Monday, October 27, 2008

J-Man goes Camping (sort of)

As I mentioned in a past post, this past weekend I was going camping for the first time in my life. The plan was for me to drive over to Danielle's around 9:30 on Saturday morning and we would caravan from there along with two other carloads all the way to Mt. Jackson, VA to the cabin of her graduate program director.

Seems like a good plan. Probably would have been good to get a good night's sleep the night before, but instead a low key night grabbing a few beers with Dave turned into a 2 AM drunken shitshow where I seemed to run into a bunch of different friends at a variety of bars, including a trip to a new one, Sasso, that I had never been to before. In any case, the 8:15 AM wakeup was rougher than expected, but I grab a bagel sandwich and headed to College Park right on time. What was also right on time, was my need to take a morning shit right when I got to Danielle's place...therein lies the problem with drinking the night before.

Problem is, they have only one bathroom for the three roommates to share. And one of them is getting ready for the first 10 minutes I'm there waiting. Did I mention that I had not yet met the roommates, nor anyone going on this camping trip before? So, yes, I am now the guy that shows up to a new place and shits. Yep, that's me.

I finish that up and we load up Danielle's car with the gigantic tent my older brother let me borrow and the other supplies. Seriously, this tent is like 10 X 10 and I can stand completely upright's like a convention center of the tent world. It's mildly drizzling as we depart, but that quickly turns to rain on 495, pouring on 66, and monsoon on 81. Thankfully, I'm not driving, but sitting in a car for two hours after a night of drinking is never the best thing.

We pull up to the cabin, which is well secluded in the woods down a pretty windy path, and about 20 people are already there. It's your standard wooden cabin in the forest, equipped with wrap around porch, rustic kitchen, wood burning furnace, and cider press. Cider press?!

Well, that was the theme of the gathering, a Cider Fest. So, first thing you have to do is go to work. Well, actually the first thing I had to do was take a shit...again. Yes, I just pulled up to another place where I know no one, and the first thing I need to do is walk past these strangers and blow up their bathroom. Of course, it's single ply!! Why do people still use single ply? Are we really in a depression? I'm sorry, but as I've mentioned before, I have a strict ply minimum required between my ass and my hand.

After that, I'm feeling better, grab my first beer and head over to help with pressing cider. It's a pretty cool process, as you hand crank an apple crusher which sends the apple bits into a bucket below. Once you fill the bucket with apple mush, you move it to the actual press where, you turn a crank and squeeze the cider into a bucket below. It was pretty good stuff...hand made by me. See, aren't you glad I have a strict ply minimum?

After the cider making, we move on to eating, which includes a wide variety of stuff brought by all the guests. Did I mention that the program is for people studying Conservationist something & Sustainable Biology? So, basically we're talking about a lot of conservationalist, which usually means tree huggers, which usually means vegetarians. Danielle and I had a few granola and birkenstocks jokes on the way up, but I promised to withhold from any further jokes while on-site.

Anyway, there's a lot of vegetarian dishes to be passed over by me (I've shat enough today), but there's also some nice grilled Elk (first time I've ever had this), Venison, and barbeque chicken. Don't worry, all the animals are from a sustainable population...we're not eating panda here.

We finish eating and decide it's time to carve the pumpkins we got on the way up...yeah, I left that part was rainy, so we ran. Anyway, Danielle gave away one of our pumpkins to her friend who didn't bring one, so we ended up sharing a pumpkin. Aaahhh, I cute. Well, if you saw what we created, you wouldn't think it was that cute. We had a stencil for a pirate skull and crow bones, but the pumpkin was a little too small for the bottom part, so I had the free hand it. The result was a skull that looked like it came from either a retard or Jay Leno.

Danielle insisted it would look better once it was lit, but she was terribly wrong. I have a picture to prove it. We're getting two more pumpkins today to carve tonight, so hopefully my second attempt (she was holding me back) will be better.

Anyway, the night is soon approaching as we begin to set a bonfire, partake in a scavenger hunt, and eat some desserts. My hands are frozen from being outside all day and from holding a beer most of the time, so as darkness approaches and we realize we still haven't set up our tent, we have the discussion.

Set up the tent in the dark and sleep in the wet and cold...or get in the car and drive back to my place, jump in a warm bed, and watch the end of the Penn State-OSU game.

Thankfully, we are of the same mind, as we bolt from the cabin, stop at McDonald's so I can grab some "normal" food, and arrive at my place in time to catch the end of the 3rd quarter.

And when we woke up on Sunday morning, we both realized we made a great decision. I mean, seriously...who would want to sleep outside in the cold? It just seems stupid, when there is a perfectly warm house to sleep in instead. Did you expect something different?

I'm not saying I'll never go camping, but for now, we'll just have to wait. At least I learned how to press cider, eat elk, and fight off the desire to make a joke as Abba was being played around a campfire.

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