Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sleep In A Bag?

Carl here.  Let’s talk sleeping bags.  You need some sort of sleeping bag when you go tent camping.  Unless of course you’re Lucas McCain (“The Rifleman”), and you sleep on the hard ground with only a moth eaten thin blanket protecting you from the harsh elements; only to let a cold little rattle snake crawl under your blanket and onto your nice warm chest, and then must stay completely still for over 12 hours, while you wait for your son Mark, Marshal Micah Torrance and one ornery bushwhacker to figure out a way to save you from a one bite horrific death.  I love “The Rifleman.” …..not him....the show!  Anyway, back to sleeping bags.

You have three choices here: new, used and borrowed.  You could buy a sleeping bag at a garage sale…. but buying a sleeping bag at a garage sale just isn’t a good idea. You never know what took place in that sleeping bag besides sleeping. Do bodily fluids come to mind? I can think of five types without even referencing a CSI episode. No amount of washing will ever get those nasty bodily fluids out of that sleeping bag……. or your mind for that matter! 

You could borrow a sleeping bag, but who would lend you one.  Sleeping bags are like underwear, they aren’t meant to be shared…..that bodily fluid thing again.
So your best bet is to spend some money and go shopping for a new sleeping bag.  How difficult could that be you say?  I figured they would make two types, a pink one for girls and a blue one for boys.  I never realized how hard it would be to select just the right one.  Sleeping bags have degrees associated with them.  Not college degrees, but degrees Fahrenheit.  They are rated anywhere between +40 degrees down to -40 degrees.  This is called the temperature comfort zone.  Comfort zone, at -40 degrees, maybe for an Eskimo Pie.  You would think the lower the temperature rating the better the bag would be, not true.  Using a -40 degree bag on an 80 degree day will make you wish you were that Eskimo Pie.
Ever see those sleeping bags that look like a cross between King Tut’s coffin and the Michelin Tire Man, they’re called mummy sleeping bags.  I know I’m not planning on sleeping that long.  How would you like to go to sleep in one of those bags and wake up 2000 years later in some museum display, not me!
You would think a sleeping bag would be made out of some kind of natural fiber like cotton.  NOT… that’s old and cheapskate school.  Let’s go high tech… how about a Polarguard Continuous Filament within a Super Wicking Polyester Liner, complemented with a sleeping pad made from .25” polyethylene laminated to convoluted what-cha-ma-call-it foam.  Now if George Washington would have had these high tech sleeping bags for all his men, maybe that “Crossing the Delaware” thing wouldn't be such a big deal.

If you’re like me, forget all the mumbo gumbo and buy the cheapest one on sale.  One old school cotton sleeping bag to go, please!

Camping fun with Carl signing out.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Campfire

           Carl here. This is the part of camping everyone looks forward to, the campfire.  Everyone is sitting around the campfire, drinking their favorite non alcohol base beverage, toasting marshmallows, talking about non combative issues and singing songs from “Peter Paul and Mary” greatest hit album; just basically having a great time.  Wait, I’m sorry, that’s a “Brady Bunch” episode, lets get back to reality.  Everyone is sitting around the campfire, drinking beers to intoxication, talking dirty, talking politics, talking dirty politics, telling jokes, telling dirty jokes, singing obnoxiously loud to Bob Segar on the boom box and peeing in the woods.   Wait, I'm sorry again, that’s my wife’s family…… anyway, you know what I'm trying to say here, you just want to have a good time at the campfire.

 There is something hypnotic about watching a campfire.  It’s an ever changing visual and audio work of art, that keeps drawing you’re attention toward its center.  Your eyes are constantly being driven to the base of the fire where the glimmering hot embers display their vibrant ever-changing hues of orange, yellow and red.  Embers so intensely hot you wonder how they even exist at such temperatures. Crackles and pops feed your hungry ears as the scorching heat torments the wooden timbers. If you reposition those timbers just right, the fire seems to come alive again as the surrounding air is sucked into its belly. The oxygen from the air feeds the fires hungry thirst for survival as violent vortexes of hot gases dancing and twirling, try to escape its fiery pit.  Flames break out, thrashing and stinging the night air almost as a punishment for its own existence.  The intense heat keeps your body in check as you try to get a closer and closer look at one of natures greatest achievements .......... wooh......... I'm going to need a water break after all of that.  

Camping with Carl, signing out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Can't You Stay

Carl here.  Check out my first atempt at country music.  I hope you like it.  Just click once on the red link.

                                                                   Why Can't You Stay

Camping fun with Carl signing off.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Am 99

Carl here. No, I'm not 99 years old (don't look at my picture, bad lighting.) And no, I'm not Agent 99 from "Get Smart," but I am part of the 99% who makes under a trillion dollars a day. Give or take a billion or two. So, what does this have to do with camping you say? Well...........

What it comes down to is this, the wall street protesters are basically campers in disguise. They found a way to camp in the middle of a big city and get away with it. How sweet is that. They have their tents, they have their grills, hopefully they have sleeping bags that go down to -20 degrees, because winter is coming fast. Those wall street guys wouldn't want them to freeze to death, would they?  Although.... it would be quite entertaining for them, watching from their high perch, with champagne and binoculars in hand.  Na......well maybe.

