There are those movies you can watch every year and laugh at the right spots, even knowing exactly what is coming. The 1983 “Vacation” by National Lampoon is one of those movies. Little did I realize that three years after it’s release I would be moving to the heart of where much of the story takes place—the San Luis Valley. The “old Sonic Drive-In” in Alamosa’s stall #14, was the exact spot where Chevy Chase and his family had one of their classic scenes on their way to Wally World. If you remember this all takes place in their ‘pea-green’ monster station wagon. The 11 years we lived there, from 1986-97, that slot was the prized space for “Happy Hour” and cherry limeade with a large order of tater tots and onion rings. Somehow, to be seen in the same slot that made “Vacation” a cult favorite, made one feel special, even in the midst of nowhere.
One of the next scenes takes place near South Fork, Colorado at a Kamp Komfort— which is really “Fun Valley”. Fun Valley is at the base of Wolf Creek Pass headed west. Every time I drive by it in the summer its allure escapes me. Yesterday I saw at least 400 RV’s that run in size from the 14 ft variety to the 50 ft land yachts. They were packed in this area along the South Fork of the Rio Grande River. Looking down at the scene it reminds one of something you might see in New Delhi. The only difference is that the backdrop is the wondrous San Jaun mountains and the crystal clear river running by.
I realize I might be stepping on some road warrior toes, but for the life of me I cannot see why someone would load up their $100,000 fifth wheel to go spend a week crammed in something less than a ghetto for aluminum homes on wheels, and a couple of thousand strangers playing horseshoes, bingo or firing up 300 barbecue grills. I never go by that place that it is not packed with “fun seekers”. Back when I could, my idea of camping was backpacking with a group of friends and getting as far away from traffic, streets, and civilization as we could. I guess “Fun is where you find it”— “to each his own’. Fun Valley must be fun for folks who like to bring the suburbs in a very condensed version to a backdrop of mountain splendor.
As I was driving into South Fork on our way to Pagosa Springs I noticed a huge construction project. It is a new RV camping park that will dwarf Fun Valley. There will be spots for 100’s of RVs along with maybe 50 tiny home
style cabins. On a day when the heat index in Ft. Worth is 111’ I guess I can see why sitting on your ‘pull out’ porch in 78’ Colorado July might sound good. As for me I go to Texas in either October or April—and I have plenty of fun.
Onward and Upward, Mark