Sunday, February 10, 2008

Daniel Boone ain't got shit on me!

A few years back I decided to go camping. Unfortunately none of my friends could join me. So, I decided to go it alone. The first problem was gear. See at the time all I owned that could even be considered "Camping gear" was an old cotton/flannel sleeping bag from when I was a kid and a Coleman kerosene lantern. For Christ’s sake, I didn't even own a "camping" worthy vehicle. Not a truck. Not a jeep. Hell, the Scooby Doo Mystery Mobile would have been more suited to camping than my bright red Mitsubishi Eclipse. So, mission one was to beg, borrow, and borrow without people knowing, as much camping-ish shit that I could. I failed miserably. I borrowed my friend Paul’s tent that would fit 20 Samoan warriors comfortably. I bought a hatchet at a garage sale. The final camping necessity was a one gallon jug of white gas courtesy of Big 5 Sporting Goods. Off I went. I was going to conquer the Tahoe wilderness single handedly. Let me get this out right off the bat. I can be an idiot on any given day without warning. Heck, seizure victims get an aura feeling before a big one hits. Not me. I’m normal one minute, village idiot the next.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, problem number one. It was Memorial Day weekend and I failed to make any reservations. Wow who would have thought you had to make an appointment for peace and quiet in the great outdoors. Well, live and learn. I ended up in a pasture. It was fifteen miles from anything of interest. It was dry, dusty, and honestly a pretty ugly place. There was a stream about 200 yards from my little piece of hell and that was it. Now, as you recall, my list of gear was pretty short. Yes I brought food. But guess what. No dishes, no pots, no pans, well you get the picture. Did I tell you I'm an idiot?

Now, onto problem number two. I (at the time) had no clue how to light a Coleman lantern. For the benefit of you who have never been in the middle of nowhere, it gets really really really fucking dark at night. By the headlights of my not so off road vehicle, I set up the 400 piece Taj Mahal tent.

Now, problem number three. Cotton / flannel that is 20 years old sucks! I slept like shit and had to use a t-shirt; stuffed with the rest of my clothes, as a pillow.

Problem number four came at first light. It was cold as shit and dew covered every bit of what might be considered fire wood. Thinking my idiocy had passed during the bitterly cold night, I made a pile of damp wood. Repeatedly I attempted to light it but created nothing but an acrid smoky mess. "Ahhh but wait" I said to myself, "I have a can of white gas!" Do you see where this is going? Let me say, "No you don't have the slightest clue." So, pouring directly from the big square can, I attempted to fuel the smoking shit pile. It worked. It worked way too well. Faster than I could say "oh fuck, I'm on fire!" I was on fire. Well not all of me, just the arm that was holding the big square can of highly flammable lantern fuel. Instinct kicked in and said "Jake, you might want to drop that can." I heeded my own warning and did just that. I then ran around in circles flapping my one flamming arm hoping for some positive result. Surprisingly it worked. Fuck the stop drop and roll thing. I think that only works in the movies and for Richard Pryor. So, all was better right? Wrong! The big square can of hell juice is now on it side with the spout pointing down hill. I now have twenty feet of quickly spreading "oh shit I’m fucked" moving across this pasture. My saving grace was that damn morning dew. Jumping around like an epileptic at a square dance competition I was able to stop the conflagration.

I sat on the ground next to my car to recover from this harrowing ordeal. *Sniff* *sniff* "god burning grass smells a lot like burning plastic!" How could I miss Paul’s circus tent going up in flames? I stopped that fire as well, but not before there was a new door created on the back side of the tent. Twenty trips to the creek with a Styrofoam cooler to get water and I had everything under control. I returned home with a bruised ego, no hair on one arm, and a tent with great cross ventilation. Paul found the story humorous and loved the fact that he got a new tent out of the ordeal. I still camp and have gotten much better at it. But I have to admit, the silver asbestos fireman crash suit gets awfully hot on longer trips.

4 Beer Farts:

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Don't tell me you forgot the beer?

All other gear is secondary.

Jake Titus said...

Intentionally, I ommited that point. No, I didn't forget. But if you recall, the next morning the ice chest was in fact empty. Contributing factor? maybe. . .

The Ex said...

Wow, you're kind of useless. I love it.

Jake Titus said...

In many capacities yes, I'm useless. If the car breaks down I can turn the key a few times. That's followed by "popping" the hood. Next I stare at the engine. Why do I stare? I haven’t got a clue. I suck at cars and engine-ish crap. Power tools and house shit is the complete opposite. I'm pretty darn handy there. I'm better now at camping but if I had to fight off a bear with a butter knife. . . . Yogi would be using said butter knife to pick my bloody flesh from his teeth.