Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A'camping We Did Go

You might remember last week that I mentioned that Jackson and I were going camping for our child-free weekend?
You also might remember that I have remarked several times about the vastly unusual amounts of rain we have gotten so far this spring?
Putting two and two together yet?
Jackson really wanted to go fishing, so I agreed to go Redneck Camping. Redneck Camping is what happens at Buffalo Springs Lake, a former sewer subsidised by Big Flat City. (Ok, it wasn't really a sewer. Not officially.) We hadn't been there in several years. With good reason.
It isn't a state park, which means it is a for profit kind of place. It is also an urban playground, which means all the college kids from We Think We're So Much More Important Than We Really Are University come out there to get drunk and dunked. All the kids who had to work out there doing community service for juvenile probation come back to camp there as well, with all 900 of their closest family members. It. is. crowded. I really hate it. But there are actual fish in the lake, or so Jackson claims.

"Trust me! You'll love it!" he said in with his sleazy used car salesman smile.

This time was better, I must admit. They have done extensive work to the lake. (Did you know there is only one naturally occurring lake in this whole dang state? And we have to share that one with Louisiana.) They dug out tons of cattails and weeds. There are new bridges and a nine whole golf course (kind of) on the edge of the lake. There is a fancy shmancy amphitheatre and lots of improvements to the marina.

Jackson assembles his fishing paraphernalia.

The campsites are still way to damn close together and there are too damn many people there, but I was prepared to change my mind and have a good time. We set up the tent and Jackson got his fishing gear together. He wandered off to fish and I sat in the shade with my book and my camera. Just across the road, right next to the lake, what a mini-stage. The Big Flat Firefighters Association had booked it for the day. Bands played all afternoon while they cooked bbq, drank beer and admired each other's impossibly clean motorcycles. The bands were progressively better as the afternoon wore on and I was having a good time.

Then, of course, I had to answer the call of nature. No worries, there was a restroom within easy walking distance. I headed that way and went through to door to find NOTHING but a huge pile of sledge-hammered porcelain in the middle of the floor. I went back outside and checked the teeny tiny sign that said "Restrooms Closed for Remodeling". In June. How is that a good idea? Why couldn't they have done this in January? But nooooo. Instead, they have demolished the restrooms (probably with the help of some of those juvenile delinquents!) and put a row of port-a-pottys out front.

I have never used a port-a-potty in my. entire. life. I admit it - I am a restroom snob. There are just some things I will. not. do. I would totally rather go out behind a bush somewhere than in one of those plastic poo pods. In fact, I decide that the bush option would be much more preferable at that point in time, but given that the place is freakin' crawling with people, I couldn't do that either.

In the end, I drove to the Marina and made use of their not very much nicer restroom facilities. When I got back, I tramped over to Jackson's fishing spot and enlightened him as to the irony of the whole situation. I may have used phrases such as "kick your ass" and "never again". I don't remember for sure.

I went back to the shady spot and cracked my book and a new bottle of water. The new band that was playing for the drunken firefighters was really good, so I stopped seething.

He continued to fish. At less than 20 miles an hour.

After about an hour, the band stopped in mid-verse. They were playing "Last Dance With Mary Jane" which is one of my all time favorite Tom Petty songs. The lead singer made the following announcement: "Uh, y'all...they just told us there is a big ass storm headed right this way. There's lots of lighting and hail and 70 mile an hour winds. If you're camping out here, you better batten down the hatches. Can anybody come up here and help us pack up this sound equipment? Quick!?"

I looked towards the south and sure enough, heavy dark clouds were rolling in fast. Crap. I met up with Jackson and we proceeded to pack everything away inside the truck or the tent. All the while we debated whether or not to stick it out or go ahead and leave. The rain had started, so we decided it was too late to leave, and we huddled in the tent.

It would have been fun.

Except that no tent, unless maybe it's army surplus, is made to withstand 70 mile an hour winds. We ended up packing our crap in the fastest campsite tear-down on record, in the driving, pouring rain and getting the hell out. We were soaked. Through and through.

We stopped at the marina to check out the weather on their TV. Turns out the storm we were sitting through was headed east and there was an even worse storm about to whack Fake Cow County. We sat around for a while until our storm passed. Then we headed north, planning to stop at the Acuff Steak House for dinner. If you've never eaten there, you have missed out on another Real Life Redneck Experience. Suffice it to say we figured they would never bat an eyelash at us in our completely dishevelled state.

When we got there, they were closed. I forgot they rolled up the sidewalks at 6:30 p.m. there. Everyone else waits until at least 8:00. We headed on up Farm To Market Road 400 to Idalou. We thought we could probably get a meal at what used to be the "Crossroads Restaurant". This week is was Miguel's House of Something or Other. They do wait until 8:00 to roll up the sidewalks in Idalou, but evidently Miguel had big plans for the evening, 'cause his sidewalks were stowed by 7:30. In the end we grabbed a Country Basket at the Idalou Dairy Queen.

Small town Dairy Queens are always prime people watching territory. This one was no exception.

We finally made it home about 10:00 p.m. It rained on us, and all our gear, all the way back from Idalou. The storm we were trailing left water knee deep on both sides of the road. Our ditches were rolling with whitecaps.

I really hate that lake.

But this is what made it all worthwhile? This!?


SpookyRach said...

