Travel Story: A Campground Battle Between Man and Turkey

A camping story about how one man found his manhood in the Texas wild.


| May-June 1998


It was 1987, and I was an outsider. After all, didn't I have the requisites? I'd moved that year to Austin, Texas. I'd found an appropriately shitty job, as a "reservationist" on the Sheraton Hotels' 800 number. And I had the other crucial qualifications: Membership in a Bad Band. Miserable Hole to Live In. And Substantially-More-Put-Together Girlfriend. Patrizia. Student of law. Beautiful, smart, German. And understanding—so far.

Despite all this, I felt overcome by the squalor and pointlessness of my life. Sure, I was an outsider. My fellow reservationists, mostly Air Force wives from Bergstrom Air Force Base, could vouch for that: "You're in a band called the Stumps? That's gross." "Who'd want to listen to a band called the Stumps?"

Well, no one, except maybe Waxface Jeff, our roadie; but that might have been an act. We were also his biggest customers for the lousy pot he sold out of the house we all lived in.

I was beginning to catch on. Being an outsider meant being no one. And given that Patrizia was about to graduate from law school and start making $80,000 a year, my no-one-hood boded ill. The assassin of financial incompatibility was about to inject oxygen into the veins of our love. Things, it seemed, were about to suck. Clearly it was time to get out.



"Guadalupe Mountains?" Patrizia was puzzled. Whenever she was puzzled, she looked stern. "This is Texas. There are no mountains."

I explained. National park. Just east of El Paso. Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas. Cactus. Mesquite. Gila monsters. Rattlesnakes. Bobcats—














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