Friday, July 26, 2013

Camp Tales 2013, part VIII : More Scatological Humor

Ahhhh, the creature comforts of an inside toity.
But when you're camping, this is not so.  And it wouldn't be a Camp Tale if I didn't have some toity humor now would it?
Most toilets at campsites are vault toilets, literally, a big, foul bucket of shit, and most vault toities lack even the most primitive amenities: running water, or if you DO have some, it's cold only, often no soap, no paper towels, and usually no overhead lights, so you do your business in the middle of the night, in pitch black.  Not a very cheery notion, mind you, when, sitting there, you start thinking of what's directly under your bottom and all the creepy crawlers and spiders who might be laughingly eyeballing your anus and wondering what you taste like.
 So imagine it's 2:00 a.m. and you're snuggled into your mummy bag when you feel a good pee coming.  Oh, no, you think, so cozily wrapped up in your bag, with your pillow perfectly adjusted.  Maybe I can just ignore it and it'll go away.  Only the pressure is overwhelming,  "I'm gonna pee my pants if I don't go immediately" and you frantically start unzipping your bag, preparing to get dressed, find a flashlight and trot off to the pit-toity, which means a good hike through the woods and better lace up your shoes and get completely dressed while you're at it.
Just to take a leak.
Who wants to do all that?
I've never seen the point to all those steps.  Firstly, why the hike?  Secondly, it's at night.  Unless people have night vision, who's gonna see you takin' a leak?
So this year, as Doooders was strapping on her headlamp, sighing and pulling on her shoes, lacing them, pulling on a sweater, I slipped on my flip flops and said,
"Go ahead without me.  I'm gonna go right here," I said.  There was a pause as Doooders must have been mulling this over.
"OK.  But don't pee too close to the tent," Doooder warned.  I didn't bother with pulling on pants.  After all, I'm in the middle of the Utah desert, in the middle of the night.  Who's gonna see?  I pulled on my head lamp, to see where I was going, lest I stumble upon an angry rattler, and lurched out of the tent.
Getting out of a tent is always an act of acrobatics and balance as you step over the doorway and stand up at the same time without bonking your head on the rain-fly while simultaneously quickly zipping the tent up to ward off spiders, ticks, and other rude blood-suckers.  I wobbled a good three feet away, then mused another foot away or so might be prudent.  I assumed the splayed position, yawning then threw the toity paper in the fire ring, turned off my head lamp then stumbled into bed.
The next morning as I woke up and pulled on my shorts and went outside, Doooders stood brewing up some coffee.
"Dude," Dooders began and poured two cups.  "You gotta find a different place to pee.  I said not to pee too close to the tent."
"I didn't," I sorta lied.  "What's the big deal?   It's not like I peed on the tent or something," I noted.
Doooders proceeded to tell me, that with my BRIGHT head lamp on, and in my mildly intoxicated "Who cares" frame of mind, I had not thought to check to see where I was peeing in proximity to the shit-house.  Apparently, I peed in a wide-open clearing, and since there were others also peeing but peeing in the shithouse where you're supposed to pee in the middle of the night, everyone could see me peeing.
"It was like you had a neon light flashing over your head.  I could see you way over at the bathroom.  'Look everyone.  I'm peeing," Doooders described.
Oh well.  All's well that ends well.  I could have had an accidental "Shi-pee-pee" then that would have DEFINITELY been classy, suave and sophisticated.  Indeed, that would have been quite a show for a bleary, half-asleep camper.
Hee hee.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Camp Tales 2013, part VII: Campfire Questions

Nothing beats chips and dip and cold brews around the campfire.

When you're camping on vacation (only applies to real camping, not "motel-camping"), it seems Doooders and I have some rather lively, if not spirited campfire chats.

Something about the starry nights, the wind swept deserts and pine-studded forests just brings out the curious as you're stooped over the campfire, cold beer in-hand, staring primordially into the snapping and popping flames.

It's usually one really good stumper of a question, some years it's two questions, that neither of us can solve the entire week.  They're not necessarily intellectual or spiritual as much as just puzzling.

