July dawned warm and early, I tried sleeping in, but didn’t succeed. My son protested breakfast outdoors, as he prefers “hanging” out while I prepare breakfast in bed. (Or bag, as the case may be.) I didn’t make that outdoor kitchen for nothing…
My mom busted out the griddle for some fried eggs on toast (which my brother buttered). Coffee, tea, & cocoa warmed all our bellies. We could tell it would be a hot day, and decided it best to do any riding in the morning or evening when it’s cool. Wasting little time, we gassed up and took off.
I was a little nervous, as my four-wheeler wasn’t running perfect. When under load (going uphill, etc.) it bogged down real easy, and I hadn’t found time to adjust the jetting to perfection. I didn’t have the previous year’s experience, so I let my brother lead the way.
Trying to hang back, we still ate dust all the way to the ‘Old State Highway.’ We cruised down this improved road, admiring the nearby farms and their décor. Something about the shoes on fence posts and old machinery really got me relaxed. I was really enjoying the ride.
When we met back up, I offered to go first, taking a route we rode last year. (Well he drove, I was the passenger…) He’d be delayed, due to dust, but would meet me back at camp. I had my radio, he did not. While I pride myself on my sense of direction (orientation) I hadn’t remembered all these turn offs from last year. Following my internal compass, I knew camp was Southwest of my location by a couple miles.
The abridged version of the story (almost too late, I know) is that I kept heading South, but couldn’t find reputable roads heading west, just east. “Oh well,” I figured, “I’ll get there eventually, even if I have to find pavement first.”
Coming out of the hills, two ridgelines away, I realized I had stumbled upon a bad neighborhood. Maybe it was all the abandoned, shattered RVs, the shacks, parts, and warning signs (OR the 6ft black plastic sheeting keeping prying eyes out) but I did not feel comfortable at all. I felt naked. All week I had packed my firearm around, but leaving private property, (in California) I couldn’t carry it. I hit that paved road, and cruised the 5 or so miles back to camp in gratitude.
I arrive at camp to wake my aunt from her nap and find no sign of my brother, wife, or their four wheeler. Surely, they must have been tired waiting and come looking for me. I may not have heard them call on the radio while riding. “They haven’t come back yet,” my aunt declared. Hmm, now I’m starting to worry. What if they broke down? They have no radio to call with…
About 10 minutes later, they pull in. My brother is in “a mood” and his wife is giddy with humor. A lively conversation ensues, where I learn that my brother used his tracking skills to follow my every wrong turn back to camp. We all had a good chuckle and moved on with our day with our lessons learned: “Next time, &^%*&* turn around!” “Yeah, and carry a radio!”
We moved on and “uncorked” the new tent trailer, as my brother had many goodies tucked inside. Unfortunately, the roof was worthless and only held together by 2×4’s. Working as a team, we hoisted the roof up with come-a-longs so he could attach the built-in jacks. Through this and other projects, we worked well together. Both offering better solutions to a problem. This was recognized by the other and became the catch phrase, “…and that’s why we do things together!”
That night we flexed our competitive nature with rounds of Catch Phrase. However, instead of competing as groups, each person was determined to get the most ‘phrases’ guessed before the timer went off. We enjoyed the challenge of a worthy opponents.
We made ‘smores thereafter, trying a new contraption I had gotten for Christmas. While it solved the melted chocolate issue quite well, it made the treats down-right squirty! <—That’s a word, ‘cuz I says so!
Next up is another day, another adventure!