Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saga part 7, Beer and Mustard

I rarely get up in time to have breakfast before I have to do whatever it is I'm going to do.
I blame this on the fact that I really "come alive" once the sun goes down. I love the nighttime, so I tend to stay up late and enjoy as much of it as I can.

I began somewhat breaking this habit over the course of this Summer. Emphasis on "somewhat."

I awoke plenty early that Tuesday morning. Normally "snoozing" means the obvious, hitting the snooze button several times once the alarm goes off, but on mornings like that one it's different: I woke up several times before the alarm, and only went back to sleep so that I wouldn't find myself having too much time to kill first thing in the morning. I don't want to have enough time to get distracted, just enough to do what I need to do.

I turned my alarm off at 5:45. I sat up, alert and awake, pulled some pants on and crawled out of my tent to find...

A bagel.

Well, not really just a bagel, but not much else either.

There was also a trail of debris leading into the woods, made up of the remains of such items as plastic grocery bags, half-chewed sandwich rolls, and various empty food packages. The trail led me to a tree, behind which I located a startled raccoon who had, just prior to his startling, been quite preoccupied with the enjoyment of my bag of delicious cookies.

He quickly did what any prudent raccoon would do under such circumstances: He looked at me quite foolishly for an instant, then darted off as quickly as he could. Carrying the bag of cookies of course.
I barked at him and he dropped the bag so that he might dart more quickly.

I cleaned up his mess back toward my tent to see what I had left that was salvageable. Most what remained was still at least chewed on or tainted in some way. One of my everything bagels made it and so did the cream cheese that I'd gotten in small, sealed packets. Good, I could have breakfast. There were a couple of cookies that seemed alright, so I went ahead and ate those.

And I had beer, and mustard.
Most of the marshmallows made it.
I also had the two canned ice coffees I forgot to mention in the previous chapter.

I put my remaining bagel into my suitcase, grabbed my towels* and Dr. Bronner's, opened a coffee and went off to have a shower.

You may be wondering why I didn't put my food in my suitcase to begin with, and I'm glad you asked.
I didn't want anything coming into my tent (where I wanted to have my suitcase) to get at food.
If something was going to get my food, I didn't want it to rip up my suitcase too. (These are the things you have to think of when you don't have a car to put your stuff in.)

I've never seen a shower like the ones at Green Lakes National Park before. There was just a push button where the knobs would normally be, you push it in and the water flows for about a minute. There was no way to control the temperature, but after a few pushes of the button it was comfortably warm. It was a little bit aggravating to have to push the button every minute, but I did really appreciate it as a conservation tool. It also kept me from just standing there enjoying the hot water for a while like I normally do, and so therefore wound up giving me a little more time.

After showering and having my breakfast of a wonderful everything bagel, untoasted unfortunately, I packed away my things and prepared to head out. Since the marshmallows were the only thing left that could be easily gotten to, I put them into one of my saddlebags instead of leaving them at the campsite. I gathered up the remaining crumbs and walked a good couple of hundred feet out into the woods from my site, dumping them on the ground for the next lucky varmint.

I felt a little bit bad starting up my noisy motorcycle early in the morning in a campground, but there were plenty of signs of folks already stirring around me. I like to think I didn't wake anyone, and if I did that they got back to sleep easily enough. (Lots of people seem to be up pretty early when camping. I guess when folks are away from their TVs there isn't as much to do late at night.) I normally start the bike and let it warm up while I get all my gear on, but this time I waited till I was suited up and then rolled out with the choke on and as little throttle as possible. I figured if I had no choice but to BE noisy, I could at least be courteous and get away as quickly and quietly as I could.

* For packing light, I use 2 small linen towels instead of a big terry one. They're very absorbent, they dry quicker in the sun, and they take up less space. For my pack, I folded these up long and narrow, and tucked them into the flaps on the outside of my suitcase that hold a backrest. They didn't take up space inside, and they pushed the backrest into a perfect position for long riding.

Also, Dr. Bronner's is an excellent all-purpose soap. It can clean all of you and most of your stuff, and if you care it's also biodegradable. That's not a product plug, it's a recommendation for something helpful in minimalist packing.


  1. The Shower is the same setup found in most jails built in the last 60 or so years.. A small plastic spoon wedged into the space between button and fitting will keep the water running and more importantly, the HOT water running to that particular spigot.. Everyone knows this, I dont wanna have to explain this again okay? OK...

  2. LOL

    Maybe not everyone knows this, though maybe everyone who's been in jail knows it.
    I don't think I wanna know what you were doing with a spoon in a prison shower.

    And... I didn't mind. I like tools and ideas that help conserve things like water and our environment. I'd like to continue enjoying trees and parks for as long as possible.

  3. AHHH dont underestimate the usefullness of plastic utencils in ANY situation!! The uses in a situation where mundane everyday items becomes a valuable comodity is quickly learned in a jailcell that will carry forward into everyday life.. (didnt I tell you about having a towel and toiletpaper AT ALL TIMES?) The principal behind the shower setup is akin to the lo-flo toilet, looks good on paper and not so much in pratice.. Anyway I made some toilet wine, want some?

  4. And... I was carrying TWO towels on this trip.

  5. How the hell did I miss this entry? Anyway, amusing story. Poor raccoon. You stole his dinner! :D

  6. HIS dinner?

    Heck... HE got enough food to fill a creature 10 times his size for a day and a half, in one sitting. All I got was two stale cookies and a bagel.