A camping trip without rain is like a hot dog without hair on it.

We had a freak rainstorm here today, complete with lightning, thunder and hail. It caught us completely by surprise; we were playing tennis in the sun and all of a sudden the wind picked up and a monster crowd of purple clouds blew over the top of us and started dumping. It reminded me of a camping trip Brian and I attempted a few years ago.
It was a beautiful day out, and my Brian suggested that we head up into the foothills and find a camping spot. I was fighting a cold, and Amanda and a few others had to work, so it ended up just being Brian and I who were available, but I did so want to go camping so we picked up a few necessities, like hot-dogs and beer, and hit the open road. We drove up towards Lake Tahoe, top down on the convertible (P.O.S.'91 VW Cabriolet) checking out sites on the way.
Eventually we found one we liked complete with nearby bubbling brook and no immediate neighbors to distract us from the great outdoors. We set up the tent, made a fire, cracked a couple beers and threw some dogs on. After having a dog, Brian decided to try and catch us some fish from the stream. He wandered away with his pole in hand and I reclined on the picnic table and stared at the sky. "Hmm", I thought, "might rain".
While I was pondering that ponderable, the camp host pulled up on an electric golf cart. He was a short, skinny 60-something with a grey, military issue flat-top."Howdy" he said.
"Howdy" I replied, smiling.
"Good spot!" he said, pausing and returning the smile.
"It's $40 a night, how long you boys staying?"
"Uh, probably just tonight." I looked around for Brian.
"Okay, well then it's fordee bucks"
"Okay, well, the other guy is paying, so I'll have him head over there when he gets back." He looked around for a minute, then left without saying anything. Brian and I had agreed that he'd pay for the site, as I'd spent a bunch on supplies. Brian appeared from the trees a moment later. He was smoking a cigarette and as he approached he dropped it on the ground and put his fishing pole where I'd been laying.
"No luck" he said, and opened another beer.
"The host guy was here, you need to pay him $40" I said, sipping my beer. He stared thoughtfully at the fire.
"I don't have any cash, we'll pay tomorrow" he concluded. The host pulled up again from where he'd been schmoozing with an older couple down the way. Brian explained the situation.
"Nope, you have to pay tonight." He must have decided we were a flight risk. Brian stared at the fire more while the host and I watched in growing discomfort.
"Okay, we'll go get money. Where's the nearest ATM?" The host told him where it was, ten miles up the hill and then sped away. We stood in silence for a moment, during which it started sprinkling.
"Let's just go home" he said.
"I just spent $80 on all this" I replied, pointing around at the new cooler, food scattered around the site, camp-tableware and booze. "Plus we're already set up."
"Well I don't have $40." Brian had recently inherited a bunch of money from a dead relative, in addition to a bunch of stocks he already had from another inheritance. He had five cars, two boats, a scooter and rented a nice house with a garage big enough to keep them all. He was also a notorious cheapskate and a liar. I'm pretty sure he'd intended on ditching in the morning before the host made his rounds to collect.
"Um... yes you do @#$% head!" I replied calmly.
"I haven't cashed out any stocks and I lost my bank card." The rain got heavier. "Let's go." he finished, then he began packing things up. Pissed but defeated, I followed suit, rolling up sleeping bags, taking down the tent, etc., all the while cursing under my breath between coughs (the cold). It started hailing. We managed to get everything packed into the car in about six minutes. We settled into the car silently. Brian sped out of the campground, passed the confused host, and onto the highway. The worn top on the convertible was flapping wildly, and I was being misted with rainwater that was seeping through it. I coughed and hugged myself.
About 10 minutes into the hour and a half long drive home, the top ripped completely off the car. We were being pelted by torrential rain and hail at 75 miles per hour. "I have to get that" he said, pulling over. I pulled my arms into the torso of my sweatshirt and cursed. It was freezing, and we still had 80 minutes to go. Brian wrestled the decrepit top down into the back seat with our stuff and we took off. Occasionally something would fly out behind us, but I was too cold and pissed to care. I kept thinking the rain would stop when we got lower down, but it continued pissing on us all the way home. By the time we got into town, we were soaked to the bone and shivering violently. I was coughing every couple seconds and felt as sick as a dog. He dropped me off at my house and I got out without a word and walked inside to take a hot shower. He never apologized and he still has my cooler.

Any good camping/rain stories?


GhostRider said...

That is the saddest camping story I've ever heard!

When I was in college, a bunch of friends went to Ft. Pickens, FL to camp and scuba dive and fish (and drink). One of the girls took a header off the seawall and broke out a few of her teeth and gashed her chin. So, most of the "camping trip" involved hanging out drunk in a hospital emergency room while we watched Michelle get stitched up and have emergency dentistry. The doctors and nurses were NOT pleased with our drunken hijinks!

Erica said...

Might want to change the names to protect . . . you know who.

Erica said...

But, a camping story:

Last year, summer turning into fall, we went on an annual camping trip with cousins. Due to our fidelity to the camping effort, we drove up to the site in the Sierra Nevada knowing that we'd have to wake up at about 5 the next morning and leave for a soccer tournament down in the flatlands, then drive back up into the mountains in the afternoon. We did. As a show of gratitude for our situation, one of the cousins who shall remain nameless (Tom) enlisted the assistance of his son (identified only as N.) and planted cellphones in our tent. One went off at about midnight, shrilling the chilling words, "Red rum! Red rum!" over and over above our heads. We finally found it in a tent pocket, shut it off and pitched it somewhere. About 10 minutes later, another phone went off with a sound of some wild animal in full roar. After digging that one out too, we likewise pitched it. Foot- or pawsteps around the outside of the tent discomfited us and kept us up a good part of the night. The next morning, looking bleary and resentful, we met the blank stares of our cousins and retreated back to our tent, where we gleefully loaded several blurry, dark photos on the cellphones and tried to use up their memory.