I didn't. Not at all. How could this be??
Well, Saturday was a football write-off. Ohio State football, specifically. Half the day gone right there. The rest of the day? Family in for a visit. Speaking of which, I made a mental note at the time to share "Things Not to Say Out Loud #32" with you. We were all sitting out on the front porch on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon when my sister noted that there weren't any planes flying into or out of Bolton Field. She asked me why that would be the case on such a flyable day. My honest (but ill-thought) reply was that it was a three day weekend and they were probably stuck at home with family. Well, I didn't really mean it that way. But just to cover all of the bases, I hereby absolve myself of any responsibility for any injured feelings by utilizing the now ubiquitous dodge, "I misspoke." What I meant to say, of course, was that there are often things more important than flying.
So with that in mind, the remainder of the weekend was spent on a ground transportation based camping trip to The Farm(tm) with co-pilot/co-camper Rick. The weather was nice enough to fly there, but loading all of the required and/or desired camping equipment into the RV-6 seemed a daunting task. Besides, it's a nice drive. I have a route that I've spent years refining; it's such a direct path that I often parallel it on my flying trips out there. The lion's share of it is comprised of remote country roads. I find being the only (or nearly only) car on the road to be much more relaxing than dealing with the trucks, cops, construction, and crowds on the highways. Except when, as happened this weekend, one of the roads is closed and no detour directions are provided. And with no GPS in the car, either. Sometimes flying is not only faster than driving, but easier too.
After blazing a new route on-the-fly (so to speak) we arrived at the camp site and started getting set up for fishing, eating, and lying recumbent in tents hoping (futilely, in my case) that fatigue and/or beer would mask enough of the physical discomfort to allow some sleep. I had attempted to prepare sufficiently for all three activities with a trip to Wal-Mart on Saturday afternoon where I procured a cheap sleeping pad and a new fishing rod/reel combo, after which I spent some time in the kitchen cutting up meat and veggies to make beef stew. Work before pleasure, so we got our tents set up, a fire started, and the stew stewing over the fire. Then, the fishing!
I had picked up a $9 microlight fishing combo from Wal-Mart and a pack of 6 light treble hook lures. After 20 minutes of trying to get it to work, the co-pilot repaired it and we were ready to go. An interesting thing about our little fishing area down at the camp site is that to catch a fish, you have to not want to. I hate catching fish because I don't like holding them and removing the hook. I like to blame bad parenting for it, but the truth is that I got stuck by a blue gill when I was a kid and still carry a grudge. So I caught four. Or the same two fish, once each. The jury never returned a verdict on that. But the thing is, well, Rick. He actually wanted to catch a fish, but was never able to land one despite a couple of close calls. Me, I'm perfectly happy just tossing the lure in and reeling it in, so I caught four. Just note, though, that another interesting thing is that the fish (at least the 2 or 4 that I caught) are aquarium size. Really, really small. If you measured them against the $15 worth of equipment that I bought, it would come out to $1 per centimeter.
Meanwhile, dinner was slow cooking over the fire, just waiting me to finish the job of getting all six lures stuck on underwater branches or rocks. Fishing to me is just like golf: it's always an open question as to which will come first, the 18th green or me running out of golf balls. After losing two of my six lures, I decided to save the remainder to lose in the morning. Pacing myself, as it were. All things in moderation.
Fishing done but dinner not, there was ample time to relax and have a couple of beers. It's nice sitting there drinking beer while listening to the symphony of the water, fire, and crickets, and not having to elect a designated driver. But I have to counter that with the night of getting in and out of the tent every couple of hours to water the weeds that would inevitably result if I didn't limit the number of beers that I drank. It's a balancing act, to be sure.
After dinner and a few more hours of feeding wood into the fire, it was time to hit the tent and see if I could get any sleep. Which, well, not so much. The low-cost sleeping pad from Wal-Mart earned the moniker The Discomfort Amplification Pad for its incredible ability to make hard, bumpy ground even harder and bumpier. Nope, not much sleep at all. Soon enough, though, the sun came up and I was able to get back to the job of losing the rest of my lures. That took less than an hour, so there was nothing left to do but get started on the most difficult camping task of all, getting the tent back in the bag it came in. I swear, it would be easier to push a calf back into a cow. After a protracted effort, I finally got the thing back in the bag, only to have to be re-do the entire operation when I got home and realized that I had left my watch in the tent.
A little more than a minute of camping eZen(tm):