A tree, a canoe, the canoe again, a spear gun, and hillbillies. These are the things that tried to kill us over a long camping trip. I’ll start with the boat. Also this is a long story and I know people on the internet have the attention span of a caffeinated three year old so I’m doing it as a series.
We had been planning the trip for a couple weeks and it was going to be great. A few days camping and fishing in the Sierras. We even got my dad to loan us his canoe. It was a light blue Old Town number that my dad loves and still has to this day. We strapped it to the roof of Creepy Rob’s battered car.
Along with my dad’s canoe we crammed the usual camping stuff everywhere, tents, sleeping bags, stove, food, more food, firewood, an axe, fishing tackle, and a spear gun. The spear gun was a last minute addition as we were raiding someone’s parents collection of outdoor gear we found it and tossed it in to the mix. I mean why not right?
Four brave souls headed out for the Northern Sierra Nevada, Myself, Creepy Rob, Skip, and Mitch we almost didn’t make it back.
Canoes are a diabolical craft by nature and canoes have been luring would be paddlers to their doom since their invention by a native fellow who’s nickname was “Paddles Frantically”. My father’s canoe is no different. Normally canoes are big fans of physical comedy, and occasionally they are homicidal. This canoe struck before it was even in the water.
We left town on a Friday night and it was about nine when the canoe made it’s move. We were driving across a windy, very high up bridge when one of the tie down straps securing the canoe to the roof failed.The canoe didn’t fall off, that would only cause chaos behind us, the canoe wanted us involved. It swung sideways across the windshield as we were going about 60 miles an hour. That certainly added some excitement to the drive immediately. One second it’s a view of traffic around you, the next nothing but the bottom of the canoe.
We all started screaming, the cars around us started honking and swerving, and everybody on that bridge started swearing. Mitch said something witty about us “all going to die” Skip just sat there doing an impersonation of somebody frozen in terror. I leaned out the window and tried in vain to wrestle the canoe. Rob tried to control the car and avoid the lit cigarette that had fallen in his lap when he started screaming and swerving.
Thankfully Creepy Rob proved himself a capable stunt driver. He managed to get us pulled to the side of the road as soon as we cleared the bridge so we could all finish having our heart attacks in safety.
The cloud of profanity is probably still hovering over that bridge so I apologize to any delicate souls or parents with young children that have had to drive through it.
We got out and inspected the car and canoe, which combined formed a sort of Hammerhead Shark shape. “New for 1992 the Chevy Hammerhead!” I walked around to see what happened. I held up a melted piece of nylon webbing, apparently someone anchored the tie down directly in front of the cars exhaust pipe.
We all immediately did a Three Stooges blame circle. After we got done pointing fingers and swearing we secured the canoe properly and headed off again. AC/DC’s Highway to Hell played on the tape deck.
The canoe chuckled to itself enjoying it’s clever game. It did not have to wait long to make a second attempt on our lives.