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Camping 2012, Day 1 - Elf M. Sternberg
Camping 2012, Day 1

Overloaded Pearl, Forester
Our first day out camping started with a hectic scramble to finish packing the car, buying the dry ice for the cooler, and making sure we had absolutely everything we needed to make this a successful trip. Our destination was the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, specifically the Indian Heaven region. We headed out just around lunchtime, so our first stop was Arby's.

The drive out into rural Washington is a reminder of just how tiny our little enclave is. Within an hour of leaving our city, we were deep into Obama-hatred country. Hand-made bumper stickers informed me that "Obama is the start of tyranny" and "A broke nation can't afford healthcare." (Note: The USA is not broke. Other countries are paying the USA to store their money here; they wouldn't do that if they thought our financial system was about to go ass-up.) Everywhere I saw copies of the Ten Commandments; one, in a general store, had a note saying, "Post this everywhere to drive liberals nuts." I don't see why: it's your property, you can say whatever you want on it.

Gifford Pinchot is a USDA-managed national forest, and the roads there aren't necessarily ideal for the casual visitor. I was glad we had the Forestor this year, as it seemed much more sure-footed than the Escort, although maybe that's just memory playing tricks. The car handled well and we got decent mileage even with the clamshell on the roof. The girls have been obsessed recently with the anime Soul Eater, and would not shut up about it.

Big beetle
As we took to the gravel roads, we spotted a deer and a fox along the way. The fox looked rangy and thin, but the deer was sleek and full. As we drove up Forest Road 24, we saw a fascinating sign, and would later learn much more about the "Handshake Agreement of 1932." Basically, this region was a food source for local Indians, and the agreement left it that way, allocating most of the local berry-growing terrain to the natives.

We reached Cultus Creek around dusk and settled into the task of setting up tents and making dinner. This enormous beetle, about the size of my hand, kept flittering around like we'd disturbed his rest or something, but eventually he left.

We managed a fire with wood the previous occupants had left behind. There wasn't much, but it was enough to make pizza loaf-- a big loaf of french bread, carved open lengthwise and filled with pizza cheese and sauce, wrapped in foil and tossed into the fire for 20 minutes or so. It was quite delicious. We had marshmallows for dessert, roasted in the fire, and competed to see who could make his or hers bloat the most from internal steaming without catching fire or falling into the flames.

I bought a headlamp before leaving. It's absolutely one of the best uses of LED technology yet, giving me a pool of light, broad or narrow depending on the setting, wherever I turned my head.

I have been reading Theodore Rex, the second book in Edmund Morris's Roosevelt trilogy. It deals with 1901-1908, the period of Roosevelt's presidency, and there's a lot of great material in there. Since I have a (admittedly stalled) fin de siecle novel in my collection, I've been mining it for references.

The girls played Frisbee in the dark.

The mosquitos were thick that night. I can't imagine what it must have been like before the invention of DEET.

We went to bed, road-tired after the long day. Although the weather had been warm, sunny and mild, temperatures at night dropped to the mid-40s. I had brought warm nightclothes, but Omaha's house pajamas didn't cut it, and she reported being cold all night long.

Things forgotten: Omaha's water bottle. The adults' breakfast cereal. Plain sugar for tea and coffee. The large grill. The second washbucket.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Genesis, Invisible Touch

1 comment or Leave a comment
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: August 1st, 2012 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, one reason the US is seen as broken is the 'survival of the richest' healthcare system. Wonderful if you're able to afford it, but staggering numbers cannot.
1 comment or Leave a comment