2011's was: "If pine nuts don't grow on pine trees, why are they called pine nuts?"  Good question.  Did we ever find out?  Nope.  The odd part was just now, as I was re-reading that camp log, I noticed further down, I'd written "Do bears eat them?"  Seriously, who the fuck cares IF bears eat them as much as ARE THERE BEARS IN OUR CAMPSITE?  WTF was I thinking?

The question is usually scribbled down in an alcohol-fueled haze then later researched after the vacation.  Naturally, even if Dooders and I were smart-phone-a-holics, they'd be rendered useless in the back country.   We usually camp in areas with no signal for miles, where even cold beer and ice is hard to find.  Last year, we were up in the Crazies, 40 miles from the nearest one-gas-station town, let alone cell phone tower.

Some years are, I'm afraid, too boozy, the remains of the scribbled question rather dubiously scratched down from the night before and hardly legible.  "Why dooos the K*&dls at Christmas time for gibberish ass-sneeze insize a mothball-cake?"  Later translated, WTF?

Other years are unmistakeably Cheech-n-Chong-like--such as the time when Doooders couldn't figure out if the strange soot stain on the rim of the campfire ring was a ghost-face, or simply an ad for Kriskuits--if you don't know what the hell  I'm talking about then I've made my point.

This year's question was a two-parter.  So we're particularly proud of ourselves.

Here goes--
1.  How can the reality show, Full Throttle, (based on the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally) be so popular when its stars are so amazingly stupid?  Go ahead and Google/Youtube it.  You'll be astounded.  A gal named "Angie" allegedly sits on men's heads and is photographed . . . for money.

2. Has there ever been an openly-Mormon rock-n-roll idol other than Donny and Marie Osmond?

Given we have had a Mormon running for the presidency, we found this question rather vexing.  There almost SHOULD be a token Mormon rocker, shouldn't there?  There was Creed, but who knows what brand of spirituality they claimed.  There's just something about rock-n-roll mixing with Christianity that doesn't float.  It's like combining gasoline and ice cream.  Doesn't mix.  But why?

Anyway, stoke up that fire and pass the Triscuits.  I'm on a roll.  More later.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Camp Tales 2013, part VI: Travel Food From Hell

Ahhhhh, now THIS is what I like to see on a camping trip: a fun biker bar, filled with long-haired handsome biker-rock-n-roll dudes.  Easy on the eyes.  Easy on the wallet.  What more could you ask for?
However,  this was not the case in Ouray, Colorado.  Sadly, this was from LAST year's vacation in Montana.
After we were skewled for being "old ladies" by the five-year old (OK, OK, 25 year-old) whose ass I should've kicked, we stumbled, half-starved, around Ouray trying to find food and stupidly going to the bar the baby-girl suggested for senior citizens--Ouray Brewery, an impressive, 3-story affair.
At the beginning it was promising; a cute little bartender recommended a fine pale ale as we sat on the 3rd floor terrace over-looking the quaint town.
"Ahhhhh," Doooders and I sighed after a nice long sip.  After all, it'd been an entire hour since our last brew.
We perused the menu, but every damned entre on the BAR menu was over $13 bucks.  This was just a tavern/"ale house" with food.  It's supposed to be cheap.  It's supposed to be greasy.  It's supposed to be good.  After all, it got good reviews on Yelp.
"Gawd, Doooders, everything on this menu is expensive," I noted.  Earlier in the day, Doooders had over-paid $15 for a cup of coffee with about a quarter cup of scrambled lifeless rubbery eggs on spring greens while I only had a $7 cup of coffee and entertainingly swatted flies at our table.  So we were REALLY starving by now.
"Let's get the Mozzarella Moons and the hummus with veggies.  How could they possibly screw that up," Doooders noted.  I nodded ravenously.

Doooders went up to the bar and posted our order then came back to our table looking pale and shaken.  What was it, I thought.  Did she see Cactus Man here?  Nothing else could have afforded such a scare.

"Doooders," I start alarmed.  "What's wrong??!!"

"The bill was $32," she sputtered.

"$32 bucks for two appetizers?!" I squeaked.  "This BETTER be fucking good."

