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The wonderful virtual Beatles camping adventure!
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5 April 2014
2.00pm
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Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost
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@meanmistermustard - I've never been asked to derail a thread before. Nor have I needed much prompting to do so. a-hard-days-night-george-10

However, since this IS a thread that has the word 'camping' in the title, here goes: 

I don't remember the year, but it was Memorial Day weekend which means mid Spring. The setting was the Mogollon Rim  (pronounced MUGGY-own) in central Arizona. Not too hot, not too cold, but unpredictable in Springtime. There were seven of us going up on Friday night, to be joined by another couple Saturday morning.

So, after work on Friday night we packed up and met at one of the couples' house to rally and take off together because only one of the couples knew the spot where we were headed. Incidentally, they were the only ones with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. That should have sent up a red flag right there. It was already dark when we left Phoenix and we had to drive 90 minutes just to get to the head of the dirt road that spans the Rim. The unimproved Rim road is about 200 miles long, no pavement, just dirt and rocks...oh Mother of Christ, the rocks. We were ONLY going 30 miles into the woods - how hard would that be? HA! After a 90 minute drive and another 45 minutes on this beaten up dirt road, I was very happy when our little caravan pulled over. Finally, we are here...or so I thought. Imagine my dismay when our fearless leader (who I still have not spoken to since this trip) informed us "we still have about 10 miles to go - do you want to go on, or should we just camp here for the night and get there tomorrow?" After what seemed like an hour of stunned silence (more like 20 seconds, really) I decided I needed a cold beer or seven. So, fearless leader proceeds to pull off the road toward a clearing. I dutifully followed behind in my little car for about 15 feet until it sank into a mud bog. 30 minutes later, his 4-wheel drive vehicle and all of us pushing managed to free my car. We still needed a place to camp. A half mile ahead, we found a very large stone ledge on the Rim side overlooking the desert valley below. It was a beautiful moonlit night and the view was amazing. After a few cocktails, we were finally unwound from our trip and were able to laugh off our previous misfortunes. Then, we all turned in for a good night's sleep. HA! I was awoken by something hitting my face. I soon discovered, I was being struck by the sides of my own tent. Zag and I had a 6-man tent; a fairly good size for just two people. Even though we were sleeping directly in the middle of this dome, the gale force winds outside were making it more dunce-cap shaped and we were being slapped in the face by our own tent...in gale force winds...on a ledge...about 2000 feet above the desert floor. I got out to look around and decided I had to urinate. I only mention that because (this was quite funny looking back) the stream came out in a straight line due to the winds and was carried over the Rim at blinding speeds. Had I thought of it at the time, I could have written "Zig was here" in the desert below. 

That was only the first night. On to Day 2.

We finally reached our destination on what started out as a gorgeous sunlit morning. While waiting for the other couple to join us later in the morning, we cooked breakfast, enjoyed coffee and a few of us went on a really nice walk to a pristine mountain pond that not a lot of people know about. I was thinking that things were looking up. Until I looked up. That is when I noticed, off in the distance, some ominous dark gray clouds. This being central Arizona in Springtime, we were not too worried. The storm could be headed anywhere and probably wouldn't last long anyway. HA! About 30 minutes later we were all huddled in our respective tents, sheltered from a deluge that would have left Noah saying "thanks but no thanks - I'm not going out in THIS". After the rain let up a little, not stopping completely, fearless leader decided he needed something from town, would anybody want to take a ride? In a moment during which I must have been temporarily lobotomized, I said "OK". Halfway out of the Rim road, it stopped raining because it turned into hail. I shit you not. When it finally stopped, the ground was as white as if it had snowed. Long story longer, we made it back to camp and I was greeted by a very unhappy stern-faced Zag. With God as my witness, I never ever wish to see that look again. The other couple somehow managed to find us. We all, rain soaked, cold and miserable drank ourselves into oblivion; threw all of our rain soaked gear into our tents and slept in our cars that night as it was the only dry area in which to sleep. Zag and I had talked it over with the late arriving couple. No matter what the rest of the group wants to do, we are leaving in the morning. Mercifully, that was the end of Day 2. 

The morning of Day 3 was another beautiful sunny and warm one. I turned to Zag and she said, "don't even think about it". I did not. While wringing out and packing everything up, I discovered that my car had a flat tire. Oh joy. So, I get out the spare tire and the jack. Pumping the jack handle did not lift the car. It drove the jack into the muddy earth below. I found a big flat rock on which to set the jack, jacked up the car, changed the tire, threw everything into the car, gathered up the sheep and got the flock outta there. The other couple, Zag and I drove out and headed into town hoping and praying we could find a hotel with a vacancy on the Sunday of a Holiday weekend in one of the most tourist laden areas of Arizona. As luck (what little of it there was) would have it, we found a hotel that would have a vacancy (one room, 2 beds) at around 2PM. It was only 11AM. The 4 of us were incredibly muddy, tired, hungover. and in desperate need of bathing. While in that condition, we hung out at a Pizza Hut eating veeeerrrry slowly to buy us more time. We finally checked in to the hotel, showered in turn and started to unwind. Next door to the hotel was a little bar that featured live music nightly. We figured we would lay low for the rest of the day nursing our hangovers and then go next door to take in some music and maybe a few beers if the mood struck us. Until that time, we all decided to take a nap to recharge. This was at about 5PM. When we woke up it was Monday morning. We all slept through what promised to be the only thing that would have salvaged our weekend. We packed, exchanged hugs and drove home. For 2 hours Zag and I drove in silence that would have unnerved a librarian.

On Tuesday morning, just before heading back to work after a botched Holiday weekend, I threw all of our camping gear on the side of the road at the end of the driveway with a sign that proclaimed "FREE". By the grace of God and all of his disciples, it was gone when I got home.

Hey, you asked...

The following people thank Zig for this post:

Annadog40, Ahhh Girl, IveJustSeenAFaceo, meanmistermustard, Mr. Kite, Bulldog, Von Bontee

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

28 January 2015
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