This year was not a great one for camping trips. There was the fiasco at Black Rock, and now there is the Great Yuba Flood of ‘Ought Thirteen. For those of you who don’t know, Biff and I got stranded in the middle of the Black Rock desert in June. With a bad alternator and NO search and rescue. That story is still pretty traumatic, and I can’t find the humor in it yet, so I don’t like to talk about it. Needless to say, I will never, ever step foot on that damned desert ever again. I told Biff, “Not even if U2 showed up to play a free show and I was guaranteed a front row seat in front of Bono would I go out there.” Never.
Anyway, fast forward to this past weekend. We haven’t done much camping this year, and we wanted to get out and break in our new wedding camping gear! We were planning on leaving after work on Friday. Then the truck got a flat tire. (Which MIGHT have had something to do with the fact that Biff decided to take it out 4X4ing and caching the night before.) But we got that corrected easily enough and were on the road by 7:00. A few hours later than expected, but on the road none the less!
We finally got to our spot on the Yuba River, past Downieville, late that night. About 9:30 or ten. We pitched the tent in the flattest, softest spot we could find and went to bed. In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of soft rain sprinkling against the tent. And, just as I was going back to sleep, BOOM! Monsoon.
When I say monsoon, what I mean is Biblical flood waters. The skies opened and water drenched us. Our tent is good, but not THAT good. In fact, nothing is that waterproof, except my house and maybe an iron lung. In the morning, when I could stand it no longer, (read: had to go to the bathroom), I got up. And looked out into the LAKE we were sitting in. We had pitched our tent literally where all the water pools.
Now I am miserable, tired, and hungry. Usually I love camping! Camping dirt? Bring it on. Cold weather? I have fleece for that. Cooking outside? Love it! Until I get wet. Then I am pissed.
And now I am soaked.
We decide to go into Downieville and eat somewhere and check the weather. Of course we have NO SERVICE. (I can get service in Black Rock, check my email, chat on Facebook, but not near a town of 300 people. WTF?) Anyway, we go in, eat at someplace with a nice name, but reminded me of The Hills Have Eyes, and are told that the rain isn’t going to let up until 7 or 8 that night. (Seriously, what is it with little cafes where the locals look like they don’t know that a razor is for shaving and not for cutting up road kill, or people?)
At this point I want to go home. But Biff doesn’t like to give up, and he certainly doesn’t like Mother Nature to win, ever. So I tell him that I will tough it out, as long as he makes me a bum nest in the truck so I can sit in peace and read my book. This never happened because the air mattress doesn’t fit in the truck, and it had stopped raining!
Yes, stopped! At ten in the morning! Whoo hoo! We start a fire and get out the beer, and we are in for the long haul.
Then the black clouds start rolling in. Biff promptly ignores them. I start battening down the hatches. By 2:00, we are in the middle of a bigger downpour than last night, and the dog and I are stranded in the truck. Eventually it even becomes too much for Biff, and he comes to sit with us, too. An hour later, I tell him, “I want to go home. Now.” He looks up through the foggy windshield, and looks into the sky (which he can’t see because the windshield is being poured on by the rain) and says, “Yeah, OK.”
We pack up. Throw everything sopping wet in the truck and start the drive home. As we head over the Yuba Summit, I look out and think, “That rain sure looks different. Oh, that is because it is snow.”
Snow. On September 21st. Welcome to the Sierra Nevadas. (Not that it is unheard of for it to snow even in July.)
Now I am COLD. Wet and cold. Miserable. But we are going home! And the entire time we kept telling each other, “Look, it could be worse. We could be stuck in the Black Rock desert.”