Does any one besides me have trouble with Blogger's paragraph spacing? It messes with me all the time and I CANNOT FIX IT.


annie said...

Rach, if you will do your post in the little post box and preview it, making sure the breaks are as you want them, then save it (go back to all the posts(, then reopen and publish immediately, I think you will find that the breaks will be as you want them to be. I don't know why, but that always seems to work for me.

You are so funny! I had to use a port-a-potty ONE time and I will NEVER do that again. I can't even remember where I was that I had to use one.

Do you mean to tell me Texas really has only one naturally occurring lake? Surely you are exaggerating! The one we share is Toledo Bend, huh? I've been to that one some, up near Jasper.

I have to agree, DQ Country is an excellent spot to people watch!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I have the same damned problems with paragraphs.

*poo pods* and *He continued to fish. At less than 20 miles an hour.* Best words in the piece!

This was so funny and Jackson just looks so happy.

Preacher Mom said...

You make this disaster of a camping trip completely enjoyable! Love your sense of humor - and your way with words.

And I had to use poo pods on the MS Challenge Walk. Yuck. That's one way to make sure I get in and out REAL fast!

Rev Kim said...

"poo pods." Love it. I love the part when you were "enlightening" him as to the bathroom situation. You have such a gift for story-telling! I hope when Rev Dave and I go camping in a couple of weeks that I can have the same sense of humor in the face of plans gone awry.

Songbird said...

::note to self--withdraw offer to go camping with husband::

Rev Dave said...

Great---you _had_ to post this before I took Rev Kim camping in a few weeks.

Just for that I'm not telling you where fish that don't need magnifcation to see can be caught.

Oh, and when you visit Yellowstone, please remember that regulations require you to store your food in your sleeping bag to keep it safe from bears.

Rev Dave said...

Oh, and by your sleeping bag, I mean _yours_

Not Jackson's

Miss Kitty said...

I, too, hate Blogger's paragraph spacing. It is making me INSANE, and I don't know how the hell to fix it.

I laughed my butt off at your fishing story. If you find yourself here in Georgia, Small Town is near some pretty decent lakes. Stop on by the Happy Kitten Cottage!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

*snickers* Rev Dave is so funny.

Mile High Pixie said...

Poo pods!! Baahaahaa! As an architect, I am beyond annoyed when an institution decides to renovate or close a service at a most inopportune time. i had to use a port-a-potty at my jobsite for a year. But I only used it once every two weeks. My poor contractor had to use it every day for fourteen months.

I'm also glad Jackson was able to fish without a lead foot. It would be ever worse if he fished over 20mph in a school zone.

Flutterby said...

LMAO that sounds almost like a camping trip I had with my kids quite a few years ago up in the mountains. Pouring down rain. Brand new tent. Not waterproof. Me, 5 kids, piled into my van. Usually a nice comfy van. It even had a bed in the back. But with 6 wet soggy people in various ages and sizes, it was not so much fun. Of course now all these years later it's something we laugh at.

beth said...

Ah, great story! Jackson looks SOOO happy! And that makes it worth it all, right?

Poo pods - our OFFICE has no running water. We are in the process of building Something where there is, as of yet, Nothing. We have a double-wide with electricty and a coffee pot, and some kick-ass offices, but no. running. water.

There's a lovely portajohn out front, but generally we work REALLY fast and then leave. Just to pee.

Great post, great trip. You'll always remember...

SpookyRach said...

ooooh! That does it, RevDave! Just exactly when are you taking Kim camping? I need to post my bear story the day before you leave!

zorra said...

I am at work and I was just laughing inwardly until I saw Jackson's fish,the prize that made it all worthwhile. Then I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

I feel your pain. This is a prime example of why the Zorra Dictionary defines "camping" as "staying at Motel 6 instead of the Marriott". Glad y'all made it home in one piece.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Ain't it tha way when you decide to commune with mutha nature?

Freakin' big storms, poo pods and all sorts of reminders that Americans are just cream puffs, cream puffs, I tell ya.

Amy said...

Only one naturally occuring lake in all of Texas? Really? Now that I think about it, every single lake I know if is part of a damned up river...hmm... interesting.

I hate poo pods too. I will use them once a year at Austin City Limits Music Festival because I have no other choice, but I will wait and wait and wait until I absolutely can't wait anymore.

Rev Dave said...

Don't worry, Rach, just go to this link for the latest bear story:

SpookyRach said...

"At this time, no adverse action will be taken against the bear involved in this incident."

Geeze! Not even community service? Damn bear-lovin' park service.


Christopher said...

wow, ive been missing some good ole posts! well done and funny stuff. caddo lake is shared with Louisiana, right?

annie said...

Come on Rach, ya gotta enlighten us on the lake issue! Maybe Toledo Bend and Caddo Lake are shared?...ummm, or maybe Toledo Bend is not natural either??...Inquiring minds want to know!

SpookyRach said...

Here's what I know, annie: It's Caddo lake. Toledo Bend is probably a resevoir, too. My granddad is the one whole told me this and graddads can't be wrong! Right? ha ha!

Presbyterian Gal said...

Zorra and I have the same idea of camping.

Bill comin' your way for cleaning the Diet Coke off my screen and keyboard.

St. Casserole said...

Wonderful story, hilarious. I am not fond of camping. either.

Glad J. got a big fish.