I was reminded last night of why I no longer camp. Seriously, this was the absolute worst camping trip ever. It was a few years back over the Columbus Day holiday. Now I gave up tent camping a long time ago. I’m too old and asthmatic to sleep with my fat ass on the ground, so we bought a pop up camper. Normally, I was okay with this. I mean we had a routine. We’d camp at Giant City State Park. In the morning we’d go hiking then come back to the camper for breakfast. I swear that bacon tastes better wen fried over an open fire in a cast iron skillet! Then I’d go to the shower house, come out wearing a pretty dress, sandals, and often times, pearls. I got a few incredulous looks, but I’m down with that. Then, we’d head out to several wineries (Rustel Hill and Starview are two of my favorites) to enjoy live music, wine, and food until after dinner. Then we’d take our bottle (or dozen bottles) of wine back to the campsite. Scott starts a fire, I change into sweat pants, fat socks, and four sweaters. We sit by the fire, drink more wine, go to bed then repeat the next day.
But, I digress. We left Friday after I got off school. Actually, I didn’t want to go at all. All the omens were NOT portentious. First, it was raining. Second, Scott slid into the car in front of him on the way home. Third, did I mention it was raining? Nonetheless, Scott insisted we go. Besides, he assured me, the rain was supposed to stop. It didn’t. We rolled into the campsite – in the dark – and I very so helpfully pointed out that it was still raining. We managed to get the pop up set up, but by this time my hair was drenched. Soaked. Now if you aren’t aware of the difficulties of my hair, you might want to scan this Bad Hair Life. I knew it would be at least damp for the next 3 days. Scott actually thought I was going to fix dinner – in the camper. Well that’s just cute. I braided my hair and off we went to Rustle Hill. Dinner was lovely, the wine delightful and the people met astounded that we were camping (the one guy kept staring at my pearls).
Day 2. Follow regular procedure despite all the mud on the hiking trails. Then, we went into Carbondale where there was an Irish Fest. A really lame one. We were sitting beneath a tent listening to a mediocre Irish band when someone sat down next to me. a Little Person. (At one point in time I’d have said “midget”, but that is no longer politically correct and I really don’t wish to offend anyone.) He leaned over and seductively whispered, ” What do you think of them?” I told him I’d heard better. Then he placed his creepy little hand (you’ll understand the “creepy” part in a minute) and said, “I’m got to get a drink. Why don’t I get one for you too, sweetheart.” Scott’s shoulders were starting to shake at this point and it took all of my will power not to slug him. I looked at the lecherous man and said, “No thanks. My HUSBAND and I are just fine.” At this point the creep leaned forward, looked at my husband, and said, “I hope he shows you enough attention.” These words alone were not the creepy part. The creepy part was the strong suggestion that if not, he’d be happy to fill in the gaps. Then he ran his hand up my leg, patted it, and winked! He left and Scott about pissed himself laughing. We left, did some wineries, heading back to camp. I went to the shower house, used the facilities and almost shit myself when, coming back out, I almost walked directly into a field dressed deer hanging from a tree. I screamed and a fellow camper laughed hysterically before stating that perhaps he should have hung his “first kill” a little farther from the lady’s room. When I got back to our camper, Scott said, “Hey did you know deer season opened today?” Yes. Yes I did.
Day 3. Morning Routine. Heading to more wineries. By late afternoon, I pointed out to Scott that the Jeep seems to be running a bit rough again. Transmission? (Keep in mind, I know next to NOTHING about cars, but this damn Jeep had been having transmission problems for a good year so I’d become familiar with the sounds.) “It’s fine,” he says. We head back to the campsite after dark and I notice more coughing from the Jeep. “It’s fine,” he says. Back at the site, more dead deer hang from more trees and it’s all a little Tim Burton meets Wilderness Survival guide like.
Day 4. Sunday. The lodge has a lovely breakfast buffet on Sundays so we decide to go there for breakfast. Shortly after leaving the campsite, the Jeep coughs, chokes, dies. “It’s fine?” I say. He doesn’t answer. He gets out, opens the hood, tries to perform a resurrection, fails. “We’re going to have to walk to the lodge,” he says. A mile and a half later – keep in mind I have a really bad knee and I’m hungry – we make it to the lodge were Scott talks to the guy at the front desk who gives him the name and number of a tow truck guy. I ask about breakfast and am informed that the buffet closed at ten. It’s ten minutes after ten. I glare at first the guy then my husband then back at the guy. The guy slinks to the dining room, comes back, and says that since they haven’t cleaned it all up yet and since we’ve had such at trying morning, he’d be happy to seat us. Personally, I think he was terrified he’d either witness a murder or be murdered. This line of thought might not have been totally out of line. We call our children, who find great humor in the situation, but agree to drive down to give us a car – my car – a mini cooper. The guy at the desk told us that if we can get someone to tow the camper to the parking lot we could just leave it there for a week or so if needed. I think he was still trying to stay on my good side. We hike back to camp to wait for our sons. Meantime, the tow truck guy has come by, picked up Scott, and they went off to get the Jeep. They get it, come back to camp, and I notice the guy’s name tag. Seriously people, I can’t make this shit up. His tag read “Mater”. The repair place in town doesn’t open until 9:00 the next morning. We’d planned on leaving Sunda
y, but now had to stay another day. The boys showed up, dropped off my car, made fun of their father, offered to take me back home (It’s a testament to my love for my husband that I stayed), made fun of their father some more, and went on their happy way. That was when Scott told me that we were out of propane and firewood. We needed to scavenge. So, we went tramping into the wooded area – which was still muddy from the rain Friday night – to gather wood. Suddenly, I was flat in the mud. I’d tripped over something. I looked up and found myself looking at a skeletan. (Can’t make this up!) Luckily, it was the remains of a deer and not a person.
Day 4. Monday. My hair is now finally dry from being drenched Friday night, but it’s – well – impressive in frizziness. I contain it as best I can, we clean up camp, and the nice man next to us hauls the camper to the lodge parking lot. We’ve loaded up my mini and head into town. Eventually, we find out that the Jeep needs – get this – a new transmission! (You have to understand that the boys and I had been saying this for close to a year, but Scott insisted that IT WAS FINE!!). We’re ready to leave town but are stopped by the arms coming down in front of railroad tracks. We wait. We wait. The person on the opposite side of the track wait. We start waving to each other. Then, (again, Can’t make this shit up) a woman in an electric wheelchair crosses in front of us. We both stare, open mouthed, and the guy across the track from us mouths the words “What the fuck!” Then, a train finally goes by. For the record, the wheelchair bound woman was on a sidewalk like thing that ran next to the tracks, and she had gotten off before the train sped by. Three hours later, we were home.
The next Saturday. Scott got a call from the repair shop that the Jeep was ready for pick up. He looked at me and I looked at him. I blinked. He looked at Michael and asked if he’d mind taking him down to Carbondale again so he could pick up the Jeep. Michael looked at me and grinned. He’s a sweet kid, but he’s got a fabulous evil streak sometimes. Nonetheless, he agreed. We’ve since sold the camper, but still, remarkably enough, have the Jeep.
Correction. It was actually Baby Boy #2 who took Scott back to Carbondale, not Michael. We can’t remember what Michael was doing exactly, but most likely packing. He’d just been offered an impressive job which required him to move to Oklahoma. so in the interest of fairness, it was Nick who saved his father from being murdered, not Michael.