Thursday, December 11, 2008

Epic Camping Trip Part I - Lost in Wal-Mart

About a month ago, I went with the Newman Club on a camping trip to Blue Springs State Park.

The Newman Club is an organization for Catholic students, and it just so happens that it's full of ourdoorsmen/women, too. It's great to be involved in a group full of students who I know will only build me up as a person, and not tear down my character and morality...Those groups are hard to come by on a college campus.

So we set off one Friday night after our classes were finished for the hour-and-a-half drive to Orange City.

Lucas (Caesar), HurricaneTeen (Octavius), and Hunter (Cassius)

Our first stop was to be at the Super Wal-Mart down the road to pick up some charcoal, lighter fluid, and ice. My friend, Hunter, and I were sent into the massive store armed only with a HAM radio and our wallets.

After about 15 minutes of searching, we could not find the charcoal. We searched up and down the store, probably walking upwards of a mile, in futility. Embarrassed, we radioed our situation to our friend and club president, Paul:

Hey, Paul...We're lost. Send help.
You're lost??
Yes, we can't find the charcoal and we don't know where we are.
At this point, everybody in the van is laughing at us.
Alright, ummm, I'll send Francine in to rescue you.
And might I add that we're thoroughly enjoying your predicament here in the parking lot.
Thanks, Paul.
I chuckle when I think of some local HAM radio operator listening in to our conversation. What must have been running through his head....

We find our way to the front of the store and meet our savior. Of course, within five minutes of her arrival, we find both the charcoal and the lighter fluid (who knew they were outside, right next to each other????) and pick up the ice at the front of the store.

Any wise person would abandon a camping trip after such a sketchy start, but we are college students, so we pushed wisdom aside and pressed on.

We chattered on the HAM radio with the other carload of people going on the trip and with Paul's dad, who was stationed on the coast to watch the space shuttle launch. HAM radio is one of the things I have picked up since coming to FIT. It is great in more ways than one.

We arrived at Blue Springs State Park to find the gates to the park closed. Again, any wise person would have turned around and called it quits, but we're college students. We followed another guy in after he punched in some secret code on the gate entrance. I'm sure he felt perfectly comfortable with that. After all we DID have reservations.

Just after we arrived and checked in with the campground hosts, we turned our eyes to the eastern sky just in time to see a bright fireball ascend into the heavens. What a view. No pictures. Sorry, I was too caught up in the moment.


Epic Camping Trip Part II - "It looks like a waterbed."