Chicagoland Camping Action

Recently a longtime Japanese friend and fraternity brother made a return to the states to start grad school.  Aside from those of us who went over to Japan and saw him there, this was the first time that most people were going to see him in nearly four years.  While Kei provided the impetus, getting people excited about gathering together for some quality bro time was not a hard sell.  I did a little research online, and in the end decided that a KOA Kampground 45 minutes away was our best bet.  Kei and I did some shopping beforehand to meet the meat mandate.

food We caravanned on over and despite our best efforts could not manage to portray a group of mild-mannered men.  I don’t think we did anything wrong, but they just assumed that a bunch of young adults were bound to be trouble.  To be fair though, why else would we go to some campground for a single night…?  They insisted rather obnoxiously that it wasn’t a party campground; we of course had no intention of engaging in disruptively rambunctious behavior.  I had reserved us some cabins, which meant that we didn’t need to mess around with tents and had all the facilities set up and awaiting our arrival.

No one wanted to stand at the helm of the grill, so I shouldered the burden.  This is a culinary medium that I’ve only rarely done well, and it’ll take a lot more practice before I’m properly seasoned.  Once I got the coals lit, the call came in to go pick up a late arrival at the train station.  I had to forfeit the task to a bunch of fools who squandered the perfectly tuned heat of the grill and left me with a bin of soot by the time of my return.  I tried to salvage it by feeding in a few more coals, but eventually gave up and had to start from scratch.  These were a bit slower to take, but I with hookah tongs in hand tweezed and turned the meat to perfection.  Abe mustered mustard.

10443083_10204007681612253_5969977017320626688_oOnce all had supped their fill, we spent the rest of the evening simply reveling in each other’s company.  There were some of our Chicago based friends not of the fraternity that came and brought a much needed gender balance to the event too.  We had some pong and horseshoes going, and I must admit that once gathered together we are quite an interesting bunch.  Conversations carried easily, but we suspended them briefly to take some group photos at the behest of honorable Kei.  We are all very respectful of his culture.

10457673_10204007686532376_3649315539333783500_oTime marched on and the only things that really changed were the levels of ambient light and our volume.  We tried not to flout the warning given by one of the workers, and in the end all made it to bed without causing any [known] issues for our neighbors.  At the very least no one complained.  The next morning we cleaned up what was a surprisingly small mess and got ourselves right back on the road to return to our real lives.  One review described it as ‘the best post-graduation event thus far’, which I as host felt pretty good about.  My sincere thanks go to all that made an investment of their time and money, I trust it was worth both your while and repeating.



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