So on Saturday, I continued

So on Saturday, I continued out another 75 miles or so to the Susquehanna river, where I stopped at a boat ramp and saw various folks in various stages of sunburn putting boats that had cost various amounts of money into the water. They were all pretty normal inland-river-holiday type boats except for one tiny purple job that looked like an amusement-park ride, all raw fiberglass and bolted aluminum struts across the inside. It was painted “never grow up” on the side, and it had a massive outboard bolted to the back. The outboard’s casing had been drilled in many places, and there were many mysterious tubes running into the engine. When the boat’s owner put it into the water and started the engine, it shrieked with a wicked goblin howl that brought people running (literally, running! Adult people!) to see what the hell was going on. I’ve never heard an engine do that before. There’s a funny passage in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In a Boat where he spends five pages convincing the reader that rescue did, indeed come “just as they had given up all hope”, and it springs to mind whenever I’m living a cliche, like I did just then, listening to this unearthly roar that this kiddie-park-demon-from-hell boat was putting out. What, did the guy run it on hairspray and plutonium or something?

So on Saturday, I continued

I’m in the middle of

I’m in the middle of Lancaster county, in front of the Strasburg Country Store (“Soft Black Raspberry – Reputation Unrivalled”.) I’m having a Genuine Motorcycle Experience, having gotten up at the crack of dawn, put on my new elkskin gloves, and ridden out on back roads to the small towns where there are grooves on the right side of the asphalt from the horse-drawn buggies. My GME was completed when something small and easily fixed broke on the bike that I could pull over and FIX WITH MY BARE HANDS! (The speedometer cable came unscrewed.)

…and now I’m writing about it on my iPaq with a wireless Omnisky modem. Take me now, Lord! Take me now!

I’m in the middle of

My friend Jessica Bassett told

My friend Jessica Bassett told me that she had a spare ticket to see Dwight Yokakam yesterday night, and wanted to know if I wanted to go. This is evidence to support one of my hypothesis that I would love to be true — that life runs in a series of themes, sometimes subtle, sometimes not. This was one of the not-so-subtle times: my recent voracious reading of boys’ adventure fiction of the 19th century had led to voracious reading of adventure fiction in general, and so to Westerns; I’d just finished reading two Zane Grey books, (tip to the reader; don’t read two Zane Grey books back to back), which led to the purchase of a pair of ranchhand’s barbed-wire-handling elkskin gloves for my motorcycle, which led to going to go see a country singer belt out a song called “yippie kie-yay, yippie cow cow cow”.


Of course, the country singer was from Kentucky by way of California, there were only about three cowboy hats in the room (the rest seemed to be a mixture of subdued couples from Jersey and enthusiastic non-butch lesbians), and the opening singer who delivered the yodeling song quoted above had moussed hair and a big-collared shirt straight outta the N’Sync Wardrobe Manual. So if the theme of this past week was the Wild West, maybe the theme for the next week and a half will be Big Collars or something.

My friend Jessica Bassett told

It’s a shame the whole

The self heating meal -- pull the string, it's hot 15 minutes later!  This picture shows the steam coming out of the bag.It’s a shame the whole pinched nerve thing, happened, by the way, because Lake in Wood Family Camping Resort was a lot of fun to visit. Kate said that it reminded her of Kellerman’s, the Catskills resort in Dirty Dancing, except it was more working-class. There were a lot of big Ford F350s with four wheels on the rear axle and extended mirrors, but it wasn’t in the least bit hick-y. These were folks who had an RV as their vacation house, and had rented a pad and hookup for the summer. Lots of wooden signs out front of each campsite (“The Zimmermans, Earl and Marie”; “This is HOG HEAVEN for Marv and Sally”; “If we’re not here, you can find us at Wal-Mart!”) Actually, it was a lot less kitschy than I’m making it out. It was really nice; the boys played softball on the communal field, the girls walked back from the pool saying “oh..my..GOD!” to each other, and the parents and granparents zoomed around on golf carts, often pulling up next to each other for long stretches to hold palaver.


Kate and I were in site A22, which the woman at the Trading Post desk assured us was “…way out there in mountain goat country!” Actually, it was about twenty-five feet away from a couple of big RVs, each with exactly 18 patio lights hung from the awning (18 is the maximum, it says in the rules), and most with flagged walkways, built-up firepits, and screen porches.


The coolest feature about Lake In Wood is that it has “special accomodations” you can rent, including a caboose, a treehouse, a double-decker bus, and a grounded 1950s cabin cruiser (named”the shipwreck.”) If I had camped in the shipwreck as a young child, I would have just about expired from an overdose of coolness. Okay, I admit it, I *still* want to go stay in the shipwreck!


So, what with the self-heating meals, the shipwreck, and the Saturday night “Ho-Down [sic]” at Lake In Wood’s entertainment hall, it was quite an eventful camping trip.

It’s a shame the whole

I crossed my eyes, and

I crossed my eyes, and they stayed that way.

Kate and I went camping last weekend; armed with a four-person Eureka A-frame tent and several self-heating meals (you just pull the string and wait twenty minutes, they are the coolest things EVER), we went to a campground in Lancaster county. This was to be car camping, definitely not hard-core, so we looked in the Woodall’s Tent Camping Guide to find a place. Woodall’s is only good to find RV campsites, unfortunately, but we found a great place called “Lake in Woods Family Camping Resort”, which had a trading post, a lake with paddleboads, one bazillion RV hookups with LP gas, electricity, and a coaxial cable for satellite TV(!) and golf carts darting everywhere.


The camping was a lot of fun, with one big problem. I carried a forty-pound stack of firewood on my shoulder for about three-quarters of a mile, then slept in a funny position with a cold breeze on my neck. Or something. Anyhow, when I woke up, my neck and left arm had these shooting pains that wouldn’t stop, no matter what position I put myself in. It sucked.


It turns out that I damaged the medial nerve that comes out of vertebrae C6. Or something. So I spent three days in a semi-recumbent position chewing Ibuprofen and trying to ignore my arm. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Kate’s family knew a great chiropractor, though, and the company was congenial (I stayed in Philly), and I’m pretty much better, except that if you look at the webcam, you’ll probably notice that I’m slouching waaay down in my chair.

I crossed my eyes, and