Three-Stop S24O

IMG_1813Arrival

I did not wake up Saturday morning where I went to sleep Friday night. It was a little creepy. When I opened my eyes at first light, it appeared that I had been carried along on a wind in my dreams to a new location. It was literally a completely different place, and one a little more than a mile from the place I first lost consciousness.

IMG_1858Falling asleep location

The place I awoke was startling. It was cloudy, gloomy, deeply forested, and hundreds of yards from the lake. The night before, however, my hammock was hung under a mostly clear sky, two giant steps from the water’s edge where I could watch the sunset and anticipate a beautiful morning sunrise over the water. But something happened that I clearly didn’t anticipate.

IMG_1868Cheery campfire

I had identified this weekend’s unseasonably warm weather as a great opportunity for an overnighter. When I saw the forecast for sunny skies, warm and windy conditions, it seemed like a delightful spring forecast. I scheduled the afternoon off. A campsite on the upwind side of a peninsula was secured. When I arrived, I celebrated my view. A cool breeze blew off the lake. Well, the breeze actually was more like a wind. But the forecast called for the wind to die down some during the evening, and I counted myself as fortunate. I gathered up a few dead limbs in the campsite for a small fire after dinner. When I decided to take a few photos and brag about my situation to my internet friends, things began to change.

IMG_1871Gloomy wake-up location

There were a few signs that this wasn’t a perfect situation. First, I noticed that my charging cord for my phone wasn’t with me. I had a phone in one hand, a battery in the other, and nothing between them except a brainless void. Since I had not charged my phone since the night before, that means no bragging to my friends. No bragging takes out part of my fun right there. The battery was low enough that I told my wife that I would turn my phone off and use it “only for emergencies”. That’s when I sat down at the picnic table and realized the wind was pushing slightly larger waves toward my hammock and making more noise crashing against the shoreline. The wind was not dying down. It was picking up. But it wasn’t an emergency, and I adapted.

IMG_1876Winter prairie

The campsite was more lively, and less peaceful, than when I arrived. But it wasn’t harsh by any means. I was able to orient my Trangia stove behind a tree and cook my brats. The campsite firepit had a steel grate for cooking that helped block some wind. I piled some rocks up to cover the open spaces to make it more protected. So I was able to use my firewood as planned. While the wind blew by me, and the waves crashed on the shore, I sat smiling at the cheery fire.

IMG_1884Breakfast spot

Going to sleep worked out fine. There was a bright moon over my left shoulder. The waves on the shore relaxed me. The wind sang me to sleep like a lullaby, and rocked my hammock like a baby’s crib. Sometime during the night, however, my campsite had turned boisterous and noisy. The clouds had totally obscured the moon and it was a very dark place.

I awoke to loud flapping noises. There is just enough loose parts of my hammock material to vibrate violently in a strong wind. For awhile, I tried to reorient my body and pull the loose fabric tight. By the time I learned that was fruitless, I was awake and I had no idea what time it was. My timepiece (phone) was switched off. It didn’t matter what time it was because I had already decided to pack up camp and either ride toward town for breakfast or go find another place to sleep out of the wind.

Once I pedaled away from the camp ground, I stopped to assess my situation. I switched on my phone and saw that is was about 2:30 a.m. So I needed to find a place to hang out for a few hours. Wandering around populated camp grounds in the middle of the night could frighten my fellow campers. So remembering that one camp ground was completely closed due to the high water this year, I pedaled over and began searching in a dense black forest for two decently spaced trees.

It was gloomy, and eerily quiet. I was asleep by the time my body adjusted to the stillness.

IMG_1887Coffee outside!

When I was fully awake, I realized it wasn’t a dream after all and remembered my relocation was of my own doing. I also realized that there are better places to have breakfast than an empty camp ground filled with sand, mud, upended signs, damaged picnic tables, and tree limbs strewn all around. Even on a cloudy day, there are cheerier places than this, and not very far away.

So I rode to a place I know where the forest meets the prairie, a lonely place. The wide open space entertains the eye. It is a perfect place to spread out breakfast and brew-up fresh, hot coffee. It was the third stop on this S24O and it was equally memorable.

IMG_1909What contentment looks like

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Rest of the Story

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As Mrs. Pondero frequently (but respectfully) points out, I sometimes leave out the most important (and interesting) details in my stories. Such is the case from my previous post describing my fantastic outing to the LBJ National Grasslands.

I mentioned that she came to have lunch with me. I mentioned that I loaded up my bike into our pick-up and rode home with her. But I left out (as I often do) the most important (and interesting) detail of the entire event.

When she arrived in Greenwood, and stepped out of the truck, she quipped, “My pitbull rides shotgun…” and then added after a perfectly timed pause, “…on a Little Mermaid fleece blanket.”

The subject pitbull is the one from which her honey brand, Blue Dog Bee Ranch, derives its name. So now you know the rest of the story.