Lockdown Day 23: Past Tents, Part 2 / Encierro Día 23: Tienda de Compaña, Parte 2

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

SAN GERALDO WAS LOST IN the Green Mountains of Vermont. Judyshannonstreetwhat was sound asleep. And I was being swamped by a mini mudflow. I grabbed everything around me and made a quick dash for the screen house. We had dropped the plastic side panels before we went to bed. The inside, although damp, remained clean and dry. I spread my wet belongings around the interior. In the damp, there was no hope they’d dry, but it seemed to make sense at the time. We had a little clock in the screen house. It was 5:30 in the morning.

I decided I would make a nice hot pot of coffee. I grabbed the pot and filled it from the water jug. Smart campers don’t leave their food supplies out at night to attract wild animals, so, I realized I’d need to make a quick dash to the car to get the coffee… The car. San Geraldo had the car. I was really worried about him and hoped he was alright.

‘OK.  I’ll boil myself some water and pretend it’s coffee,’ I thought. I just needed to light up the cook stove. We were smart and had kept the matches safe and dry… In the car. SG had the car. He had me worried. I hoped he wasn’t in a ditch.

Judy continued to sleep. So, I thought I’d take a nice hot shower. That would make everything seem better. I took a large green trash bag and cut a whole in the bottom. I grabbed a slightly damp towel, popped the trash bag over my head like a poncho, threw on my baseball cap, and ran down the muddy hill in the driving rain to the little building containing the showers and toilets. I was worried about SG, but we weren’t far from Bennington. He should be fine.

I stripped down and stepped under the shower head. That was when I remembered the slot and the knob. The slot was where you inserted the quarter (25 cents) that would enable you to turn the knob that would produce the hot water. Crap. I didn’t have any change. I would have to get dressed, throw on my trash bag poncho and baseball cap, and get some change. From the car… SG had the car. I worried. The jerk had better not be in a ditch.

I dressed, put on my trash bag and cap, and went back to the screen house. For the next two hours, I drank cold water from a brand new enamel cup and pretended it was hot coffee. It continued to pour. The campground was slick mud. At 7:45, Judy arose. She came running in well-rested and smiling. Then she noticed the car was gone, “Where’s Jerry?” I told her. “Oh.” She said a hot cup of coffee would be great.  Had I made any? I told her. “Oh.” She sighed. “A hot shower would feel so good.” I told her about the quarters. “Oh.” I poured her a cup of pretend coffee and we sat staring through the screen at the pouring rain. We worried about SG. We agreed that if he hadn’t gone into a ditch, he was going to wish he had.  

At 8:20, the rain miraculously stopped. The sun burned through the remaining clouds. We sat in a warm fog. We lifted the rest of the panels on the screen house and peered through the trees at the deserted campground. Around the curve appeared the Isuzu Trooper, canoe on its roof, with San Geraldo behind the wheel. He hopped out wearing fresh clothes and a glowing smile, the obvious result of a good night’s sleep. He had shaved. His hair was perfectly combed.  He was beaming with contentment. Judy and I sat calmly, both imagining what we were going to do with the body.

But, SG then produced a paper bag from behind his back. Hot coffee and a dozen donuts. “Hey,” he said. “I have a great idea. There’s a motel just up the road. Let’s check in. You can take showers and we can go out for a nice breakfast. We can come back here and ‘play-camp’ for lunch and dinner, and then we can get a comfortable night’s sleep at the motel tonight.” He said he hadn’t noticed the motel last night when he drove into Bennington but had spotted it on his way back this morning. He had stayed at a very upscale place in town, but this would be “just fine” for us.

Well, he was right. It was definitely fine. The rains returned that evening right after dinner. We left everything at our campsite (except for the food, the matches, and the money) and spent the next two nights eating Fig Newtons and watching TV.  

Although the canoe never left the top of the car, we were proud of what good campers we were. We may not have slept in the tent after the first night (SG, at all). But we cooked our meals, washed up, managed to build a campfire before the rains started again (I can’t for the life of me remember where we found wood dry enough to burn), and enjoyed S’mores before heading to our motel.

