I love camping. I grew up in a camping family, and I’m proud to say that the tradition of camping my children enjoy as well. We are tent campers, because right now we can’t afford anything other than tent camping. This past week my family enjoyed a great camping trip to Honeyman State Park on the central coast of Oregon. We had a great time of crabbing, fishing and playing on the dunes.
There are a lot of things about camping I find humorous and these next blogs will be dedicated to the amazing experience of camping.
Bathing while camping can be a great adventure. My dad made it a point to never shower while camping. No matter what the temperature or weather conditions, my father would grab a bar of soap, shampoo and a washcloth and gingerly make his way into a frigid Lake Michigan. Our whole family watched in amazement as my dad would work up a good lather, and then disappear under the icy water. He would emerge from the surf fully bathed.
I myself am a shower guy. I need a shower once or twice a day to function. This of course leaves you at the mercy of the government. At Honeyman State Park you have 3 options: awful, bad and embarrassing.
The first shower I tried was undoubtedly designed by the Obama administration. When you entered this shower facility it appeared to well designed and very nice. It offered a shower stall and a nice changing room. I was very impressed until I stripped down naked and climbed inside. My shower illusion was soon to become a nightmare. It was freezing cold outside and I was anticipating the hot water thawing out my campfire smoked odder. To my great alarm there was no shower faucet knob. The only thing on the shower wall was a button. I pushed the button once and the shower sprang to life for 30 seconds. The water was freezing. I was willing to give it another try. I pushed the button desperately hoping the water would warm up. 30 seconds of ice cold water awakened me into reality. Like a dog wearing a shock collar my stubborn ignorance attempted a third round. As I dried off I began cursing under my breath. On my way to shower number two I thought “Well isn’t this just like our government, they offer an illusion of excellence while in reality they take away our control and our choices.”
My second shower experience was equally bizarre. I hiked to the other end of the campground. By this time I was shivering and angry. This particular facility was designed by the Nixon administration in the mid sixties. I opened the shower facility door to a small square room with no bench or hangers on the wall. Once again I stripped down and turned the shower on. To my delight there was a temperature knob which I turned to the hottest setting and stepped inside. To call this shower an actual shower would be an insult to faucets everywhere. The water came out in a lukewarm mist. It was warm by the shower head but by the time any water actually fell below my waist it had turned into frozen precipitation. I manned up, lathered up and embraced the cold. The shower mist was so pathetic that I was unable to wash away any lather from my chest down. I wanted to attempt a handstand trying to outsmart this frozen mist, but I know that a handstand at my age would mean certain peril. After several minutes of agony I gave up. I did my best to dry out when I realized that this shower was designed in the sixties for a nudist camp. My change of clothes was now completely soaked. The mist wasn’t able to wash my lower body but it was able to leave an inch puddle on the shower floor. When one is faced with putting clothes on in a puddle of water it tends to be disastrous. In an attempt to keep from further water logging my clothes I tried to put one pant leg on at a time while keeping my pant legs dry. This maneuver requires coordination and skill. Unfortunately I posses neither. While standing on one leg I bunched one pant leg up and attempted to stick my leg through. My leg was half way through when cruel fate and brute strength joined together in a wrestling tag team match. I fell off balance. I had two options. I could fall down or sacrifice my dry pants. My pants fell victim to the tag team. I left this shower in cold cruel defeat.
The next day I vowed to myself that today’s shower experience would be joy filled and marvelous. I woke up at 6 AM and hiked to the far end of the campground to a new shower facility. Once again the temperature was in the low 40’s, and I was eager to get a nice warm shower. This shower facility was designed by the Reagan administration. To my utter delight the showers offered temperature knobs and a nice area in which to hang your clothes. I turned the shower on and hot streams of water flooded forth from the shower head. I squealed in delight! I was once again in charge of temperature and water pressure. I jumped into the shower with unbridled enthusiasms. Three realities slapped me in the face like betrayed lover. One. The water was scalding hot! I desperately turned the knob right in search of the perfect temperature. To my horror there was only one choice. My shower felt like I was being licked by the flames of hell. I developed a strategy of moving in and out of the shower spray to avoid second degree burns. Second. The shower head was designed for Oompa Loompas. It raised a whole 4 feet from the shower floor. It was much like showering in a hot drinking faucet. I imagine that some Government agency whose mission is to give equal access to short people designed this facility. Third. The showers were designed with very little privacy. There are men’s shower facilities and apparently men shower together. I felt very self conscious as other men showered side by side. Fourth. The inevitable. The dropped bar of soap. No way was I going to…, you know. I just balled up as I reached for the soap on the ground. I’m happy to report that I have no idea what everyone else was doing. They all were welcomed with their scalding hot short shower heads and we endured the heat together. It is also never a good idea to look a man in the eyes while taking a shower in the same room. My gaze remained straight ahead as I ran in and out of my scalding hot short shower.
The showers at Honeyman State Park are yet another great example of why the Government shouldn’t ever have control of our lives. In the end I’m thinking my old man had it right. Perhaps a quick dip in an ice cold lake is one’s best option. I once thought my dad was crazy but now I realize he was a genius.