Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Trip To Remember

We made it home safe and sound from our trip, and with excellent timing on our return I might add. The day after we got back it snowed a few inches. The amount may have been small, but in the Portland area it doesn't take all that much to wreak havoc on the highways. It did create some pretty good business for the auto wreckers though. Anyhoodle, we were warm and dry at home watching the news coverage instead of being stuck in it with everybody else and that was a-ok with us.

I'll be sharing some photos of the trip with you in the next few days. In the mean time I thought I'd share a story from one of my most memorable camping trips with my buddy Randy. You may recall he is the one who is going through cancer treatments right now. I really wanted to see him while we were down there, but the day we were supposed to go to his place he wasn't feeling up to it. Overall he is doing well, all things considered, but was just having an exceptionally bad day. Let me reiterate my disdain for cancer.

I originally posted this true story when I first started blogging, but I don't know if any of you read my site back then. Thought you might enjoy seeing it now.


"Tastes Like Chicken"

In order to laugh at the world it's important we remember to laugh at ourselves once in a while. So please enjoy a chuckle at my expense.

Nearly a decade ago I went on several backpacking trips throughout the northern California area with a longtime friend of mine. Randy and I covered a lot of ground back then, ranging from places like the Marin County coast at Point Reyes to Desolation Wilderness in the Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe. This particular late summer morning our destination was slightly farther north, to a place called Bloody Rock. This is a remote area in Humboldt County where Cold Creek (which lives up to its name) runs into the Eel River.

Getting to the trail head from the city we lived in meant about a two and a half hour drive, so we decided to maximize our three day weekend by getting a early start. I had my Camero loaded and ready for the drive. It should be noted that this was not one of my brightest moments in history. You see this wonderful American made piece of automotive technology had a habit of dying at stop signs and burning through oil faster than a hummingbird on steroids going after nectar. Oh, and did I mention that we would be driving the last hour of our trip on a gravel road through the foothills in a sports car? OK so now you know I'm not exactly a rocket scientist, but hey, I was younger then and figured I had thought through parts one and two already. I threw three quarts of oil behind the front seat and figured we weren't going to encounter a lot of cross traffic at stop signs up in the hills.

4:00am the alarm rings. It's a quick shower and I'm off to pick-up my buddy. A few minutes later and I arrive at Randy's house. He throws his gear in the back of the car and suggests we stop by the bagel shop where his wife Mo (short for Monica) is working so he can say goodbye. She's busy getting ready to open the shop by five, but takes the time to give Randy the obligatory "be safe, do you have your cell phone?, did you put on clean underwear?........".

While we're there we load up on still warm, fresh bagels and coffee. I also grabbed a Superfood drink for later. Now if you're not familiar with this, it's a fruit juice and Spirulina blend with several other goodies mixed in just for fun and giggles. It tastes great but looks kind of like pond scum, (i.e. thick and dark green) It tends to make people go "yuck" just by looking at it and phrases like, "you're not really going to drink that are you?" are common. To tell you the truth I think that's really why I like it. Armed with all the essentials, it's out to the car. Putting the bagels and juice behind the front seat we are now ready for our big adventure.

The first hour of our journey is filled with laughter and stories. Just regular fun, but otherwise uneventful. That my friends is about to change! We had just crossed over the green bridge on our way into Hopland, the coffee is long gone and I'm a bit dry from munching on bagels. Perfect time for my Superfood! So I reach behind the seat and grab my treat, shake it up well, twist off the plastic lid and take a nice big gulp.

Let me pause for a moment and remind you that it's late summer at around 5:00am. It is therefore, still dark outside and I'm not completely awake yet. Once again that is about to change!

As I slam on the brakes swerving to a stop at the side of the road I grab the bag of bagels and jump out of the car. At this point Randy's eyes are about the size of frying pans and he's yelling, "WHAT !?!" over and over again. Meanwhile I'm grabbing bagels, biting off hunks, chewing them for a couple of seconds then spitting them out along the roadway. All the time Randy is getting more agitated, "WHAT, WHAT, WHAT'S GOING ON!!!" he insists.

