July 25, 2005

TMK and Ryan Sell Their Souls For Some Peaches...

(Picture-heavy posting, Dear Readers.)

Today’s entry begins with some hat doffing, one doff to brand spankin’ new Dear Reader Marty for going back and reading the entire blog. We’re talkin’ 2.5 years of entries, people, some of them woefully lame. You have no idea how much that means to me, Marty. No Idea. So glad you peeked out from behind The Door of Lurkdom and left a message. I have sent you a mental “thank you” bouquet of flowers. See them?

Putting the hat back on…and immediately doffing it again to sage and perceptive Lee Ann who apparently knows all about “the inevitable growling and snarling that happens when camping stuff has to be packed up to go home.” The Mysterious K and I had a good har-dee-har-har over that one because, coincidentally, TMK went completely Jekyll and Hyde on me Sunday morning when we were taking the tent down, but I slapped her smartly on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, just hard enough to make her do a u-turn on The Road to Complete and Total Meltdown, take a sharp right on Apology Drive, a left on Mellow Boulevard and another left on Happy Camper Street, where our paths crossed again.

As for the rest of the trip:

Here, the tent in a more natural setting than an urban backyard: Site #6, at the American Sunset RV Park. However, lest this photo has you thinking we were in a private and secluded area, lookee here. Trust me, tent sites 1-5 and 7-34(a), (b) and (c) inclusive were well and truly occupied, as were sites 1-120 on the RV side.

tentonsite.jpg

(Side note: This was my first trip ever to an RV park and I have to say, oh…my…God. I have never seen so many white people in one place in my life. In fact, everything was white: The people, the campers, the trailers, the trucks, the awnings, the fold-up chairs… White, white, white. By the time I espied a lovely dark-skinned, dark-haired and dark-eyed Aleutian family on Sunday, I was starting to suffer from a weird and unusual form of snow blindness.)

Our blow-up doll bed. Cozy, no?

bedtime.jpg

This thing is a remarkable feat of engineering, for which we paid a mere $30. It comes with its own air pump which, granted, you have to remember to charge up for 12 hours before the trip but which both inflates and deflates the bed in no time (pardon the pun) flat. The bed lost no air, that we could tell, and if it didn’t lose air under us...well, I repeat, a remarkable feat of engineering. And, yes, that would be a down comforter you see on top. We are not about the roughing it.

(The down comforter did not prevent us, however, from experiencing the worst atmospheric condition known to man, Tent Clamminess--that cold, clinging dampness that settles on every inch of exposed skin and makes your clothes equally wet, cold and rubbery. It was awful. Kept us up for a good part of the night and may, in fact, be the direct cause of TMK's trip down The Road to Complete and Total Meltdown.)

Looking at the picture of the bed, you may well ask, where’s everything else, like, oh, I don’t know, the food? Well, we’ve discovered a perfectly weasely way to enjoy 100% of the camping experience with only 50% of the effort: Camp with parent-type people, especially a mother-type person of the June Cleaver persuasion. That way, see, the mother-type person does all the preparing, cooking and clean-up and you don’t have to bring any of that crap with you. In return, we, the daughter-type people, kept her company—and provided her with a car for sightseeing—while the father-type person shanghaied the (white) truck and went deep-sea fishing.

The red blob in this picture is the mother-type person relaxing in front of her (white) trailer with their (white) bichon frise, Benji.

unsuspectingmom.jpg

A photo of cousins Frankie and Benji on the beach. Benji is not feeling the love. Frankie is giving him the cold shoulder because he had one of those long retractable leashes and was running pell-mell all over the beach, a manic white blur of fur, while she was stuck on a 10’ lead because while we, with the best of intentions, had brought her 40’ lead, it was resting comfortably, sea-water- and sand-free, in the tent, five miles away.

frankiebenji.jpg

Our campfire, the building of which in and of itself is a story. Suffice it to say we made so much smoke that the guy across the way felt compelled to bring us drier kindling, and the people to our left ended up yelling helpful suggestions to us between coughs.

campfire.jpg

The phallic looking things in tin foil? Banana boats, otherwise known as heaven on earth or the true nectar of the gods. If you’ve never had a banana boat, you have not lived. Here is how you make them: Take one ripe banana. Leave it in the skin, but split it lengthwise from top to bottom. Pry open the banana and fill it full of miniature marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap the banana up in tin foil and put it on the campfire coals for—we timed it—4.5 minutes. Remove from fire, unwrap, and enjoy spoonfuls of creamy, warm banana; melted, sugary, marshmallow syrup; and half-melted chocolate chips. It’s kind of like a warm banana split but without the ice cream. These things put s’mores to shame. Yet again, post-coital cigarettes come to mind.

