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Archive for the tag “camping”

Poopy Pants

Miss Sugar and I have been  camping.  We have not really been roughing it because we have a camper trailer.   It includes a bathroom.

Those of you familiar with the joys and responsibility of camping in an RV are aware of the need to visit a dump station at the conclusion of the camping experience.  Guess what is dumped at a dump station.

Yes.  You are correct that a dump station is where one dumps what went down the sink and toilet in the recreational vehicle.  There are two types of “water” — gray water and black water.  Gray water comes from a tank where the sink and shower water go.  The black water is exactly what you imagine, i.e., the contents of the tank filled with contents from the toilet, which is more than mere water.

Miss Sugar, my trusty trophy wife, is very knowledgeable about camping in general and the operation of the gray and black water release systems in particular.  As her able assistant, I use my own personal hand to open the pipe and the respective valves under the verbal direction of Miss Sugar.

For those of you interested in the details, please visualize that the dump station has a hole.  The camper has a pipe.  The pipe is connected to the hole by a wide collapsible and flexible hose known in the camping world as a “stinky slinky.”  In another blog post, I described our initial experience with such a device.

That post was posted years ago.  Today I am writing about an event that occurred this very day.

Today, after I attached the stinky slinky to the dump hole at one end and the trailer pipe/tube to the other end, opened the black valve, emptied it, then opened the gray water valve and emptied it (the order is important), Miss Sugar directed me to rinse out the stinky slinky by transferring the end of it attached to the now emptied trailer over to a water spigot so that it could be rinsed by that fresh water after the gray water.  Get the picture?

Sugar operated the handle of the water spigot as I obediently held the stinky slinky and moved it to a position under the faucet.  Blessed with excellent eye-hand coordination, I accomplished the task.  Sugar’s water flowed down the wide tube, cleansing the you-know-what down the tube.  When she said, “Okay,” I interpreted that to mean that I could remove the stinky slinky because she was shutting off the water.  I was wrong.

I moved the tube away from the spigot but Sugar did not turn off the water.  Consequently, as the tube moved, its contents back-splashed onto my pants.

Sugar thought it was funny.  She suggested that I write this post and is credited with the title.

Despite her instructions to me and direction of me, let’s be clear about who wears the pants in the family.  That would be me.  I wore those particular pants as I drove all the way home.



Beau and Cujo Go Camping

Some loyal readers have asked how Beau, our Yellow Labrador Retriever, is doing. I have some news to report.
Beau, who has extraordinary self-esteem, and consequently expects that everyone, all creatures great and small, will like him, discovered, sadly, that is not true. It was not true when he met a Mastiff at a campground last week.
As Miss Sugar told the story to me, the Mastiff, apparently irritated by Beau’s exuberant attitude, barked at him. Beau, delighted to have his presence acknowledged by another dog, pulled on the cable to which he was tied so hard that it broke. Beau happily ran to the campsite across the road, dragging the cable, expecting to play.

When Beau arrived, the Mastiff, whom we shall call Cujo, knocked Beau onto his back and went for Beau’s jugular.
Miss Sugar and Cujo’s owner watched in horror. Beau realized that Cujo was not playing nicely and managed to bite Cujo’s face. That move allowed Beau to get up and try to leave the adversarial situation. Unfortunately, Cujo was not finished. He bit Beau’s left hind leg. He bit all the way through the leg.
Miss Sugar called for Beau to retreat. He did.  It is rare for Beau to come when called.
Cujo’s owner owner was embarrassed. She stated the obvious, “He does not get along with other animals. That is why we take him out for walks at 4:00 a.m.” It seems the dog has a history. Beau was not Cujo’s first victim.
She kindly offered to help with Beau’s anticipated vet bills. Then she added. “Our dog’s face is bleeding.”
Sugar did not offer any sympathy.

Sugar did take Beau to a vet she found in the area.  (I was not there to help.  I was at work, scheduled to join the family later.)  The vet treated the puncture wounds from the bite and prescribed antibiotics.  She said Beau might need a shunt to drain infection if that sets in.  He had to wear a cone to keep him from licking his leg.

When I arrived at the campsite, Beau was not the happy camper I am used to seeing.  He was depressed.  He was in pain.  He did not want to walk on his swollen limb.  He hated wearing the cone.  We were sad to see Beau so very sad.  I think part of his depression came from the realization that  Cujo did not like him.  That fact did not Beau’s worldview that everyone likes him.  He seemed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But don’t worry, Beau fans, he has bounced back.  He did not need a shunt.  He no longer limps.  The cone is off.  He has re-captured his gift of enthusiasm.  Beaurunning

A Hero in My Own Mind

A woman should not hitchhike alone.  It can be dangerous.