Twenty minutes later, the bartender brought us over a plastic, tissue-paper lined basket with 4 wads of shriveled mozzarella, each piece smaller than a jalapeno pepper, and a strange grey blob of hummus served with 4 pieces of  celery with brown ends, the size of my pinkie, and some slimy carrots, which, starved, I proceeded to eat anyway.  Dooders passed on the celery sticks and carrots and ate the 2 pieces of red pepper, wiping the slime off them first.

"Do you have any bottles of Ensure to-go?" I wearily asked the baby-bartender.

"HUH?" he grunted.

"Never mind."

Well, the GOOD news was that no one got the squirts or threw up later at camp, AND a good lookin' biker from Florida sat down next to us and chatted to us for a while.  But our next Ouray trip means, bringing our own food, and cooking in camp.

And next time I see that woman, I'm gonna skewl her right in the ass. . . . Stay tuned for more Camp Tales.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Camp Tales 2013 part V: "Hey, OLD chicks Can't Go There!"

Doooders, at the head of the Historic Western Hotel's bar!

After an entertaining couple of hours perusing the Historic Western Hotel Bar in Ouray, and vigorously snapping pictures in hopes of capturing a forlorn ghost on camera, we grew weary and decided to refill Dooder's "Beer Prescription" somewhere else.

I hadn't had a single "good-lookin' rock-n-roll biker spotting" yet for the vacation, and it was getting old.  So we decided to hit Main Street and scope it out.

I spotted a young woman in her early 30's having a smoke outside the post office.  She appeared to be local and looked somewhat friendly, so Doooders and I ventured over to her to quiz her about Ouray's night life.

"Excuse me, do you know of any entertaining bars around here?" I asked.  "A biker bar perhaps," I added hopefully.

"Wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll," the girl started and looked us up and down as if we were Soviet spies.  "There is a good place down the street.  BUT," she paused, exhaling a long puff of smoke and giving us another questionable look as if she'd caught us peeing in public.  "It's where the YOUNG people go."

"Oh, YOUNG people," I mumbled sort of in shock as I looked over at Doooder whose mouth had fallen open.  What does one say to that?  "Well, I was just wondering if you knew of a good nursing home that has a bar in it?"  Or, "Thanks for compliment.  Do you know the direction to the local A.A.R.P. ?"

The young lady sighed as if we were impossibly daft, hard of hearing, and perhaps mentally-challenged because we were over 40.  "There's the Ouray Brewing Company down the street," she offered.

"Thanks.  I hope they give us our senior citizen discounts," I said sarcastically.  And we left.
Apparently, everyone over 40 needs to start wearing Depends and stock up on Ensures--this is news to me. 

What a fucktard.   It's not like we were dressed in "Mom Jeans" that go up to our boobs, or even worse, bling-jeans and spiked heels, like some sort of Cougars.  Where did she get off with that?  Step off woman.  You're lucky I didn't "Skewl" you and kick you in the ass.

So off we went in search of 1. good lookin' dude spottings 2. biker bars and 3. cheap food.

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Camp Tales 2013 Part IV: Haunted "Western Hotel"

After fleeing the frightening experience with The Texans at the Ouray Museum, we were terribly thirsty.  We needed beers quite badly, I'm afraid.  Dooooders looked parched, her complexion pale and her demeanor listless.  Her walk was no longer lively, and she looked alarmingly dehydrated.  Dr. Duder promptly wrote out a "Beer-prescription," and Dooders suggested we look for a place to fill it.

So we found ourselves visiting a few places (all with great stories, mind you), but this place was the most entertaining by far because it was so intriguing, and well, so spooky.

As in, 1980 called.  Kubrick's got a new film out.  You might recall it, The Shining.

Apparently, this hotel is one of the few remaining 1880's wooden frame hotels left standing in the old West today.  My guess, is that is because it's not burned down.  So many old west towns lost their wooden frame buildings to fire.  Leave it to some drunken sot to kick over a lantern in a barn, and poof.  Fifty or more years of history down the drain.  Especially, saloons, which are of course my favorite thing in the world and the only place I feel truly at home.

