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Hobo Stew And Banana Boats

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When I was a child in southern California in the early 1970s, camping was a regular part of my life. For my family of four, it was an easy and inexpensive way to get away from the city for the weekend. My dad especially liked state campgrounds because they were less populated — normally because they had no running water. My earliest memories of camping all involve pit toilets and rationed water.

We would spend our weekends at Joshua Tree, Anza Borrego, Death Valley, or one of the small state parks in the Angeles National Forest. Days were about hiking and being allowed to explore freely, and evenings were occupied with campfires and family game nights.

My mom had never tent-camped before she met my dad in the 1960s, but she embraced it. It was not unusual for my dad to get home from work on a Friday to be told by my mom to take a quick shower while she, with my sister and me helping, loaded the car.

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