It’s my favorite time of year, time to go camping and enjoy the beauty of nature. I am one of those people whose camping trips always turn into some sort of excitement.
For example, years ago my girlfriend called up and said let’s go camping. I said great, I’ll load up the camo Karmann Ghia. Nope, she said, we’re taking your other car. My other car was a 1975 Fire Engine Red with black leather interior Triumph Spitfire. What a great cruiser. It felt almost like you were in a British Spitfire plane from World War II.
So, we loaded what we could – some food, a couple of blankets, jackets and a sleeping bag. If you know the car, that was pushing its carrying capacity, and off we went. She wanted to see the leaves changing colors back east, so she said, “Let’s go to the Smokey Mountains.” Ugh! If you’ve ever been there, you know why.
On our way, the first night camping, we met another couple and as all the campgrounds were packed, they asked if we would share ours so we did. We had a nice fire and chat and the next morning when we woke up, we found half of our stuff missing – our jackets, food, water. Nice folks.
We headed southeast and made it to the Smokey Mountains where we enjoyed the fall colors – about 10 feet at a time. For, you see, everyone wants to see the trees change color so it was three hours of bumper to bumper traffic before we reached the main lodge and turned around. Then it was another three hours back. What joy. Like going to Jellystone in the middle of summer.
We found a place across a stream that was next to a main camping ground that was packed full. It was surrounded by trees and full of trash. So, we cleaned the place up and went to sleep. In the middle of the night, we heard a splash. And sure enough, two rangers showed up and told us we couldn’t camp there. We told them of our adventures the night before and how we cleaned up the place and they said, OK, but leave in the morning. Yes sir.
As they were about to leave, one of them spotted an extra magazine lying next to the sleeping bag that went to my German Luger. He immediately asked where the pistol was and at first I couldn’t find it. I had moved to my side and inadvertently covered it with my blanket when they woke us up. I handed him the gun and he was playing with it and I asked him if he wanted me to unload it. He did and handed it back to me. Good thing I’m a good guy.
He gave me a receipt and told me where to pick it up on my way out of the park the next morning. As soon as they left, all kinds of weird animal noises surrounded us. So I got up, walked over to a nearby tree a few feet away, and grabbed my M10 rifle – similar to an AR15, all black but in 308 caliber and full auto. Yes, I had a federal license for it. Immediately, the noises stopped and we went to sleep.
The next morning, we retrieved my pistol and headed off. We drove several hundred miles and were tired and I inquired at a store for a place to camp. The girl gave me directions and off we went. I found the road into the area and while driving up it, we came upon two big puddles, blocking the way.
I saw some wooden planks and made a narrow ramp over them and asked her to guide me over. She started pointing to her right and I looked at her weird. She pointed again and as soon as I barely turned the wheel, ker-splash. First one side, then the other into the water, high centered. Spitfires only have about six inches of clearance.
She asked what we could do and I suggested we go check out the campsite and target shoot. Upon arriving about 50 feet further up the road, we found the place. I noticed fresh human spoors by a rundown barn but said nothing. The first round she fired, we heard several trail bikes start up and down the mountain they came. It was three guys. They stopped and introduced themselves; one was even a preacher.
We talked and then did some target shooting. When finished, I asked if they could help me pick up the car and move it and they did. We thanked them and left. As we were driving back to the main road and maybe find a hotel, my girlfriend giggled. I asked what was so funny and she said she couldn’t help but notice how the preacher couldn’t stop staring at her chest. I laughed and said, “Yep, I thought you had a new boyfriend, but why is that funny?” She said, “No, he scared me and so did the other two. What was so funny was I think those two guys wanted you.” I said, “Yep, they did, but I persuaded them to change their mind.” I could hear dueling banjos in the background.
She asked me how I did that and I said, “Remember when we were target shooting. I shot my pistol, they shot theirs and then we reloaded and traded?” She said, “Yes, that really scared me.” So I continued. “After we both fired all the bullets out of both guns the second time, I still had another loaded magazine and they were out of bullets. When they saw me reload, they looked at each other in disappointment so I think they saw the errors of their way.”
Moral of the story: The Boy Scouts motto is: Always be prepared. Mine is: Always have more bullets then the other guy. Enjoy the summer and be safe.
by Gary Noth