Get caught up with the story : All Camped Out (Part One)
We meandered (if a car can, indeed, meander) back to our camping spot and began the process of sorting everything out. Tent over there, sleeping bags over there, kid that is absolutely good for nothing and would rather run around a bush, over there…business was finally starting to get done and I was glad for it.
The spot that we had rented was pretty nice and we were actually one of the few families that were going to be putting up a tent. Well, we were the only ones putting up a tent because everyone else looked like they had already been living in style for the week. And I do mean style—there was one just over the road that looked like it could house twenty. I think I even saw someone standing outside waving a feather fan over every person entering and exiting. I tried to go into the whole tent building experience thinking, “It’s just a few poles. I’m sure that the fine people that put the instructions together kept in mind that they were going to be writing for the outdoors challenged.” I didn’t take into account that I’m married to the man who knows everything about recreational architecture and that the instructions wouldn’t matter anyway. And to be honest, I guess they didn’t. Who knew?
The tent was up without any bloodshed and I began to set up our humble abode. It was tall enough that I could stand up (which is essential for me when being in a tent) and plenty of room to spread things out. We (the hubby) were actually smart enough to bring the inflatable mattress and I was very optimistic that I would have a comfortable night out on the range. I walked in and out, dragging in blankets and sleeping bags (and the occasional sharp sticker in my foot) and suddenly realized that it wasn’t sunny outside anymore. The storm that I had seen coming from far away had suddenly begun to rear its ugly head.
At first it was just a little bit of wind and then, suddenly, it was like an F3 tornado was barreling down upon us! I instantly realized the folly of setting the tent up before the storm when it started to feel like we were under the large parachute I used to play with during fourth grade P.E. I was certain that the stakes were going to be ripped from the ground and our tent (with us inside) was going to go barreling into the nearest outhouse. We yelled at the boy to run over to our friends with the RV, and he didn’t have to be screamed at twice. The hubby and I stayed behind and tried to hold on to the tent to keep it from flying away.
Unfortunately, a few of our neighbors were having a much worse time than us. The large tent was hanging in surprisingly well, but the snapping of the fabric was frightening loud. Lucky for them, they pretty much stayed intact. However, another family in a pop up tent attached to a little truck, was hit pretty hard and the side of the structure was ripped away from its frame. They also had an inflatable raft that pretty much made a run for it towards the lake. I felt pretty bad for the young lady trying to chase after it in an attempt at rescue. She never could catch up to it and I honestly have no clue what she would have done with the damn thing anyway—if she’d have grabbed it she would have been floating in the air as surely as Aladdin and Jasmine.
Not being someone that has ever had the privilege of living in an area of Colorado that is prone to tornadoes, I was convinced that we were going to have to find something solid to hang on to keep ourselves from getting killed by the one that was surely upon us (it wasn’t). I mean, it didn’t look like any footage of tornadoes I had ever seen, but it sure as hell felt as scary as I imagine one could be. For being in the middle of nowhere there was a shit ton of noise and movement and I was starting to get really frightened. I’d like to say that I was spending my time wondering how my kid was faring over the in the RV, but aside from a brief moment to acknowledge that if we all died at least he wouldn’t be alone, I was worried about my own damn self!
Before I even knew it, and before I had a chance to slide into my standard M.O. of wanting nothing more than to curl up into a fetal position and hide in the corner, the wind suddenly stopped. Like, one second I’m about to be crushed by a runaway train and the next I’m in the calm meadow you’d find in a feminine hygiene ad. It was fucking crazy. And we hardly even had a chance to exhale and relax before we were set upon by another weapon from Mother Nature’s arsenal.
It’s hard to describe the sound of rain hitting a nylon (I think it was nylon) tent so I’m not going to even try, but I can definitely tell you what it feels like to know that you’re just about to get your ass kicked by bad weather while basically standing in a pretend shelter—shitty. It feels shitty. It was terrible to realize in one split second that we’re idiots, never should have left home, never should have set up the tent, and never should have made the decision to remain friends with someone who found living off the land any iota of entertaining. In short–the heavens opened up and peed directly on our vacation.
At first, I was deluded into thinking that it wasn’t so bad. Our tent had survived the wind, after all, and was proving to be much stronger than I would have given it credit for. But then I felt a drop on my head. And then another one. And then another one. Son of a bitch. Our stuff was about to be destroyed. The hubby started pushing me out of the tent and told me to run to the RV. The second I stepped into the downpour I realized that I wasn’t going to be running anywhere. I was instantly soaked to the bone and determined that I wasn’t going to risk a broken bone by running through weed choked mud. I tiptoed my way to the RV with the hubby frantically waving at me to run the whole time. I may or may not have given him the finger. If not in actual gesture then definitely in mind.
Aside from water that was beginning to whip across my face and the freezing wind (yes the damn wind was back) trying to rip off my shirt, it wasn’t much different from my childhood experiences of running outside into the front yard to dance in the rain. I mean, I wasn’t in a swimsuit and I wasn’t a child living in a world where I didn’t have to worry about the hundreds of dollars of equipment that was currently being ruined behind me, but it kind of felt like old times. I was getting wet and that was all there was to it. It both sucked and didn’t suck at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, I was all for finding my way to place that I could be dry and warm but it wasn’t the end of the world.
I made my way to the RV and the door magically opened. A hand reached towards me and pulled me into a world of heat and color and…food. I was bombarded with towels and urged to get warm and have a seat. I slowly realized that I was standing in a kitchen laden with chips, sandwiches, sodas… and I was just about as amazed as the kids must have been when they first walked into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. What was this world and why was I just getting to see it now?
To be continued…