I sit here in my RV with the three dogs and a growling noise coming from the front (H is snoring), I'm reminded of how blessed I am to have a friend w/ such a great sense of humor and a talent for making me drool. Thank-you, Tammi!
    P.S. My computer says I'm illegal so instead of signing Jane, I'm anonymous.

  8. Ahhh shucks Jane...thanx for reading and for being MY friend. Keep me posted on your happenings in TX.