We didn't SEE any ghosts as much as felt an atmosphere of weirdness.  Firstly, no one who worked there appeared to be a local.  In fact, no one who worked there was even from America.

When you're in small town, America, this is just weird. 

"How old is this place? Who built it?  What is its history?" I anxiously queried noting the 100-year-old-looking back-bar. The doe-faced server, young enough she could have been my grand-daughter, looked at me blankly then ran outside and read the date on the outside of the hotel.

"1891," she announced as she walked back in.  Rocket science, I thought.

How could anyone work here and not be curious about this place?  How could you work here and not know anything?  Besides being mentally-challenged, there's really no excuse.

An 8-foot tall, impossibly-ancient, painting of an attractive, naked lady graced the bar behind her, which was alarming on many counts.  Firstly, no respectable Victorian woman of the era of this bar would have ever posed in the nude.  Secondly, what led this portrait to be here behind a bar in Ouray, Colorado?  Who was she?  What was the story, damnit!?

"Who's that?" I asked curiously pointing to the painting.  Certainly, it was a madam of the night from the 1880's.  No doubt, someone with a notorious history a mile long.  Maybe she was murdered behind the bar by one of her many young, handsome lovers who was jealous of her many sordid gentlemen-callers.  I waited in anticipation for undoubtedly a juicy answer.  Doooders blinked and set down her beer, looking at our bartender expectantly.

When I'm on vacation, I want to see the local color.  A red-headed local named Flo, who knows everyone's business going back 100 years.  An answer such as, "1891, and it was my Great-great Aunt Ethel's sister-in-law who everyone knew was a concubine, scoundrel and thief.  In fact, legend has it that blah, blah, blah," evoking a fat tip on the bar from Doooder and I.

"I dunno," she said rinsing a glass.  "I'm from the Netherlands," she added as if that explained everything.

I sighed heavily.  If there's ANYTHING a writer can't stand more, is a story that's left untold.  And if there's ANYTHING that a former news-reporter hates is a dead-end.

But this wasn't the only disappointing encounter we had that day with a young woman.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Camp Tales 2013, part III: Cultural Day

Ahhhh, the Ouray Historical Museum, Ouray Colorado.  What's one of my favorite things about camping out-of-state?  Why, checking out the local culture, of course.
Doooders and I pulled on clean shirts, brushed our teeth, slapped a little deodorant on to be respectable, then trotted off to see the museum this day.  Cultural sites, usually local bikers' bars, gabby coffee houses, tasty diners, small volunteer-run museums are all places where you can tap into the pulse of a community and find out what it's really like.
This particular museum, I was thrilled to find, is housed in the old former "Miner's Hospital."  So I was overjoyed.  Maybe I'd catch a ghost on my camera, I eagerly thought, as the stairs going up to the second floor creaked impressively under my feet.  I copiously snapped  pictures, hoping to catch a shadowed form, perhaps a miner in his last throes of death, I imagined.
The museum was silent--the way museums that are likely haunted should be.  Volunteer curators whispered to each other as if they were librarians, everyone talking softly under their breath.
Whoever put the exhibits together had a fairly dubious sense of humor, I found, on the second floor, in the room that was the old "Operating Room."  The placard on an easel near the exhibit cheerily reminded us, there was no such thing as anesthesia or cleanliness during operations.
A mannequin from the 1960's dressed as a miner from the 1800's lay on a gurney with a fake blood soaked towel wrapped around what appeared to be an amputated leg.  A bottle of Jack Daniels sat jauntily by his side.  How cheery, I thought.  Nearby, a 1960's female mannequin dressed as a nurse with an astoundingly bad wig, looked on, holding a scalpel.  It was all rather alarming in a ghoulish sort of way, and I hoped the local grade-schools thought twice about taking a field trip here.
Suddenly, the quiet solitude of the museum was broken by boisterous voices from outside. 
"Ahhhhhh!" Dooders and I shouted as we accidentally bumped into a stuffed black bear with a dog-like collar reading "Jimmy" on it.  "Cripes," I exclaim.  Apparently, "Jimmy" had been the miners' doctor's pet, but had to be taken down as he had gotten "too friendly with visitors."
I looked out the window and saw a gigantic truck, a dualie, the kind you'd expect to see in the Dukes of Hazard, one that had to be driven by someone with a name like Rooffus or Bufford.  I glanced at the license plate and noted it was from Texas.  I looked down the stairwell, to a large Texan family loudly entering the museum. 
I say "large" because all of them were large, fleshy things, sort of reminding me of something from Honey Boo-boo.  There was a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a great-great grandmother, a mom and a dad in loud tourists' shirts and an assortment of mewling children.
But what struck me as amazing was their deep southern accents.  I could hardly understand them.  It was as if they were from a foreign country speaking a different language.
"Hey Paw, whaaaaaaaaaaaazzz dat dare?" the littlest boy asked his father and pointing a fleshy hand to a mining tool.
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaayle, daaaaat's a shit-shoveler, sawwwwwn."  Then the father proceeded to read every placard to every single solitary exhibit aloud, in astoundingly high volumes, to everyone in the family--to everyone in the museum, I might add.
The windows shook as he thunderously spoke.  Glass figurines threatened to topple.  I wanted to shout, "SILENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and sternly point to the sign on the wall to be quiet, but the Texan family treated the museum as a carnival, everyone gleefully shouting, hopping about and reading every placard in the place in voluminous tones.