A photo of TMK (standing) and her mother (sitting) before the banana boat feast.

tmkandmom.jpg

For years, even before it was on everybody's mind, the people on the west coast of Washington have been all about the tsunamis. In fact, one of these signs is posted at eye-height on the back of every bathroom stall door, er, that is eye-height when you’re sitting on the terlet. (I apologize for the illegibility but I was, after all, sitting on a terlet, in a dark stall, taking photographs—which, taken all together, is a little weird.)

tsunami.jpg

The sign says:

What Are the Sirens Saying?

An up-down siren, called a cut-wail, is a call for the volunteer firemen to report to the fire station. This is a GOOD siren. (TMK and I beg to differ. Good for the campers, maybe, who can just turn over in their sleeping bags and go back to sleep because they have dutifully read the sign on the back of the terlet stall door; not so good for the people whose homes and belongings have just burst into flames.)

A high-pitched constant wail is a tsunami warning. We hope you will never experience this sound.

Er, and if we do, then what? Oddly, no further information was provided. Just pretty much, "If you hear one of these sirens, it sucks to be you."

On Sunday, while we were busy trying to fit all this in the trunk of the car...

allthisfitsinthecar.jpg

...guess who was telling us in no uncertain terms that she was ready to go home? We had not told her to get into the car; this was entirely her idea.

frankiereadytogo.jpg

And, here, a classic example of "a picture is worth a thousand words:"

alltuckeredout.jpg

Oh, and, no, I got no knitting done. For next time, any one know how to juggle two knitting needles and a flashlight?

Posted by Ryan at July 25, 2005 01:36 PM
Comments

Oh boy gotta love the picture of TMK's mom in the hat. That's a good one.

And I GET TO BE FIRST TODAY? Wowee!

Posted by: CarolineF on July 25, 2005 01:49 PM

Why, that's what headlamps are for. Also for the late night tinkling trip to the woods, although I tend to develop a bladder of steel while camping just so I can avoid exposing all that tender flesh to the hungry skeeters.

Posted by: Annie on July 25, 2005 01:51 PM

Annie, whatever is the opposite of "bladder of steel," TMK and I both had it. Seems to happen every time we camp. Go figure. And, curiously, Washington state has very few skeeters, thank God. I get about one bite a year--and none on this trip. Hallelujah!

Yeah, Caroline, we thought that picture was pretty funny, too...

Posted by: Ryan on July 25, 2005 01:55 PM

Ryan,
A good book light is worth its weight in gold especially in the car at night or when the electricity goes off during winter storms. I have done lots of knitting this way. Should also work at a camp site.
June

Posted by: June on July 25, 2005 02:03 PM

All those lovely pictures and not one of a lovely peach? I was so looking forward to a lovely peach picture. (sigh) Hey, have you ever had a white rose peach? Warm off the tree? Now, that is a good peach. (sigh)(again)

Posted by: laura on July 25, 2005 02:46 PM

Well, its obvious that TMK's... aversion to cameras is genetic :-)

And, I'm with Frankie. Camping is... not fun.

(Oh. I was going to suggest a headlamp. Or a booklight. Or a snake light - only the third is a unique suggestion)

Posted by: melissa on July 25, 2005 02:54 PM

http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=47667893&parent_category_rn=0&vcat=REI_SEARCH

:)

Posted by: maeve on July 25, 2005 03:04 PM

TMK looks just like her mom! The resemblance is uncanny!

Posted by: Celia on July 25, 2005 03:08 PM

Wow.....maybe I should try camping in Washington State. I refuse to camp in Texas. Here, we don't get mosquito bites. Here, the skeeters just grab you up and fly home to slowly drain you into oak barrels for aging. That or tie you up so they have it fresh on tap. *shudders* We hates the skeeters, precious.

