AMR contributor Richard Rodriguez offered a pretty good account of what can only be described as an epic camping trip from nearly 30 years ago, but there are some salient details he overlooked that I want to add or clarify based on my hazy memory of this adventure.
As I recall, Rich was in charge of getting the tent.
And as I recall, the manufacturer’s instructions recommended pitching the tent, wetting it down with a hose and letting it dry to help activate some kind of waterproofing.
And as I recall, Rich did not do that.
The result was there were numerous wet spots that rendered parts of the tent inhospitable.
But that was not the end of it:
As I recall, John somehow got his hands on beer and ice cream and proceeded to fumigate the tent with a green fog that damn near gassed us the way an exterminator would if he were trying to rid a house of termites. (Picture the faux extermination scenes from “parts of an essay powerpoint.”)
Pedro and I ended up sleeping in Rich’s Dad’s station wagon because the tent was already overcrowded and did I mention that parts of the sleeping area were also now wet?
That Pedro and I were relegated to the car meant the two biggest guys in our group would be in the most confined space.
I do not remember which of us ended up sprawled across the front seats and contending with the steering wheel, but I do clearly recall that we needed chiropractors in the morning!
Of all of us, I think I was the only former Boy Scout and the one with the most experience outdoors and with camping.
But you would have had no idea of that based on the way I was behaving.
I was petrified/obsessed with raccoons that were foraging in a nearby garbage can. Every five minutes, I would poke my head out of the tent with a flashlight like some crazed movie usher to see what they were doing.
As Rich noted, there was a steel-cage belching contest that I recall Gary winning on the strength of a masterful performance, which featured quantity, volume and endurance.
Though I finished that weekend dethroned as a title-holding belcher, I went home with many great memories of this trip!
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