Doooders, and I immediately retreated to the basement, but the Large-and-in-charge Texans followed us down there, annoyingly reading everything that they saw slowly, loudly, in bellowing tones.  We ran to the mining exhibit, but they gleefully followed us there, too.
Worse still was the awful stench of Axe the father wore.  He must have sprayed the entire bottle on that day, coating his hair, skin, clothing, hat and shoes with it.
It gave Doooder a headache, so we escaped to the rock-exhibit in the other part of the basement, but the Texans followed us to there, too.  It was if we were all playing hide-and-go seek.
"OMG," Dooders moaned holding her head.  "That Axe-man is giving me a migraine."
"Don't worry Doooder.  I'll find a place for us to hide."  But there weren't any places, and The Texans were happily trotting around the corner to greet us.
I looked for an escape hatch, an emergency exit, but there was nothing.
So we knew our time was up, admitted defeat and headed to the haunted hotel bar down the street for brews and aspirins. 
Doooder's headache abated; the beer flowed, and the Texans never followed us there, thank goodness .   .   .  Stay tuned! 

Camp Tales 2013: Lower Calf Falls, part II

So where was I?
Finally, we got to the end of the trail to our reward: a cascadingly beautiful waterfall, droplets splaying out, catching in the light of the sun and reflecting it back like diamonds.  Others had stumbled there, too, and were either passed out on the beach, recovering (or praying their gratitude--it was hard to say), as others re-hydrated in the cool water. 
I stripped off my boots and jumped into the waterfall.  Immediately, my burning skin cooled; my mosquito bites ceased itching, and I was in heaven.
Everyone was ooing and ahhhing.  Dooooders snapped off a few pictures and changed into her swimsuit behind a clump of bushes.  About an hour later, completely re-hydrated, I was ready to go when an amazing thing happened.
I got my second wind.
I'm always slow to start, but when I get my second wind, I'm pretty much capable of anything--running marathons, lifting small trailer homes, carrying a horse, toting military tanks.  Besides, I had 3 bottles of water left, and I was re-hydrated.
"Come on, Dooooders, let's step up the pace," I exclaimed joyfully hiking ahead of her.  Doooders, going too fast and hard in the beginning, had used up all her energy and merely grunted as I trotted by.  Suddenly remembering the small bottle of Malibu rum in the cooler of the car, I never felt more elated and for the fun of it, took off at a brisk trot, passing other slow hikers as Doooder labored behind me huffing and puffing, her former zap and Marine-Corps drill instructor-zeal entirely gone.
"You OK on water?" I called out joyfully behind me.  Dooders didn't answer, merely grunted.
Record time was made skipping back to the vehicle, Doooders laboring behind me, entirely soaking wet from perspiration, purple-faced, and making wheezing noises on occasion. 
I was in heaven.  Not only had I figured the rum would be delightfully chilled by now, but I also recalled two light beers were also in the bottom of that cooler.
Suddenly, under my foot, I felt a flapping on my sole.  It was like the slapping sound you hear when you walk in flip flops.
I look down and see that I had entirely blown out the soles of my sturdy Merrill's.  I'd literally hiked my own boots to their death.
But who cared?  I had Malibu rum in the cooler. 
"Unlock the trunk, Doooder," I call out joyfully since I'd made it to the vehicle first, Dooder stumbling, lurching and mumbling incoherently behind me.
Disregarding the children scattered throughout the parking lot with their families, I tilted the wonderful concoction down my throat in ecstasy as Dooooders grappled with several water bottles chugging them as fast as she could.  Her hair was matted to her head in an alarming fashion, and her face was the color purple of the irises in my front yard.
"You OK?" I ask.  Dooders didn't answer, only cracked open another water bottle and sucked it down.  I thought she'd pour the last one over her head, but she drank it then refilled it from a spigot outside the vehicle.
It's hard to say what was better: finally getting into that waterfall, or getting into the goodies in the cooler.
But it was damned well worth it.  Stay tuned for more "Camp Tales."


