Days 13 and 14 of However Many – 50 Cents

I’m not even sure which day this is. That’s how feral I’ve become.

The half and half is curdling in my coffee and I don’t care. That’s how feral I’ve become.

This, after spending the two nights before last night in hotels, ostensibly because it was too hot (92+) but really, in my mind, because the campgrounds we drove through were too creepy. It doesn’t take long, though, to go feral. Just spend a night in a $19.99 tent with a 70-lb dog and have it rain a bit, just enough to dampen things up.

As I sit here with my Coleman stove perked coffee in my camping kit red plastic cup, I think why aren’t I making this an “On Walden Pond” experience and writing great thoughts? Oh wait. Did Thoreau camp? Did Thoreau even write “On Walden Pond” or was it Walt Whitman? I ask my husband if it was ON Walden Pond or just Walden Pond and he answered, it was “On Golden Pond” with Henry Fonda. Help.  I can’t Google it because, of course, there is no internet. I’ve realized, just in the last five minutes, that not having the internet cuts the amount of knowledge I think I have in half. 

We are in what I would call a Holidy Inn Express type campground. These are my favorite. There are still pit toilets but there are showers, water, a giant garbage bin and really great, concrete picnic tables with no bees. And the grass is short so you can see the critters coming at you. In the past few days we drove through a couple of campgrounds looking for a spot to camp and the lurkiness was overwhelming – bear-wise and snake-wise. We stopped at one for lunch and I was a trooper figuring we have this big dog, who, unfortunately, still doesn’t ever bark and I thought, is the dog protection or bait?

Still, despite all that and more, much more, there is this, sitting here, my disheveled, unspeakably feral self, typing on my trusty laptop, the lake in front of me as still as can be, a fish every once in a while breaking the surface with its little lips and making a tiny circle that fades so fast that it might not have happened. There is  waking up, so many times, yes, so many times, and seeing the stars right overhead through the open roof flap of our tent, it seemed as if the Big Dipper had been put there just for me to see. There is the fisherman leaning over his boat’s engine, diagnosing like my dad used to do, and I’m betting the smell of gasoline hangs like a cloud over him and his mate. They are trolling. That’s what we used to do. I wave but they are too busy and don’t wave back.

We pack up and head to the showers where for 50 cents I take a 3 minute shower that is very hot and sharp like someone aiming a firehose at me. But the shower is good anyway, very good. While I put on my shoes, I see two very large spiders stroll up the wall near the shower and tinier spiders parading near the bench I am sitting on. I keep an eye on them but I’m not creeped out. Anytime I want I can crush them with my shoe.

Our camp is in Wyoming at Keyhole State Park, just east of Gillette, a town known for its giant, record-breakingly large swimming pool in which I swam twenty-eight years ago when we brought our two young sons camping “out west.” We went from Gillette to the Tetons where we camped for a week, taking a shower just once, and then we drove to Cody for the rodeo. I have a picture of them outside of Cody standing on a big rock. They were 4 and 6, wearing cowboy hats and holding little six-shooters. We were so happy then. We still are, but in a different way.

5 Comments on “Days 13 and 14 of However Many – 50 Cents

  1. If you go through Sheridan I bet my sister would let you take a shower at her house.. or my friend Patty. That’s my old stompin’ grounds!!!


  2. Jan, This one tickles me pink. Campgrounds without any Wi-Fi? Oh, the humanity! You can commune with nature. I hope you have plenty of Bug retaliant spray. That’s one of my big no-no’s about camping. Them Bugs!
    Hope you’re enjoing the peace and quiet of your environment. I just had an epiphany: An audio tape recorder – just to record your random thoughts. Too late for you now but consider for the next time you go a-roaming. I did it once on one of my early trips to London in the 60’s. I recorded my very random thoughts. I thought I was Ronald “Random Harvest” Coleman. A few weeks later, I played back my random thoughts. What gibberish!


  3. I absolutely love this. you seem to be in a heightened observational awareness state – feral and all.


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