For the next time — there would, of course, be a next time — San Geraldo told me we just needed to buy a bigger tent and a battery operated nightlight. That would solve everything. Do you think I should have believed him? (Click the images to see San Geraldo in my custom-made poncho; the just-fine motel; washing dishes; and S’mores.)

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SAN GERALDO SE PERDIÓ EN las Montañas Verdes de Vermont. Judyshannonstreetwhat estaba profundamente dormida. Y estaba siendo inundado por un mini flujo de lodo. Agarré todo a mi alrededor y corrí rápidamente hacia la casa de la pantalla. Habíamos dejado caer los paneles laterales de plástico antes de acostarnos. El interior, aunque húmedo, permaneció limpio y seco. Extendí mis pertenencias mojadas por el interior. En la humedad, no había esperanza de que se secasen, pero parecía tener sentido en ese momento. Teníamos un pequeño reloj en la casa de la pantalla. Eran las 5:30 de la mañana.

Decidí que haría una buena taza de café caliente. Agarré la olla y la llené de la jarra de agua. Los campistas inteligentes no dejan sus suministros de comida por la noche para atraer a los animales salvajes, así que me di cuenta de que tenía que correr rápidamente hacia el coche para tomar el café … El coche. S§n Geraldo tenía el coche. Estaba realmente preocupado por él y esperaba que estuviera bien.

‘OK. Me herviré un poco de agua y fingiré que es café’, pensé. Solo necesitaba encender la estufa. Éramos inteligentes y mantuvimos los fósforos seguros y secos … En el coche. SG tenía el coche. Me tenía preocupado. Esperaba que no estuviera en una zanja.

Judy siguió durmiendo. Entonces, pensé que tomaría una buena ducha caliente. Eso haría que todo pareciera mejor. Tomé una gran bolsa de basura verde y hice un agujero en el fondo. Agarré una toalla ligeramente húmeda, me puse la bolsa de basura sobre la cabeza como un poncho, me puse la gorra de béisbol, y corrí por la colina fangosa bajo la lluvia que conducía al pequeño edificio que contenía las duchas y los baños. Estaba preocupado por SG, pero no estábamos lejos de Bennington. Él debería estar bien.

Me desnudé y me puse debajo de la ducha. Fue entonces cuando recordé la hucha y la perilla. La hucha fue donde insertó el cuarto (25 centavos) que le permitiría girar la perilla que produciría el agua caliente. Mierda. No tuve ningún cambio. Tendría que vestirme, ponerme el poncho de mi bolsa de basura y la gorra de béisbol, y conseguir algún cambio. Desde el coche … SG tenía el auto. Me preocupé. Esperaba que el imbécil no estuviera en una zanja.

Me vestí, me puse la bolsa de basura y la gorra, y volví a la casa de la pantalla. Durante las siguientes dos horas, bebí agua fría de una nueva taza de esmalte y fingí que era café caliente. Continuó vertiendo. El campamento era barro resbaladizo. A las 7:45, Judy se levantó. Ella vino corriendo bien descansada y sonriente. Luego notó que el auto se había ido, “¿Dónde está Jerry?” Le dije. “Oh.” Ella dijo que una taza de café caliente sería genial. ¿Había hecho alguna? Le dije. “Oh.” Ella suspiró. “Una ducha caliente se sentiría tan bien”. Le conté sobre la moneda. “Oh.” Le serví una taza de café simulado y nos sentamos mirando por la pantalla la lluvia torrencial. Nos preocupamos por SG. Acordamos que si no hubiera entrado en una zanja, desearía haberlo hecho.

A las 8:20, la lluvia se detuvo milagrosamente. El sol ardía a través de las nubes restantes. Nos sentamos en una cálida niebla. Levantamos el resto de los paneles en la pantalla de la casa y miramos a través de los árboles en el campamento desierto. Alrededor de la curva apareció el Isuzu Trooper, canoa en el techo, con San Geraldo al volante. Saltó con ropa fresca y una sonrisa radiante, el resultado obvio de una buena noche de sueño. Se había afeitado. Su cabello estaba perfectamente peinado. Estaba radiante de alegría. Judy y yo nos sentamos tranquilamente, ambas imaginando lo que íbamos a hacer con el cuerpo.