I knew that.  I hated the thought of Miss Sugar out on the highway in Wyoming’s strong November wind.

It was that wind which diminished the fuel efficiency of our Ford F250 pickup.  That and pulling the RV trailer.  I should have calculated those factors when deciding to try to make it to Laramie.

There is a 45 mile stretch with no service stations between our northern Colorado ranch and Laramie, Wyoming.  In hindsight, I regretted not filling up the truck before we left.  Sure they sell diesel less than a mile from our place, but it is cheaper to buy it in Wyoming.  Less tax.  Plus, it would be inefficient to backtrack nearly 8/10th of a mile out of our way just to fill up for peace of mind.  One must have confidence, living without fear.

I thought we could make it, so imagine my alarm when the fuel gauge showed empty while we were still 20 miles from Laramie.

Twenty miles is too far to travel on an empty tank.  It is also too far to walk.  Fifteen, even ten miles are too far to walk.  Going there and back doubles the distance.  I doubted she could make it back before nightfall.  Not with her bum knee.

I was worried about Sugar’s bum knee.  Walking that far wouldn’t help it none.  In a bad accident last year, one of her injuries was a torn posterior cruciate ligament.  Since then, she has been unable to run.  She even walks much slower.  Nevertheless, the choice was clear as to which of us should go for fuel.  Obviously, I was needed to protect the RV.  I have a gun and she does not.

Sugar’s mother, Italian father, and two brothers might not agree with that choice, but we’d all have a good laugh about this at Thanksgiving as long as Sugar was safe.  No harm, no foul.  Right?  As long as she could get back safely….

I would hate it if anything happened to my beloved wife.  I imagined that someone would give her a ride.  Hopefully, it would be a kind soul and not some badman or badmen.   It was a risk, sure, but that diesel engine can’t run without fuel.  Surely, someone would give her a ride back too.   Even a couple gallons gets heavy after a few miles of carrying it.

Sugar would hate it if anything happened to our new used RV.  She has worked so hard to get it ready for the trip.  Some of you have read about our prior disappointments when we had to cancel our maiden voyage.  She had so looked forward to this weekend.

So, knowing she would hate it if anything happened to the RV, I vowed to protect it.  I was thankful that the RV itself has heat and a warm bed because it could take a long time for my wife to return with the fuel.  Maybe time enough for a movie since it is equipped with the DVD and TV.  It is important to be comfortable while worrying about a loved one.

I am a lucky man to be married to such a trooper.  She is quite a gal.  I made a mental note to get Sugar some Mace for the future.  Like I always say, “Be prepared.”

I love her so much that it hurts me to disappoint her.  That is why I was wise to not let her know when I noticed the fuel gauge showed empty while we still had those twenty miles to go.  I did not tell her of my worried thoughts above.  And that is why I was relieved when, miraculously, we made it to a service station in Laramie.  No harm, no foul.

What she don’t know won’t hurt her, or me.

I guess God did not like the idea of Sugar walking along the highway.  After all, she is one of his favorites.

Initiation Into RV Camping

2009 Jayco Jay Flight G2 29BHS Travel Trailer in Winnipeg, Manitoba ...

In our younger years, Sugar and I camped with a tent and sleeping bags, plus maybe a camp stove as a luxury item.  Last fall, at the urging of friends who own a motorhome, we rented a travel trailer to take up to The Black Hills.  The link below is about our adventure camping there.

Check out what happened on our our first time using a recreational vehicle (RV).  It ain’t pretty but it is pretty funny (if you enjoy The Three Stooges or Laurel & Hardy).

I am re-posting it because we are preparing to go RV camping again.  It is that time of year.  Heaven help us!

P.S.  The friends with the motorhome mentioned above have a brand new Mercedes Pleasure Van.  It is like something that a rock band would travel in.  Our little trailer is pulled by the same pickup truck that we use to haul hay.  It is not a Mercedes.  It is a 2000 Ford F-250.   They “camp” in luxury!  For us — not so much.   Still, it is fun and sure beats sleeping in a tent.

Stinky Slinky and Miss Sugar (and me)

For all of ya’all who have been awaiting my next blog with bated breath, you may unbate your respective breaths because I am back.  I am back from where I have been, which is The Black Hills of South Dakota, USA.

Miss Sugar and I made reservations at a private campground which shall, as they say, remain nameless.  Now when I say “remain nameless” I am not exactly accurate because it is not nameless at all.  I am not going to tell you the name in order to protect the innocent.  It has a name and Miss Sugar and I know the name and we went there and camped.  We ran into some difficulties there, however, some of which I am fixin’ to relate to you, gentle reader(s).

