Monday, June 18, 2007


Good morning.

We spent the weekend camping at the farm and I'm still recovering. 90+ heat can kind of wear you out, but at least it was cool and breezy at night. One way of beating the heat was glorious in its white-trashy simplicity: slap on some sunscreen and drag your lawn chairs and your beer into the creek. Then just sit there, not moving much, while the water cools you. Well, cools your feet and your ass anyway. The rest of you is still baking in the sun.

A camping trip usually results in the purchase of some new piece of equipment. I now have an official camping cocktail shaker, made of high-impact plastic, with helpful recipes and measurements printed on its sides. Friday's drink was the Mint Julep, made with fresh mint from our garden. Saturday's drink was the Mojito. The only problem was in each case I had to use cubed, not crushed, ice.

An important part of car-camping (as opposed to wilderness canoeing or backpacking) is the concept of the camp kitchen. To me, eating well in the outdoors is a big deal, and I like to have a good space to prepare food. This is a picture of the official Sprawling Ramshackle Compound Mobile Kitchen. Note the Gadsden flag flying proudly. This identifies you as a potentially armed crackpot in case any Iowa meth freaks wander near your campsite.

Inside the screen house, out of direct sunlight, is a collapsible table, a cooler and a honking big propane burner. Over the weekend this area was used more for drink mixing, but I still made a tasty dinner Friday night: lime & chipotle marinated chicken breasts served on tortillas with fried black beans and corn which had been cooked with green chiles and caramelized onions.

A word of advice for anyone training to run a marathon. If you stay up drinking until 1:30 in the morning, smoke a couple cigars, sleep 5 hours on the ground, then run at midday when it's 90 degrees, running 4 miles on a hilly gravel farm road with no shade really counts the same as running 8 or 10 miles. I'm thinking of including this in my forthcoming book, "Marathon Training for Lounge Lizards".

On Saturday night we experienced an awesome thunderstorm. Not much compares to the feeling of being in a dry tent while the lightning flashes outside and the rain falls in sheets.

Overall it was a fine weekend of doing nothing.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Being an experienced camper, you obviously know the importance of not touching the tent walls during a rain storm, or you would have had a different perception of the beauty of tenting.

It all sounds quite glorious, except for the running bit, which actually made me feel hungover. The power of words.

Bubs said...

Sorry about the vicarious hangover. I have that effect on people.

I know what you mean about the tent. MizBubs and I opted to take the big tent because it's way roomier and better-ventilated than our backpacking tent. We've never owned a cheap tent (the kind most people buy at places like Walmart or Target) and the extra $100 is well spent. Every tent we have comes with a full coverage rainfly (they're all from REI) and we have never, ever gotten wet during a storm.

Splotchy said...

Oh mama, that sounds like quite the lovely weekend you had.

Like I said to you earlier, we might not be free early to mid summer for any camping trips, but maybe we could do something late summer or in the fall.

You never mentioned you had a cookin' tent!

I am in awe.

Mob said...

Sounds like a great way to spend a weekend.

Oh, and happy belated Father's Day.

Danny Tagalog said...

Sounds wonderful - I need a week travelling with the family and you might well have inspired me to do it!

Dino aka Katy said...

20 degrees cooler and I would have loved it too

justacoolcat said...

What a set up. Usually when I'm camping I eat grubs and half cooked fish. Ok, not really, we'll usually hop inthe Durango and head to the nearest bar.

Bubs said...

Coolcat, we only get to live it up like that when we're car camping. When we backpack or canoe I make the family live off of rainwater, and whatever they can kill or harvest in the wild.

katy, It definitely could've been cooler. Maybe next time. One time we went out there in the spring, and the temperature dropped into the 20's at night. That was a rough night.

Danny, go for it. I've always wanted to go hiking in Japan.

Mob, thanks

Johnny Yen said...

Ohhhhh... that brought me back to my hangover from my friend Mark's event-- same deal-- I'd have been all right if I'd stuck to my usual red wine, but I added bourbon and cigar to the equation...

Bubs said...

Johnny, I've taken to smoking milder cigars now than I did 10 years ago--no more maduros, I stick to Acid cigars and Hoyo de Monterey Excalibur #1. And I don't smoke late at night, because the cigar just wrecks my throat.