It took me three days to work out that the gingerbread men daubed all over our Wicked camper were not just playing nice.
“So you like slamming?” a lanky camper leered from beneath his lopsided baseball cap as he passed my deckchair, where I sat reading my book in the last sprinkles of afternoon sun.
A minute passed before I registered he was talking to me, but by the time I finally clocked, he had disappeared down the path to the bathroom block, leaving only confusion behind.
I turned to the van, hoping to find some answers.
“I wish you were a door so I could slam you all day long,” read the words scrawled across the rear end.
Across the side was an ode to the “Scissors” position, with an explanation of the “Swing” on the other.
And next to the saucy messages, fiery love hearts were marked in red and orange paint wherever the two gingerbread people intersected.
Fresh out of the oven, these sugary people were HOT – for each other no less. They were going at it hard.
How had I not realised this sooner?
Ignorance had been bliss, I soon realised. We now couldn’t help but be painfully aware of the unbridled gingerbread passion for every second of our journey along the west coast of Australia.
Pulling in at elegant vineyards in the Margaret River wine region was humiliating to the max. We would pull into the carpark and slot our saucy shagging wagon in between the sleek sports cars then run frantically for the cellar door, hoping nobody spotted us.
Or, parking up beside families at campsites along the Coral Coast, we would attempt to angle the van strategically so the little ones weren’t exposed to its ginger-spiced raunch.
Who knew gingerbread men could be so kinky?
Fortunately, the sugarspun embarrassment was the only gripe we had about our Wicked campervan, which was both our ride and our home during the two week road trip.
While a lot more expensive than we had hoped at $1900 for the whole stint, it was by far the cheapest we could find in the peak Christmas season.
And despite all of the poor reviews, horror stories and journalistic exposés about both the reliability and cleanliness of Wicked Campers, we experienced no breakdowns or malfunctions, despite the whopping 350,000 plus kms already clocked up on the odometer.
Although, that’s not counting the shonky tail light, a temperamental windscreen washer, the occasional whiff from the stinky set of curtains and the odd handle falling off here and there.
Admittedly, with our thin mattress plonked on hard wooden boards in the back and no air conditioning to ease the sticky squeeze of those 46 degree temperatures, it was certainly an experience. But that’s what travelling is all about, right?
But that didn’t stop us from checking into a hotel for the last three nights of our trip. The Wicked campervan had served us well, but enough was enough. We needed a clean, comfortable bed and an evening free of the missile-like drone of bloodthirsty mozzies.
Maybe our years of roughing it were behind us, we pondered as we sat on our private verandah in bright white fluffy robes, sipping chilled bubbly from the mini bar.
Nonetheless, it was strangely sad to say goodbye when we dropped the van back at the depot. It had become a symbol of what had been an unbelievable trip, and now it was coming to an end.
But just as our holiday was finishing, others were only beginning.
Two Scandinavian girls picking up their campervan were being far more thorough in their inspection than we had been – they were actually reading the graffiti on their van.
“Honk if you’re horny,” it suggested.
Their apprehension was clear. As two young women hitting the road and heading into the wilds, they did not feel happy about inviting any unwanted attention.
So they handed the keys back and asked for another – fair play.
But, as I quickly cast my eyes across the army of vehicles lining the tarmac, I struggled to spot one not carrying a lewd or controversial message.
Not entirely surprising then to discover that Wicked was told to remove certain slogans after a ruling by the Advertising Standards Bureau late last year following a complaint.
Our little gingerbread men obviously hadn’t offended anyone that much then. They may be a bit randy, but at least they’re having fun.