Camping in the rain sucks – 26/28

Back in 1996 I was in Boy Scouts, and during that summer I made my way up to Wisconsin with my Boy Scout troop to a camp called Freeland Leslie. It was a good summer camp, plenty of fun Boy Scout related activities and a canteen that sold us sour candy and Mountain Dew by the boatload.
Yet while we were out there, it rained; to say that it rained a lot was an understatement and interestingly enough while we had a lot of rain Aurora (where most of us were from) had a rain storm that produced 16.91 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. The 2nd highest 24 hour rainfall in the nation’s history, outside of hurricanes.

My tent unfortunately had a leak from the side and on top which became more and more evident as the night continued. I felt naked and lost in the heavy downpour, I was up most of the night and I was wet to the bone. I couldn’t leave my tent in the thick of it, because where was I to go? Sure I could’ve gone knocking tent-to-tent to gimme shelter, but I didn’t. It put a damper on things, but eventually the sun came up and warmed us up again and camp life returned to some resemblance of normal.

I’m glad that wasn’t the model for future Boy Scout summer camps for me. That was probably the worst weather-related camping experience with my Boy Scout troop, it got better from there. πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~

Camping 201; not necessarily for beginners, but for returners

So while I was camping I…wasn’t completely prepared for it, so I’m going to dispense with some camping knowledge for those who are returners to camping not necessarily beginners.

Have appropriate clothes – Might seem obvious but that’s what sent me home early. I had plenty of warm weather shirts and hoodies,Β  alas I didn’t have a good blanket and pair of pants that would handle cold weather.

Bring more than one pair of shoes – Bring a pair of comfortable shoes for whenever and a more durable pair for hiking and whatnot. When it came to my camping, I had two pairs that were comfortable, as most of the hiking I did wasn’t strenuous but it’s good to be prepared in this way.

Be hospitable – I like entertaining people, even when I camp. So I packed accordingly to share what I had with others πŸ™‚ Alas I was turned down by those I invited to my campsite for cheesecake and coffee, but I was still prepared in this way.

Accept the kindness of strangersΒ (within reason) – At my last campsite a woman who worked the campground gave me 15 pieces of hardwood for my campfire! She even unloaded it from her pickup truck. There’s something to accepting kindness from others, they hardly fit the “stranger” bill afterwards.

Cheat if needed be (when it comes to campfires) – I love getting a campfire going, but at the second campsite I was at there wasn’t a lot of kindling to get a fire going to fuel my firewood. So I went to the local grocery store, bought charcoal and lighter fluid, voila! Campfire! Given that it was charcoal it was sustainable to get my campfire going for quite a while. It’s okay to use these, no need to be a pissy purist if you’re unable to get a fire going.

Take photos – I like photography already, but having snapshots of where I went and who I met and what I ate…they’re a good way to recall such trips. Plus you can always show the photos you have taken to others once you come back πŸ™‚

Bring what you need, but don’t go overboard – I think I brought more stuff than I needed on my camping trip. Realizing that I know how to streamline next time I go camping, because I didn’t read the books I brought and some other things kind of took up space because I thought I was going to use it, I thought wrong.

Carry some ca$h with you – I didn’t have this problem, but some places you go might not accept your debit/credit card.

Shock cords are not universal – I found this out the hard way 😦 As I grabbed the wrong ones to my tent (I have two tents). It was more of a lean-to than a tent, and one night/morning it collapsed upon me, I survived if anyone wants to know πŸ˜‰

Bring an axe/hatchet/knife/pointy stick – Yes, for assisting in the camping and defending if necessary. The former came into play quite often, but thankfully never the latter.

Manners please – Manners, ’nuff said.

Bring a cooler – I have one and it served me well in keeping my food cool and all in one place.

Bring a lot of water bottles – Thankfully I had potable at each of my campsites, but realizing that it might not have panned out that way I brought 5 Nalgene bottles just in case.

and lastly…

Have fun! – Kind of self-explanatory, but sometimes it’s more of an endurance than a trip or dare I say vacation. Go to town, go walking, go swimming, do something you’ve never done before, try the local grub and craft brews, write postcards to your peeps (don’t forget the stamp in the upper right hand corner), write, journal, meditate or pray, etc.

Happy camping!

~Nathanael~

Memphis 10-10 to 10-13

I’ll stay in Memphis – Elvis Presley

Thursday morning at 9:05am I left Oswego IL for Memphis

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9 hours, 540 miles later I arrived at my friend Jimmy‘s apartment. He was already chillaxing on his porch in wait of me (perhaps). I was quickly introduced to Andrew, Cory, and Gabe. Ate dinner, built community, laughed a good deal…and before I knew it, it was nearly 2am!

I jumped in my rental car and headed to T.O. Fuller State Park, 20 minute drive I arrived to my campsite and…cleared out my backseat and fell asleep! Reader’s note: The back seat of a 2012 Toyota Corolla is more spacious than it seems, especially when it comes to sleeping.

I woke up to a barred owl hooting above my car, freshened up and set up camp and then headed out to Pho Hoa Binh for some inexpensive Vietnamese food for lunch. Best $6.22 I have ever spent on Vietnamese buffet!

Memphis being a town chockful of history, I decided to go the Civil Rights historical route and went to the National Civil Rights Museum, the site in which Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was heavy being there, getting an overview of the Civil Rights movement, the bullet shell/pellets/rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald…it was heavy, and almost for me too much.

The following day I was a part of the I’m Sorry Campaign at Memphis Pride.Β  Now as someone who’s used to a large crowd and large parade ala Chicago Pride, I wasn’t really expecting that small of a parade.Β  Still the element of it ending in Robert R. Church Park and there being booths for all different groups/vendors that was enjoyable. I made the rounds to the various churches, I was given a lot of thanks for my participation in the I’m Sorry Campaign and several invites to visit them the following day for church.

Sunday morning I went to Corey’s house church and had a good time. They asked a random question; “what is your earliest memory?” While I didn’t give mine, I did give the one surrounding being on America’s Funniest Videos with my sister at the mall in the early 90s.

All in all it has been a good trip thus far πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~