Sunday, August 27, 2006

Impromptu camping trip.

It really was slightly planned, but on Thursday night I found myself unrolling my tent in my dining room, only to find out that, sure enough, it reeked of mildew. So, off I went to the Sports Authority, because they had a similar tent for about $35 which would fit the bill for this weekend quite nicely. But this isn't where the story starts. Let's set the way-back machine for Tuesday night, after pub quiz. Jen and Bosco were talking about this weekend's camping trip when Jen made the face she always makes at me when she wants me to do something, and asked me to come along. Then Bosco joined in. Promises of fun and craziness and mass consumption of alcohol were made. I honestly started feeling like they were my kids asking for a lollipop at the grocery store or something.

I agreed to think about it, but did not agree to go along.

It was sometime on Thursday when I thought to myself that saying what the fuck brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity brings freedom. Not only should I go camping, but I must go. The Summer of Dave, after all, is coming to a close, and I'm not going to have many opportunities to just blow off everything for a weekend and do something silly like this. That's when I came across the tent problem. It was a problem that wasn't going to go away, unless I had a time machine and an anti-mildew solution. That's when I got the right phone call. The one telling me about the camping sale at Sports Authority. Jess and I hopped into her car, and away we went.

We stopped by the liquor store first. Camping requires excessive drinking, otherwise you'll never fall asleep on the hard ground. A quick purchase of a 30-pack of LaCrosse Lager and I had that base covered. Now, to get a tent. I had printed out a page with the exact tent I wanted off of their website, but, as sure as the sun rises, they didn't have any in stock. Fortunately for me (fortune does indeed favor the foolish) they had a similar tent on sale. I got that and a new lantern. It started to sink in- I was really going camping. I was excited.

The trip was arranged by members of MeetInChicago, I was invited because, well, even though I'm not a member, I know enough of the people that it was kosher. A ride was arranged for me, and I eagerly awaited the phone call Friday morning that was to indicate it was time to go. Again, I was excited, so I packed early and had everything waiting downstairs. Once we started out, we got to talking about the weather. We knew that there was a strong possibility of storms, but they were supposed to be scattered and wouldn't really affect our camping plans. Once we got about halfway there, we got hit with one of the wildest storms I've ever seen. The highway was suddenly very crowded, as many people pulled over to wait it out. Being a truckload of gritty, nutty men, we pressed forward. After all, there was a visit to FIBs in our future.

We pressed on. The rain stopped. We got to FIBs. The rain started again. We ate. The rain stopped. We got to the campsite, and it was raining. AGAIN. We chose our spots. The rain stopped. We set up our tents. The rain started again. We got the beer on ice, and the rain stopped and started all night long.

We got to drinking around the campfire, which is always one of my favorite things in the world. Many, many drinks were had. Finally, sometime after 2 am, I decided to call it a night. As nature was calling, and as I had set up my tent right by Sugar Creek, I wandered, in the dark, to the edge, so that I might relieve myself. This, friends and neighbors, is when I walked off the edge of the world. You see, the creek was a little low, so there was a ledge where the bank usually was, and then a lot of mud, and then there was the creek. I walked right off what would have been the bank and found myself in pain, and rather stuck.

Once the initial panic was subdued, I had to figure out how to scale the 4 foot ledge, in the dark, in the mud, and without anything to hold on to. It was about this time that I heard my fellow camper and site mate do exactly what I had done. He, however, didn't land on his feet. He landed ass-down in the mud. I finally climbed up and got my new lantern, which I had left on the picnic table near our tents. I found it, found him, and hoisted him up. After all that work, it was seriously time for bed, so off to bed I went.

Saturday it rained off and on, but we still found time for a drunken game of Hello Kitty Kickball amongst many other sports-related activities which were infused with beer. We barbecued, we danced, we drank. Sadly, that is all I can tell you, as I am restricted by the "what happens at the campfire stays at the campfire" code. I will say that a rousing game of I Never was played, and a very racy game of Truth or Dare followed.

I woke up at the ass-crack of dawn this morning, moderately hung over, and confused as to how I managed to strip completely naked without help. I knew my fellow campers were going to stay asleep for some time, as most of them were still partying strong when I decided to sneak off to my tent and go to bed. I wandered around, read a little, and took a nap, as it was far, far too early. Once I got my head back together, I realized that I should try to find evidence of my Friday Night Fall and photodocument it for you:
Anyways, it is high time that I took a shower, as I haven't in days, and I am still covered in a lot of mud still from Friday night. All my clothes are muddy as hell and need to be washed, and I have to dry out my tarp before it suffers the same fate as my previous tent.


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