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.