Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Camping on the Shore of Wickiup Reservoir, Pt. 9

My camping trip continues, but tomorrow would be the day I have to go back to Bend -- Redmond, actually, to pick up Mrs Elliott at the airport.

I decided that after my abject failure at getting even one salmon to strike my hookless fly, the day nevertheless held promise as a good one for projects, not too hot, not too cold.

Cleaned out the camping gear tote boxes and re-organized them into "basic" camping gear and "extended trip" gear. I guess was doing this with an eye on next season, this one feels like it is drawing to a close, although that might just be this cold front and the high, thin clouds stealing some of the sun's heat, all putting me in mind of Autumn. It felt fall-like. But we can have some lovely Indian summer days, too, so I mustn't be too hasty to pack things away!

I also worked on a couple items in my "recovery" kit -- the chains and slings and hooks and other bits I bring when I think there is a chance the van could get stuck in mud or sand.

For sand, one of the best things a fellow with a two-wheel skinny-tire vehicle can do to improve traction is to air down the tires. 16 psi makes for some very squishy tires that are less-likely to get stuck.

So I have these new automatic tire deflators, little dinguses that you screw onto the tires' valves and which let air out of the tires until they reach the desired pressure. They are adjustable and I needed to set them so they shut off at 16 psi.

A tire pressure gauge and an allen wrench are all that's needed. Oh, and a tire to deflate, then re-inflate as needed until all four deflators are dialed in. But that takes a long time with a passenger car tire, so I brought along one of the little tires from my bicycle trailer.

I also brought an air compressor for re-inflating the tire after each adjustment. This becomes part of my rough road gear, and it was something I hadn't yet opened up and tested to make sure it works -- don't want the first time it's used to be somewhere where I'm stuck and then to discover that the thing doesn't work.

Well, it worked, although it makes that fearsome BRRRRRRR sound that compressors make, sounding even louder here in the silence of the lake.

I noticed how dirty the van was, and broke out the 409 and the carpet beater.

By midafternoon it had become a gray day with weak sunlight. I spent my time indoors, mostly, going out only to use the facilities, tidy up camp, and other trivial chores. Quiet, peaceful, only the sound of the wind and the cries of the shorebirds. Have you read "Into the Wild"? This puts me in mind of Alaska. Or northern Canada a la "Never Cry Wolf." Thankfully, there are no mosquitoes here that rival the sparrow-sized ones found farther north. Dry climes do not breed mozzies.

The copse of trees in which I sited the my commode has been used by others for years as the toilet area. It's littered with scraps of toilet paper, a urine-filled bottle, and other disagreeable rubbish. Here we find the reason why they don't want people camping below the high water mark -- people downstream boat, swim, fish, and raft in this water.

As with amateur radio licenses, I think that people should be required to pass a test to prove their competence and sense of responsibility before being allowed to camp in certain sensitive areas. Those who show they understand and can be counted on to take care of the area would have access to sites like where I was a few days ago. The lazy, the irresponsible, the ignorant, mouthbreathers, rednecks, knuckledraggers and morons need to be penned up in Kampgrounds of America where they can play with their chainsaws and turn their campfires into garbage fires.

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