Tag Archives: camping

Give Yourself to Love, Whiskey and Riverball

9 Jul

wavy gravyThe Kate Wolf Festival, A.K.A. The Crunchy Man’s Coachella, A.K.A. Old People Can Still Have Fun Too 2013, is a beautiful breeding ground for foot-stomping folk music, whiskey swigging jam sessions, and aging white liberals dancing off beat. I had the pleasure of spending four days as a guest and volunteer on Wavy Gravy’s Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, CA. Here is what happened.

Thursday: Arrive at check in. Immediately met with small town sass and sarcasm regarding paperwork. I load my retort only to be thwarted by dry mouth, vicious back sweat and the realization that picking a fight with an old sassy hippy isn’t the way I want to start my festi. GIVE YOURSELF TO LOVE DAWG!

It takes about two hours before a full-fledged sing-along at my campsite breaks out, complete with electric bass, mandolins and a moon puff. I don’t know what the record is, but this seems quick. I barely drove in the steaks of my tent before someone started expertly finger picking the beginning of a song I didn’t know. Jesus this is serious. I soon realize how few songs I know the lyrics to. Damn you Pac and Mac Dre! You are making me look bad in front of my folk friends!

Friday: Start my first volunteer shift at the Kid Zone. The director informs us that we will have to be on our game this year as two children last year contracted hand, foot and mouth disease from playing in the bird seed naked. Quick excerpt from that pep talk:

“Okay guys, due to the hand, foot and mouth snafu of last year, lets just try our best to keep the children…you know, clothed to the best of our abilities…and really you know, just have a good time out there.”

After orientation it becomes very apparent Kid Zone is going to be wacky. Let’s review other Kid Zone highlights.

Kids Open Mic– One kid got on the mic and dropped these rare jewels. “Jussss—tiinnn- BIEBER! Heeeeeeee swimmmmss innnn theeeee WATER!” On repeat for about 10 minutes. Another slobbery youth just yelled for about 5 minutes. No show time at the Apollo cane here. The Kid Zone is about freedom of expression and a director who naps in the shade tent.

Sequoia – “Hi, I’m Sequoia. My online boyfriend cheated on me and got Chlamydia.” After quickly googling to make sure one can’t contract an STD online, I continued down the frightening rabbit hole. I have never been so baffled and frightened talking to a 14 year old before. Her mom flew her out to this dude’s 16th B day in Chicago, but also called the FBI on her first online boyfriend who turned out to be a sex predator. Jeez Mom, maybe install a firewall, cancel Comcast for a couple months? Love your child? I felt obligated to give her some kind of advice, but all I could muster was, “Sequoia, you cray.”

That hay looks familiar...

That hay looks familiar…

Saturday: This will be a choose your own adventure. I will give you two scenarios and you can guess which is more applicable to my actual Saturday.

Scenario 1: Stayed well hydrated, applied requisite amounts of sunscreen, sang old folk songs, ate a healthy dinner, listened politely to some great music while sipping a high end beer and slept like a baby in my tent.

Scenario 2: Got ripped off tequila and whiskey, applied little to no sun screen while playing rings on hot rocks, reggae scatted about getting my balls licked, whipped myself into a frenzy and “danced” with girls while demanding sips from any and all nearby refreshments and maybe, just maybe ate too many samosas and passed out in a hay bale.

Sunday: RIVERBALL! While my sporting nature yearns for a more competitive game, you can’t really go wrong with playing a huge game of baseball in a river with your friends. There are few things like it. Maybe a game of softball in a lake would come close, but regardless it’s a special and awesome activity that signifies the home stretch of the festi.

Clang! Cling! Clang! That can only mean one thing. Rings! I probably spent half my time at Kate Wolf trying to toss industrial sized washers into a hole 15 feet away from me, and although I was whipped rather thoroughly, my obsession grew, and I vow to all those who bested me that I shall return stronger and with more arc on my throws!

The festival ended with what else but a group sing-along. It was difficult, but after relaxing river dips, drinking with friends, and camping under a beautiful sky, I finally gave myself to love. As soon as I left I got stuck in traffic in Willits and had to give myself back to hate, but there is always next year.

Camping Etiquette

26 Jul

5 Songs Buddy!

Rogue John Mayers– There is a 5-song max!!! Normally someone will pick up the guitar and timidly pluck at the strings and say something like, “Oh I haven’t played in forever,” or “I only know a couple songs.” This is what you want to hear because these people will play their “House of the Rising Sun,” “Ring of Fire” and “Wish you Were Here” and be done with it. Everyone sings along and laughs and times are good. If someone starts tuning the guitar by ear or drops that they are in a band, run for the fucking hills. You are about to sit through a brutal session, which usually entails long periods of required silence and obligatory compliments such as, “wow that was really powerful.” I don’t care how many chords you know or how sultry your voice may be, I didn’t ask for a private concert so please play your 5 songs and shut that shit.

Side note: Beware of those who bring hand drums. While a skilled percussionist can add depth to a jam session, a drunk or “in the zone” hand slapper can quickly become a nuisance.

No respect.

Reckless Roasters- We’re all adults now, which means find your stick, widdle what you will, apply the mallow and exercise a bit of patience. I’ll have none of this juvenile putting the entire mallow in the hot, hot flame and burning the crap out of it. Everyone knows you are not enjoying your burnt ass smore. Get your grown smore on.

Let me in guys.

Tentative Tent Sharers– I recently went camping with some friends. Before we left I asked if any of them had a tent I could share. Apparently this is the most inappropriate question to ask before a camping trip. “Umm that’s weird. Why don’t you have a tent?” Oh is that weird? Sorry, but in the midst of trying to get a fulfilling job, find love, make friends, travel, build my skill set, and rage, buying a fucking tent slipped my mind! My apologies!

Side note: Stop bringing all of your bedding from home and putting into your tent like its your bed away from bed. Everyone knows sleeping in a tent is uncomfortable no matter how many amenities one brings. They are smelly, hot sickly chambers usually on uneven ground. Your duvet won’t help matters.

The ravine is just down the way.

The Snorelax- (I think I’m actually included in this group) Kindly roll yourself off a ravine.

Stay in your site old people.

Neighborly Neds- Stay the eff in your own campsite. This ain’t the club. I don’t care if you need firewood, firs aid or just a friend. I’m here with my friends trying to create my own memories. I don’t need you coming over in your Tour De France outfit telling me about how long it takes to bike down the California coast. You’re smelly and making people uncomfortable.

Side note: If you are an attractive group of female campers you may approach. BUT WITH CAUTION.

Double Side note: This never happens.

Did you study at Le Cordon Bleu?

Julia Childs Style– Oh! Didn’t know we invited Julia and Julia, Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck on this trip. If you are going to spend half your rent check on organic foods for one weekend then so be it, but don’t have the audacity to critique my bud lights, block of cheese and ballpark franks. You can eat your quinoa and leek beet salad sandwich, but do so sans smirk and in silence.

That’ll do just fine.

Fire Fuhrer– Nobody cares that you took a wilderness survival-training course or went backpacking for a week in Yosemite. Everyone has a Bic and can find some paper and kindling. “Hmm I noticed you didn’t create a teepee structure, which is really the most efficient…” Shut that shit. I have a lighter. We’ll all be just fine.

GET THAT HEADLAMP OUT MY FACE!