Down and Dirty



Even though I find the thought that not too many things really excite me the older I get uber-depressing, I find it even MORE exciting when something new does catch you off-guard and you find yourself super jazzed, especially when you didn’t see it coming.


That was the layout of this past Memorial Weekend, where in celebration of our military heroes, R and I took the little brown dog, and went down State to the lovely wine making area of Paso Robles, where we camped like troopers come hell or high water. I was so desperate for a vacation of any kind that even I, the person who has avoided being outdoors at almost all costs, was actually foaming at the bit to GOGOGOGOGOGOGO. I was ready to get dirty, eat roasted meat, tan, burn, drink, nap, play dominos, overeat s’mores, swim, NO SHOWERING, and being with my people. In fact, I got so worked up about it, that the trip almost didn’t happen because of over-planning, and too many trip organizers in the works. There is something to be said for one task-master and the rest serving as camping minions. Enter Roy.
Having to plan a trip that spans the entire State of California, involving 9 people, gear, food, location, and preferences is like pulling out healthy teeth…just for fun. I have to give it to my man for making everything work out, and all the while doing it while I was twitch and fretting in the background. Eventually we settled on the campsites of Lake Nacimiento, and ditched out on work Friday to avoid traffic and actually get a spot as everything reservable was taken, and this was the madness of “first come, first served” long weekend. We selected the location because it was midway between SF and LA, and to spend a mini-vaca with my best friend from down South was the game plan.

Turns out, people who work at camping sites during busy weekends may or may not be happy or pleasant that you have selected their establishment as your temporary home. In fact, some employees let you KNOW obviously that they are or are not happy to see you. Case in point, arriving at Lake Nacimiento. We were early, there were spots, and we were eager to get in, get settled, and get into the water. Our attendant had different ideas.

“Can we take a larger campsite as we will have 9 people coming altogether?”
“Ok, can we pay for the other cars so that we can make sure they can get in if they come late?”
“Ooookkkkkk….can we—“
(Interruption) “No”.

Roy didn’t even wait for the slag to continue her bitchfest as he pulled a hard Uie and left the attendant in her tiny booth literally eating our dust. Turns out, we were super lucky to have another lake right next door, Lake San Antonio, where the people that worked there seemed to like that vacationers were arriving at their site.

See if you can spot the difference:

“Hi, can I help you?”
“Yes, we’d like to camp and we have 7 more people coming, will that be a problem/”
“Nope! We can get you all set up with a larger campsite and your friends shouldn’t have any problem getting in….we’ll make sure to help!”
“Great, thank you!” (give out money happily)

We found a nice spot, set up a lovely camp with tents, cooking gear, folding beer cozy chairs, and hammocks and waited lazily for our troops to arrive. With so many people, I was worried about there being enough food, warmth, sun, firewood, games, etc., etc. What I didn’t realize is that the more people that do show, they have the same fears. So, EVERYONE OVERPACKS and we end up with way too much food, liquor and entertainment. From homemade camping chili, to marinated tri-tip, all with fresh corn, salads, salsas, snacks and desserts, I ate myself chubby and tried to burn calories by sleeping it off in the sun (my shoulders are the only thing NOT happy after the trip).

Everyone seemed to have a great time, even through the disgusting adventure of the hot springs.

At first, the hot-springs were the location that we had originally planned to stay. A hot spring, room for camping- what could be wrong with that? However, when we learned there were no campfires allowed because the camping was all in an open field, no trees or rocks, we thought we should find a s’more friendly area and relocate. THANK THE LORD! This place was actually on some hillbillies land, who just offered ghetto style camping to go along with his dirty and disgusting incestual hot springs. This guy literally hollowed out a pool area where he pumped in water from a hot springs, made some makeshift changing rooms, and through a box out front saying, “$7”.
When we arrived, the smell of the sulfur, mixed with the nastiness of the facilities gave us all the willies, but since it had taken a little trip to actually get out to this place, we thought we should at least give it a try. Maybe it was the super hairy guy shaving in the hot tub that was the worst part, or the random dogs that peed all over our stuff that really pissed us off. It could have been the rude assault by the “owner” demanding our $7 before he got distracted by his alcohol and bbqing, and siappeared or the dirt and grime floating in the water.

Even with all of these fantastic perks, we still got into the pool, lathered our faces with mud, laughed at our surroundings, and tried to enjoy the experience; the whole thing would turn out to be one of the best parts as it was SUCH a (rotten) adventure, it made it memorable and funny.

It turns out in the end that it wasn’t the hot springs, the food, the sun, the wine tasting, or the lounging around that was the best part of our vacation. The Bromance that ensued between two of our men had to be the best part of the weekend, for me. I love the fact that Ribilyn will always go out with the girls and can hang with almost any situation he’s thrown. He’s awesome. But he still needs that all important MAN TIME and he got it this weekend. Watching him talk politics, religion, baseball, women, etc with his new buddy was about the most adorable thing to transpire, and knowing that each of these guys found a new friend to bond with was almost too much to bear. Everyone left the trip googly eyed over the new friendship that bloomed in front of us all, and when R told me that they had exchange numbers, well….it was like I was watching my own little one grow up. Awwwwww!
What a success! What fun! What food! What adventures! What a trip!

I so hope that more of these can be arranged because it’s a cheap and easy way to bond with your people without losing one’s mind. Anyone want to join in for the next one?


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