Let me pause again and take you back to an earlier part of this story. We've already established that it's dark and I'm not wide awake. Now remember the part about my car needing oil on a regular basis? Friends, early in the morning it's not always easy to feel the difference between a plastic juice container and a quart of Castrol 10W30 motor oil. I have never tasted anything so foul in all my days before nor have I since.

Now I only recall my friend crying one time before and that was because of a death in the family, but let me tell you he cried tears of laughter that August morning. For the rest of that weekend any time it would get quiet he would get a smirk on his face, followed shortly after by chuckle or an amusing (to him) comment.

I'm pretty sure the laughter was one sided that weekend, but looking back at it now, it's a memory with my friend I wouldn't change for all the wealth in the world.


Sandee said...

Well the oil I got and understood, but the waking up at four, showering and being at Randy's house at 4:02 was mind boggling to me. Just saying.

Have a terrific day and I'm glad you are all home safe and before the storm came in. :)

Jeff B said...

Sandee- That was just my humorous? way of saying I/we were excited about getting on with our trip.

BJ Roan said...

What a great memory, and one I'm sure Randy shares. I bet he still laughs when he remembers. I know what it's like to watch a good friend go through cancer. It's hard. Hoping all goes well.

quilly said...

So, that ought to have greased your engine! LOL!

Jeff B said...

BJ- I really hope he can pull through so we can laugh together about this and many other similar tales for years to come.

Quilly- Let's just say I was VERY nervous about the first fart!

Thom said...

Well I'm glad you had a great trip and I'm sorry you didn't get to see Randy but I'm soooo glad that he is doing okay. My thoughts are with him and his family.

Your "Tastes Like Chicken" was hysterical. I never even imagined it would have been the oil until you said now remember the part about my car... I just fell off my chair with laughter on that. Too funny.

One more thing. That was the quickest shower and you must have driven like a bat outta hell. Alarm rings at 4:00 am and you are at Randy's 4:02...SUPERPOWERS!!! LOL

Ron said...

Let's just say I was VERY nervous about the first fart!


When I read your comment to Quilly I HOWLED!

GREAT story, Jeff!

You have such an awesome way of painting a clear visual with your words.

Prayers and good thoughts to your buddy, Randy.

Jeff B said...

Thom- You are the second one to wonder about the timing of the shower. I was just being comical in that. I went ahead and edited the post so it now says a "few minutes" instead. Don't want that to be a sticking point for everyone.

Now that it's waaaay past the oil drinking I can too laugh at this. The day of...not so much.

Ron- That was a nervous moment in my life! LOL

Ya know, one of the nasty parts of this (outside of the obvious) was that I continued tasting the oil for at least a full day after ingesting it. BLECH!!!

buffalodick said...

Life has taught me- Sometimes you get to ride the jackass, and sometimes you get to be the jackass..
Laughing at yourself, is a great way to get others to learn to do it too..

Akelamalu said...

You drank the oil??????? Crikey Jeff I bet you've taken a lot more care since then!! LOL

nitebyrd said...

ROTFL! Oh! Jeff, how awful but how hysterical! I'm glad there were no lasting effects. :)

Bond said...

You know...when I read you threw the oil behind the seat and then the drink and bagels went to the same place I said to myself 'nah...he didn't'



Susan at Stony River said...

I'm glad you're home again okay -- and that you didn't drink any motor oil this time!


Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my goodness ... I can't even imagine! Great story.
Glad you had a great trip!

Boomer Pie said...

Hmmm. Guzzling motor oil. Well, I bet you don't squeek and you run real smooth. I just signed up to follow your quirky adventures. Stop by my place and see what you think.

San said...

Jeff, that is a HILARIOUS memory. It's the kind of thing that makes us treasure such friendships.

katherine. said...

blech Blech BLECH

its still a very funny story.

Too bad you didn't get to visit your friend...I fully support and join in your disdain for cancer.