I Still Love Camping

A couple months ago my friend Sean had this brilliant idea to go camping. I love camping so I was definitely all in. We just had to settle on a date and people to invite. He invited a group of fellow nerds who were excited to join us!

We created a Facebook event. By the day of the campout we had 15 families definitely going and 19 maybes.

Zero showed up. Zero other than us of course.

Sean and his daughter, Ralph, my two kids, and I showed up.

Sean reached the 1st meeting destination and waited about an hour or so for those who were going to meet him there before making the trek up the mountain. He posted signs designating where to go. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, it was too dark to see the signs and phone reception was just about gone. We arrived at Bear Canyon Lake at a little after 7. Sean, unfortunately could not meet us because his car was now securely wedged on top of a short tree stump. It’s REALLY dark out there. We finally located him and his car at about 11pm.
During that time, I managed to drive into a campsite to look for him, but did not realize that I was driving into a giant pit of mud. Stella (my trusty Honda Pilot) became submerged in the mud, front tires all the way up to the headlights. There is expected to be a YouTube video forthcoming from the heroic guys at that campsite who attached a tow strap to the back of Stella and pulled her free. She’s going to need quite a bath.

Once we located Sean, we set up camp because we couldn’t go anywhere with the car stuck on a stump and figured we’d deal with it in the morning. We roasted a couple marshmallows and went to bed.

Pulley wheel
Pulley wheel

Saturday morning we got up with the sun and had some coffee, pancakes, etc. Once everyone was fed and settled, the boys got to work on the car. Thanks to a tip from my brother, Brian, we were able to jack the car up in the front and side just around the stump, place a long log under the tire, then on the count of three – SHOVED the car back off the stump. It was brilliant except for the part of Sean’s car that fell to the ground. It appeared to be crankshaft pulley, or at least part of it. Ralph was able to screw it back on, but we had no tools to tighten it. We decided to make the most of the day once we jump started Sean’s car and confirmed it would run. He tried calling for roadside assistance, however, tow trucks don’t like driving to remote parts of the woods… go figure.

We spent Saturday playing some games. Fletcher’s favorite was One Night Ultimate Werewolf – looks like I’ll be buying that. We also played some Love Letter: Batman, Headbandz, and Apples to Apples. We did the usual roasting of hot dogs, marshmallows, and made banana boats.

Banana Boat YUM!
Banana Boat YUM!

We did have a couple other minor snafus… We were a little late applying sunscreen and most everyone got a little roasted. I had an additionally sucky experience where I was peeing in the forest and had the unfortunate yet sudden fail of falling backward onto my back into a pile of pinecones and brush. While that did pretty much suck, when I stood up, brushed myself off, and pulled my pants up, I noticed that my lower legs were now completely covered with a carpet of large, red ants. To say I freaked out would be an understatement. I ran… I jumped.. the men tried to brush the ants of me, but once I was close enough to the tent, I removed my shoes and pants completely and ran inside to safety. Note: I was wearing a VERY long tee-shirt… thank goodness.
I don’t like ants.

Sunday morning we packed up camp and headed out on the road slowly. We followed Sean’s car watching for the pulley wheel. Every time it would fall off, we’d stop and put it back on. Finally, about the 7th or 8th time we stopped, a firetruck was going by and it pulled over. The firemen had tools and we had a way to tighten the wheel. Hurray for firemen! Once we hit pavement, we still continued slowly until we reached Sitgreaves Visitor Center where we had phone reception. Sean was able to talk his roadside assistance into sending a tow truck. Hurray tow truck!

Tow Truck!
Tow Truck!

We moved a considerable amount of our belongings into Sean’s car so we could fit him and his daughter into Stella for the trip home where we’d meet up with the tow truck and end our adventure.

As we were traveling down the mountain, I heard my rear spoiler start to rattle. It’s been known to pop off in the past so we stopped and duct taped it down as a precaution. After a while, the spoiler decided to completely disengage and remove itself from the vehicle entirely. All was lost as it flew down the freeway out of reach. Thankfully it didn’t hit any other vehicles – but I’ll credit that to Sean because upon release he advised the other cars by warning them loudly, “Spoiler Alert!”

After that very last bit of excitement we had a remaining uneventful and safe trip back to Sean’s house where we met the tow truck driver, moved our belongings back into Stella and took the 40 minute drive home where we could shower, lick our wounds, apply aloe to the children, eat pizza, and watch some Star Trek.

If I were going to have this adventure with anyone – I’d choose Ralph and Sean every time.


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