Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 Western Camping...Day 21...Monday, June 21, 2014

Rules of Camping #26...The “Altitude Coefficient of Buzz”.
For every 5000 feet of altitude, the effects of any alcoholic beverage increase by a factor of one. So, at sea level, one beer equals one beer; at 5000 feet, one beer equals two beers; at 10,000 feet, one beer equals three beers, etc.

I'm normally up between 6:00 and 7:00 every morning, but this morning, I'm not out of bed until almost 9:00...and I don't feel so good. I don't feel so good because I have forgotten “Rules of Camping #26...The “Altitude Coefficient of Buzz. Down here on the eastern side of the Park, I'm up around 6500 feet, which means that effect of each alcoholic beverage is more than double. So...that Bourbon before dinner was really two Bourbons...and that ½ bottle of red wine was really a whole bottle, and those six beers with Rob and Tim were really twelve beers. No wonder I feel bad.
Around 11:00, after much coffee, I head into Estes Park for a shower at the local Laundromat/Shower. I feel much better after the shower. Now dressed in clean clothes and cleanly shaven, I head back to Ed's Cantina...a little “hair of the dog” in the form of a Margarita...Bison Tacos...a cream for dessert. After lunch, more shopping...but I skip another trip to the Brewery.
Back at camp, I do some more reading. I would like to do some hiking but, even at 6500 feet, the altitude is a killer for me. So, I read, tidy up my campsite, plan out dinner...and the afternoon flies by.
Around 5:00, Rob and Tim come by, but this time, I'm taking it easy. So we share only a beer or two before being joined by Al who is camping across the road. Al's making the rounds saying hello to his fellow campers, and he stays for one beer. He next visits a couple camping across the road with a short-legged, powerfully-built mean dog of indeterminate breed. The couple waves him over...but...he's not two feet into their campsite when the dog takes off like a bullet, hits Al square in the chest, and knocks him to the ground. Al is able to fend the dog off with his legs and feet before the couple manages to grab the dog's collar and pull him off. Al returns to my campsite...he hasn't been bitten, but he's hurt his back. I give him a beer and some arthritis “medicine”. Soon, he feels better...much better.
I have leftovers from Ed's, so I heat those up for dinner...two more beers with that.
I bought firewood in town so, after dinner, I make a nice campfire...kindling, paraffin “firecubes”, starts right up. I nurse one small glass of CatDaddy white whiskey while the fire burns. By 10:00, the fire is out...and so am I.

2014 Western Camping...Day 20...Sunday, June 22, 2014 wasn't a great sleep, but certainly better than the night before. I've got leftover coffee in the Thermos, so I can enjoy a cup right away with a morning cigar.
I packed up and hitched up the camper last night so, as soon as I finish my third cup of coffee, I'm on the road to the east side of the Park to find a campsite.
It's another one and a half hour “white knuckle” trip up and over the Rockies. My early start pays dividends as I am able to find a nice campsite in the Moraine Park Campground. I unhitch and set up camp. Then, it's off to Estes Park for lunch. I head to Ed's Cantina...very good Mexican food, icy cold beer and excellent Margaritas. I settle in at the bar and order a “top shelf” Margarita followed by Bison Enchiladas with Green Pork Sauce and Dos Equis draft. I feel much better now.
After lunch, I walk around Estes Park for awhile, pick up a few souvenirs. Then, I drive over to Estes Park Brewery for a cold lager (15 “beers” on tap and only one is a lager). On the way back to camp, I stop at the Safeway and pick up a steak and some potato salad.
Two guys camping next to me stop by to say hello. Rob and Tim...friends from Baltimore, although Rob has moved to California. Tim flew out to the West Coast, and the two of them are on a three-week camping trip. I read for awhile before cocktail time. I grill my steak and eat that with some potato salad and a chocolate bar for dessert.
After dinner, Rob and Tim stop back over with some firewood and a cooler full of beer (ale, actually). It turns out that they are fellow arthritis sufferers, so we share and compare our medications purchased in Colorado. We talk, tell stories and jokes, laugh...and drink lots of beers very late into the night. It's after 1:00AM before we finally call it a night.

2014 Western Camoping...Day 19...Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rules of Camping #32...Always store liquids in a leak-proof container.

Not a good night's sleep last night...a combination of dust, heat and altitude did not make for good sleeping. After making coffee, I o0pen the refrigerator to get a container of yoghurt and find that I have a surprise...a very unpleasant surprise. A large container of “Dulce de Leche” (milk syrup) has fallen over during the last drive, and it has spilled everywhere...covering almost everything in the refrigerator, pooled at the bottom and spilled out of the refrigerator onto the floor and under the floor mats. first order of the day is a nasty two-hour cleanup job removing sticky syrup from inside the camper.
At 8900 feet, the air is thin at the campground...hiking is out of the question. So, I set about filling my water tank...fifty yards back and forth from the central campground faucet a gallon at a time. The altitude makes this a tough job...I have to rest half-way on each leg of the trip. That done, I reorganize things in the Explorer...there's always some shifting during travel. Later I read for a few hours...listen to music on the iPod boombox.
Around 5:00, it's cocktail time...a Bourbon on the rocks and some spiced pecans. Later, I saute up the last of the bacon from Don and Mickie's party and throw it into some pasta sauce and cooked penne for a nice meal with an even nicer bottle of Chianti.
After dinner, I finish off the rest of the wine as the sun goes down...then a little Gran Marnier before bedtime. Hopefully a better sleeping night as I become acclimated to the altitude.