Poor Frankie. I'm with her. On the plus side, she has no problem making the woods her terlet. Hehe

The picture of TMK's mom cracked me up. Too funny.

Posted by: Stalker Angie on July 25, 2005 03:32 PM

Yeah, NO PEACHES???? What the...?

Those banana boats sounds sinfully good. But it wouldn't be worth going camping for to have one. ;-)

Gotta LOVE that tsunami sign. WTNORma is THAT? Geesh.

Posted by: Norma on July 25, 2005 04:01 PM

You know, I think cutting a peach in half, pitting it and stuffing it with brown sugar, then closing it up and wrapping it in foil and treating it like a campfire banana would be a really great thing to do!
Last time we went car camping, we took Shadow with us. He promptly had a nervous breakdown and flipped out whenever we entered the tent. He finally slept in the car with John... Yeah, the fun outdoor experience!

Posted by: Janine on July 25, 2005 04:08 PM

I have a little 'bug' light that clips to my shirt or shoulder seat belt for knitting in the dark. It's bright and has a clear light. I don't have to hold my head in a certain position to use the headlamps. I love camping and knitting.

Posted by: Chery on July 25, 2005 05:11 PM

This is priceless!! I have read this post all the way through twice so far, and will probably read it more!
My favorites are the "it sucks to be you" (I nearly couldn't breathe I was laughing too hard!), and the wonderful photos of Frankie in the car. I am hoping that come Christmas, one of my family members will get me one of the headlamps featured in the LLBean catalog, so's I can knit when the power is out!

Posted by: Jenny on July 25, 2005 06:11 PM

I don't know about you, but I think it would doubly suck if you heard the "bad" siren whilst you were on the terlet. But at least you'd know what it was, given the handy sign.

I am totally trying the banana boats the next time the Ranger clan goes camping! Yummy!

Posted by: Susie on July 25, 2005 06:36 PM

At last, a total Frankie fix!!! Great car photo. To get rid of tent clamminess, put a drop cloth under the air mattress, it does help. Of course, I do *not* camp out anymore, much prefer the inside parts of the RV.

AnnaMarie

Posted by: AnnaMarie on July 25, 2005 06:41 PM

Where is the post-coital peach?

Tent-Induced Meltdown...you poor darlings...

Ah, well. At least the bananas were good :-)

Posted by: Lee Ann on July 25, 2005 07:08 PM

Here's another lighting suggestion - an ear light. It hooks over your ear for reading, knitting, or going "you know" in the woods. Google will find you quite a few places that have them.

Posted by: Jane on July 25, 2005 08:05 PM

As far as I'm concerned, "camping" means a hotel without room service. I was a girl scout--I've done my time.

Posted by: Kirsten on July 26, 2005 06:41 AM

Thanks for the welcome... I must tell you though, that 2.5 years of posting was worth the read!

Oh.. I second maeve's suggestion... those lights are fantastic. Very bright and adjustable. I got one for Christmas from the boss and it's wonderful!

Sounds like you had a great time, sans meltdown! ;0)

Posted by: Marty on July 26, 2005 07:32 AM

I am sooooo with TMK on the break-camp meltdown...and the tent...shudder....It expands to this giant thing and then you are supposed to get it back in its teeeeeeny little case....argh! I so do not enjoy that part. Good for you being able to *ahem* "redirect" that meltdown energy Ryan. :) The true evidence of a long-term relationship. You two rock, and are truly awesome role models of real-life partnership.

Posted by: Lisa in Oregon on July 26, 2005 07:39 AM

I once had a Scottie who hopped in the car every time we opened the door. It was not that she was ready to leave, she just didn't want to get left behind and miss the fun! And this was in spite of massive car sickness. I just may have to get a Corgi next time instead of a Scottie, Frankie is so cute.

Posted by: Joan in Reno on July 27, 2005 09:05 AM

I second Marty- Those archives are a blast to go through, especially "Kowabunga" and "mole" sauce... You make it very hard to keep a straight face at the reception desk. I had to bite my tongue to answer the phone!
I'm going to the Boundary Waters in August and I am SO EXCITED to sit and knit in the wilderness. --And let me tell you, be glad it wasn't raining when you were breaking camp. That is the all-time suckiest thing to do, and I *lurve* camping.

Posted by: Jenny from Duluth on July 28, 2005 07:07 AM
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