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Women vs. Wild
Oklahoma women redefine roughing it with glamour camping, also known as “glamping.”
By Brooke Adcox
Published May/June 2015
Bonnie Roy’s bubblegum pink, gold, and white 1963 Shasta caravan is so intriguing that it often takes her more than thirty minutes to fill up at a gas station—because nearly every passerby wants a tour. The ten-foot camper, nicknamed “Chicka Boom,” is Roy’s personalized home on wheels, decorated with an eclectic flair that includes 1940s and ’50s kitsch, leopard print accents, and “wallpaper” made of interwoven vintage neckties.
“I handpicked everything,” says Roy, a Tulsa resident. “It’s like taking your inner beauty and interests with you wherever you go.”
Roy is one of many women who have redecorated vintage trailers to include creature comforts. It’s one facet of an emerging glamping community. The word glamping is a combination of glamour and camping and describes a practice undertaken by women who put their own personal touches on the great outdoors. Roy and her friends spend as many as three weekends a month in Chicka Boom exploring Oklahoma.
“We take Chicka Boom on the road, go camping, and show women that life isn’t over at sixty,” says Roy.
The idea is simple: Grab your girlfriends, head out into nature, and have a great time. It’s about whatever works best for the group; glamping adventures can happen in recreational vehicles, tents, yurts, tepees, or cabins. Beavers Bend Creative Escapes is a cabin rental company in Broken Bow that offers glamping add-ons like massages, a personal chef, or excursions to a nearby winery. Since 2012, DiAnn Sanford of Edmond and her friends have visited seven times.
“Glamping for me is luxury cabins,” says Sanford. “All the cabins have hot tubs, so you go out there, drink your wine, and hang out with your friends.”
Luxury doesn’t always have a high price tag. Rachel Ware organizes glamping trips with her Oklahoma State University Kappa Delta sorority sisters that average less than fifty dollars per person.
“It’s not your normal camping crew, but they come to have a good time,” says Ware, who hosts the group in her dad’s RV and makes sure that everyone, even those who aren’t outdoorsy, can relax in nature. The posh RV includes cushy beds and a kitchen where the girls cook lavish meals together. A thoughtful trip organizer like Ware is essential for glamping.
“What we do is glamping on a budget—we’ve got good food, an RV donated by my dad, and lots of cheap wine,” says Ware.
The group heads out during Fall Break and has camped at Arcadia Lake near Edmond and Lake Murray near Ardmore. Ware says glamping allows them to connect without distractions.
“We really like sitting around the fire and relaxing, listening to it crackle, and having talks,” says Ware. “We talk about our futures, hopes, dreams, and big plans.”
Connecting with friends in the outdoors—preferably with perks like good food, drinks, and comfortable accommodations—is at the heart of glamping.
“It takes you right back to childhood and slumber parties. You get silly and goofy and have campfires,” says Roy. “Glamping gets you away from it all.”
Get There: Beavers Bend Creative Escapes manages thirty-four cabins in the Broken Bow area. 10216 North U.S. Highway 259, (580) 306-2265 or beaversbendcreativeescape.com. Lake Murray State Park & Lodge: 13528 Scenic Highway 77 in Ardmore, (580) 223-4044 or TravelOK.com/parks. Arcadia Lake: 9000 East Second Street in Edmond, (405) 216-7470 or edmondok.com/parks/rec.