Pero, SG luego sacó una bolsa de papel a sus espaldas. Café caliente y una docena de donuts. “Hola”, dijo. “Tengo una gran idea. Hay un motel justo arriba de la carretera. Vamos a registrarnos. Podeis tomar una ducha y podemos salir a tomar un buen desayuno. Podemos regresar aquí y ‘fingir campamento’ para el almuerzo y la cena, y luego podemos dormir cómodamente en el motel esta noche”. Dijo que no había notado el motel anoche cuando condujo a Bennington, pero lo había visto en su camino de regreso esta mañana. Se había alojado en un lugar muy exclusivo de la ciudad, pero esto estaría “bien” para nosotros.

Pues tenía razón. Definitivamente estuvo bien. Las lluvias volvieron esa noche justo después de la cena. Dejamos todo en nuestro campamento (excepto la comida, los fósforos y el dinero) y pasamos las siguientes dos noches comiendo Fig Newtons y Oreos viendo la televisión.

Aunque la canoa nunca dejó la parte superior del coche, estábamos orgullosos de los buenos campistas que éramos. Es posible que no hayamos dormido en la tienda después de la primera noche (SG, en absoluto). Pero cocinamos nuestras comidas, nos lavamos, pudimos hacer una fogata antes de que las lluvias comenzaran de nuevo (no puedo recordar por donde encontré la madera lo suficientemente seca como para quemar), y disfrutamos de S’mores antes de dirigirnos a nuestro motel.

Para la próxima vez, por supuesto, habrá una próxima vez, San Geraldo me dijo que solo necesitábamos comprar una tienda más grande y una luz nocturna que funcionara con baterías. Eso resolvería todo. ¿Crees que debería haberle creído? (Haz clic en las imágenes para ver San Geraldo en mi poncho hecho a medida, el motel, lavando platos, y S’mores).

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 23: Past Tents, Part 2 / Encierro Día 23: Tienda de Compaña, Parte 2”

  1. Now THAT was an adventure to remember! SG knew he had better bring a ‘peace offering’ to offer you and Judy. lol
    Did you ever get to use that canoe?

    1. Jim:
      The canoe did not come off the top of the car once during that trip. But it looked good up there, didn’t it?

    1. Bob:
      I hear that a lot… about roughing it. I still love the idea of camping, but don’t think I would go to the trouble anymore. But I love the sounds at night… raccoons breaking into campers’ supplies, bears sniffing around…

  2. A few times in my life I have vowed, “NEVER AGAIN” that would have been one, in fact I would vow Never, not even a first time.

    1. David:
      We never did say never again… although we did give all our camping supplies away.

  3. Oh Michi…. I have a memory of great anguish…after hearing SG’s story of the great motel to learn that he’d checked out…before we could have hot showers

    1. Judyshannonstreetwhat:
      So do I. And remember how hard it was to convince the owner of the motel to let us check in at 9:00 in the morning? But what a great time.

  4. Oh, Scoot, this made me laugh so hard! It also made me miss tent camping even more! Such an adventure 🙂

  5. Camping in the rain is MISERABLE! What a great story you pulled out that experience. I used to love to go tent camping. Our life now is like never-ending glamping, which suits us just fine.

    1. Wilma:
      That was the worst rain I’d ever experienced while camping. But it was still such a great time… after that first night.

  6. That sort of reminds me of the one and only camping trip with my husband in a tent. He didn’t leave but did end up sleeping in the truck – and it wasn’t even raining! We now rent warm fully equipped cabins when we find the need.

    1. Cheapchick:
      We did a cabin camping trip with SG’s extended family. It was very pleasant [mostly].

  7. Your title reminds me of the school newspaper at my high school. One of the “reporters” had a column that defined the cool new words us kids would use. “Intense” was one of them. If something was beyond cool, it was “intense.” My classmate’s definition: Intense. Canvas structure for sleeping. Ex.: Boy scouts sleep intense.

  8. What a great story. I’ve never been much of a camper, and I’m not going to start now! (In fact, I don’t think I’ve been tent camping since I was a Boy Scout in the late ’70s — though I did camp in a van with a friend of mine in college.)

    1. Steve:
      I do love tent camping… except for all the work involved. And I remember van camping with a couple of friends on a spring break trip down to … Florida. We probably passed each other on the street/beach.

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