There are some similarities between the way I camp and the way the protesters camp. I deal with nasty skunks, spraying foul smelling gland excretions; they deal with eye burning, lung clogging, tear gas canisters being hurled at them. I deal with attacks from rabid animals and an occasional wife. They get attacked by big men, with helmets, shields and rubber bullets. No one said city camping was easy!

Which brings me to my last point. Are these protesters really part of the 99%. They don't seem to work anywhere. They spend all their time protesting. I think they are part of the 9.1%..... the unemployed!

Camping fun with Carl, signing off.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rest Somewhere Else!

Carl here!  It’s time to get down and dirty.  I’m talking about the restrooms and showers at campsites. If you’re like me, using a public restroom or shower is a last ditch, emergency only situation.  It’s bad enough when a family member uses the toilet before you, but a stranger.  Yuck!  At least if it’s a family member you have some kind of genetic tie, some kind of connection there. A few jumping bugs aren’t going to kill you. But if it’s a stranger, all bets are off.  No telling what those mutated Deliverance bugs will do. You might start having the urge to play the banjo.
I always try to plan our camping excursions based on my bathroom needs. Not to last more than two days or three days max, and only if we’re within 30 minutes from our house.  I figure I could hold it for a couple of days without too much discomfort. Worst case scenario if it gets really bad, I could say I’m going berry picking, sneak into the car, go home, due my duty and be back before anyone is the wiser. As far as those showers are concerned, I have no problem with smelling worse than the animals. There’s no way I’m going to use those showers. Did you ever look at the drain?  Double yuck!  No telling what went down that hole. No telling what's going to come out of that hole, grab your ankles and pull you in.  Does Freddy Kruger come to mind?       

             I don't care what they say, there’s no such thing as a sanitary restroom.  Is Mr. Clean standing by, waiting for the person ahead of you to finish.  NO!  He’s even afraid.  Restrooms by nature are biological breeding grounds not fit for humans.  I learned this by having two sons.  They can throw a baseball fifty feet into a catcher’s mitt but can’t hit the toilet from two feet away.  Did you know that when a toilet is flushed, anything that was swimming around in there can be thrown twenty feet in the air. You better bring your catcher’s mitt, and a toothbrush.  So if you’re really planning on using the restrooms, bring plenty of Lysol (industrial strength) and a strong stomach.

Camping fun with Carl signing off.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quoits anybody?

Carl here!  You have to have some sort of fun while camping, so why not bring along a set of horseshoes to play with.  I'm talking about manly steel horseshoes here, not those girly rubber horseshoes, in all their bright colors.  Although, I am partial to the nice yellow and blue ones.

But trying to toss a metal horseshoe 40 feet onto a stake isn't that easy. It’s hard to throw the horseshoes so they open up just at the right time.  If we played quoits instead of horseshoes, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  A quoit is a metal disc with a hole in the center.  You toss the disc and try to land it on a hob.  It sounds easy enough, but it’s not quoit that simple.  I just couldn’t resist that one.  The hob is pretty small, only about 5 inches.  There’s nothing worse than a small hob, right.......…. not that I have that problem!

             I’m assuming back in the old medieval days, men had the same problem I had (no, not the small hob thing). I'm talking about medieval men trying to get the horseshoe to open up at the stake.  Oh, I’m sorry, that was very sexist of me, implying that only men played quoits back in medieval times.  OK, men and wenches had the same problem I had.  Instead of working on their throwing technique, they decided to bend the ends of the horseshoe together into a ring shape. Why didn’t I think of that......  maybe, because I’m not as strong as “The Mighty Atom,” and I can’t bend horseshoes into circles with my bare hands.  Oh well!  Quoits was the game of choice back then, but  today it's horseshoes.  So, if you want to have fun at your next camping outing, bring along a set of horseshoes......... with the horse unattached, of course.

Would you believe they still play Quoits to this day.  Check it out on the Internet, its quoit interesting.  Sorry!  And also check out the Mighty Atom, he’s quoit interesting also.  Sorry again!

Camping fun with Carl, signing out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Math Formula for Tent Camping.

Carl here!  I bet you didn't know that camping is based on a math formula.  I'm no Einstein (just ask my wife), but I do have a unified theory on camping. Lets start by breaking camping down to its lowest denominator, dirt.  Camping's dirty little secret.

Without dirt there would be no camping (or mud wrestling, right guys!). But you need more than just dirt, you need bikinis, girls in bikinis that is.  Oh, I'm sorry, lets stick with camping.  So you need dirt, and....an open field...  a grassy open field.....a wooded , grassy open field. Yeah, that's it.

Dirt + wooded grassy open field = camping.  There has got to be more.  My  mother aways said, "Don't leave home without protection."  Not that kind of protection, I was raised Catholic!  She was talking about a tent.  You need some sort of protection from the elements.

 Lets see, Dirt + wooded grassy open field + tent = camping.  Not quite finished yet.  To save time and keep the spell checker from going crazy, here's my finished formula.

Dirt + wooded grassy open field + tent + sleeping bags + air mattresses + lantern + propane stove + propane grill + bug spray + food + water + beer + nagging wife + CPAP machine + crying children + toys + Can Jam + firewood + air pump + cooking utensils + more stuff + even more stuff + U-Haul  truck = "I'M  NOT GOING CAMPING"

Just like Einstein, my formula needs some work.  If anyone out there has a better formula, please send it in.

Camping fun with Carl, signing out!