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Camp Tales 2013: part 1, Calf Creek Falls Hike, Utah

Pretty fluffin' amazing, huh?  This is where Doooders and I went on vacation in southern Utah.  And it wouldn't be summer without some good old-fashioned "Camp Tales" right?
Well, the hike wasn't what I would call "easy" nor did it offer the worthless ratings-scale that the park service usually offers from "Vigorous" to "Easy."
It did say, "Walking can be strenuous, especially in hot weather."  Moronically, I somehow missed this tiny warning in  .008 sized font on my pamphlet.
"Doooooder," I stammer breathlessly almost 20 minutes into the hike as I'm covered in perspiration and mosquito-bites, "Did you pack the booze?" I whine.  We brought a tiny bottle of Malibu coconut flavored rum to commemorate the end of the hike, and I needed a nip, NOW.  As in right the fuck NOW.  My mouth watered just thinking of it.
"Why no, I thought you did," she replied non-chalantly.  I stifled a whimper and prayed she was kidding.  She wasn't.
"N-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!  We MUST have booze after this hike.  Let's run back to the car and get it," I pleaded.
"No, we must press forward," says Dooders as she marches on, reminding me very much of the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket.  Soon, I alarmingly realize that I'm very much short on my water supply.  It's about then that I start feeling stabbing pains in my calves and turn my mind to more pleasant topics such as dehydration and heat-stroke.  Walking through the southern Utah desert is very much like parading through two feet of powdered sugar.  You can never seem to make much progress.  Your feet sink through the 145 degree sand, trying to find purchase while you're stomping slowly through it, marching quite similar to how a zombie wearing snowshoes might march. 
"I . . .can . . . no . . . longer go on.  You might have to go on without me," I announce after about 2 hours in.  I fall over a rock and gasp for air.
"Oh, you'll be fine.  Think how great it'll feel to be at the falls in the cool, icy water," Doooder replies cheerfully.
"I . . . NEED. . . beer," I gasp.  Doooders only shakes her head and we plod on.
I suddenly feel for what the Mormons must have endured on their desperate journey through the desert.  My knees hurt; my skin feels like it's peeling off my body I am so hot.  I'm starving, and my back hurts.  Even my eyelashes hurt.  A bevvy of mosquitoes attack me, and one even bites me inside my ear which was simply the last straw.
"Acckkkkkkkk!  Jezus!" I scream and sort of throw a full blown temper-tantrum, jumping up and down, purple-faced, hair standing on end, slapping mosquitoes and giving an amazing show to the group of Asian hikers who walk past me, carefully avoiding any eye-contact.  "When the FUCK does this hike end?" I scream.
By now, even Doooders begins to wonder if there's really a waterfall at the end.
"It's just around this corner," she says dubiously, but of course it's not.
Finally, after about a dozen, "It's just right around this corner's" we hit the falls about an hour later.
More later.   I promise.