First off, understand that we do not own a camper aka RV trailer or any other kind of RV.  What we done was rent one, which was costly.  Let us say one can stay at a pretty nice motel for $130 per night, which for three nights is approximately $390.  On the other hand, one can pay $300 to rent a trailer, plus a $45 set up fee, plus a $500 deposit, which is approximately $845.  Which is a better deal?

I know what you are thinking — it is about the same if you get the security deposit back.  That would be true, provided the security deposit is returned, which it was not in our case.  Not yet, anyways.

Another difference is that the campground charges too.  In our case, the charge was $35 per night.  If you are keeping up on the math, that is $115 added to the $845, which is approximately $960.  I say approximately because due to circumstances on our trip, I paid the RV park manager another $20 for helping us get in our trailer after one of us, a very attractive person, broke off the key.  The resulting circumstances were that we could not get inside of our $960 trailer.  Of course we could have just looked at it and enjoyed the view, but we actually desired to sleep, so our choices were to break in or stay at one of those $130 motels.  We chose to enlist the assistance of the manager of the RV park, who helped us break in by removing the lock from the door with his power drill, hence the extra $20 expense in the form of a tip.  Consequently, we could get in but we could not lock the door ever again.  Nor can anyone else unless the folks who rented us the trailer fix the lock and replace the key, which they will do and take it out of our security deposit.  We don’t know yet how much that will be, but our $500 is no longer intact.

That might not be so bad, you are thinking.  However, you do not know the rest of the story.  Part of the rest of the story is that one of us, a pretty big guy with little finesse in things mechanical, despite having hitched up trailers hundreds of times, this time broke off the handle for the jack which raises and lowers the trailer so it can be attached to or unattached from the hitch on the back of the truck hauling the trailer.  Our predicament was that I could not unattach our truck from their trailer without the jack operating correctly and it was not operating at all.

Since we needed to either leave our truck with the rental company or self-tattle, the rental company is fully aware of the broken jack handle and has the power to deduct  from the deposit the cost of repair of the jack and replacement of the handle.

Now, those of you who have stayed at motels likely have never been required to perform any plumbing tasks at the motel.  When one rents a travel trailer with a bathroom, one must not only return it clean without benefit of maid service, but also empty what we shall call sewage.  That task is performed by hooking up a sewer hose running from the trailer into a sewage dump or drain, which I done did without pleasure.  The seven children who occupied the Class A motorhome parked next to us informed us that they call the sewer hose a “stinky slinky.”

Our rental company expected us to return our sewer hose/stinky slinky with the trailer.  We fully intended to do so.  But alas, we did not.  The stinky slinky is cleverly stored in a hollow bumper and each end is supposed to be capped off.  We put our stinky slinky in the bumper and capped each end.  Then we drove 300 miles.  When we returned the trailer and confessed to breaking the key, breaking the jack and handle, and damaging the lock, we did not confess to losing the stinky slinky because we were unaware that it was no longer in the hollow bumper.  The rental person checked out our returned trailer and discovered the loss.  No big deal for her.  She has a $500 deposit, you will recall.  We left without the deposit but still hoping some of it will be returned.

Guess what!  We were driving back on Highway 287 when Miss Sugar saw a big hose on the side of the road and claimed it was ours.  So I got out, risked my life crossing the highway, and picked up the large hose.  Sure enough, it was our stinky slinky.  So we drove back and returned it, quite proud of ourselves.  Our pride was diminished by the lady’s unenthusiastic reaction.  She said, “I still have to charge you for it because someone ran over the hose.”  Apparently, dented hoses are unacceptable.  Therefore, the deposit will take another hit.

So what have we learned from this camping experience?  We had so much fun that we are talking about purchasing our own trailer.

P.S.  The manager of the RV park who helped with the lock was wearing a holster on his hip which contained a handgun.  He explained that he did not need a concealed carry permit because his pistol was not concealed.  Indeed it was not, hence the tip.

P.P.S.  He also introduced me to his wife, a lovely woman.  He shared with me that this is his 8th wife.  It has been done before.  You have heard about Henry the 8th.

P.P.P.S.  While sitting in his workshop as he worked on the lock by removing parts in order to ensure it would never lock again, he generously brought out a bottle of actual moonshine.  He showed me his copper tubing and still.  I had never had moonshine before.  I learned that it is to be drunk from the bottle and passed back and forth.  He seemed pleased to have me as his new friend.  He said, “You and me could get into some trouble.”  I reckon so.  I can get into trouble with or without him.

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