Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend at Steamboat

There are some books that once I pick them up and start reading them I can’t stop thinking about the plot and characters. I have been reading this Stephen King novel for the past several weeks and this weekend gave me a chance to get into everything the book has with my full attention. “Duma Key” grabbed me and until I finished it, it wouldn’t let me go.

Linda and I packed up the camper and drove down to Steamboat Rock State Park for a long weekend. The weather in the northwest was forecasted to be beautiful and so we figured if it was going to be good in Coeur d’Alene then it has to be hot at Banks Lake. This is our first venture down to this area in the spring and we were greeted with green grasses and blooming wildflowers.

We set up our camper in the first group camp. Steamboat has two camps and we usually are down in the second one because they close the first group camp after Labor Day. We usually are down here around Halloween and the campground is usually empty.

Set up was very easy and we got a nice spot within about 50 feet of the water. Our loop was empty and there were only two other rigs in this entire three loop system. We had a nice evening watching the water fowl. There must be hundreds of birds out in front of our site and as the evening progressed we witnessed mass migrations back and forth in front of our lounging point. Several times a couple of big birds of prey, I believe to be Golden Eagles, swooped in and caused mass hysteria on the surface of the water for several minutes. The smaller birds would flap wildly and avoid the attacks, their wings sounding like an old motor car rumbling by. Squawks and cries split the air, but the moment the big birds flew off, the lake returned to its quiet self.

We watched the sun set, took Kobi for a final run and then settled in to eat dinner, read, and go to bed. The night sky was clear and the air grew cold. It was cold enough to warrant additional blankets, but we keep them right next to our bed so we pulled them over us and slept warm the entire night.

Linda woke up early and took Kobi for a walk. I rolled out of bed and fixed coffee, returning to my “Duma Key.” When the two walkers returned we sat out in the sun reading and taking in the vitamin D. The sounds of loons, grebes and ducks filled the early morning air.

We took a walk to the west end of Steamboat Rock and explored that area. I took a few pictures as Kobi and Linda marched onward. The entire hike was about three miles I would guess and it gave us a different view of Banks Lake then we had seen before. On the way back I found a tick on my neck so we were now in full tick alert. I imagine Kobi will pick up several by the time we are through with our weekend.

Back at the camper we settled into our lounge lizards consuming more of our books as the afternoon progressed.

At about 4:00 PM two rigs pulled into the tri loop area. With no hesitation they drove directly over and set up right next to us. We were completely dumbfounded. There are approximately fifty spots in this big loop area, four were taken and they were well spread out, and they chose the two spots directly next to us. We tried to figure this out as they set up, but the only thing we could come up with is that they are backed up to the open sage brush area. They have a poor view of the water; there are about ten others that are directly on the water, like ours. We could not understand their choice to be right next to others. As the weekend continued we accepted their presents, they were fairly quiet and kept to themselves. After they were all set up my theory is that they come here often and know exactly where to set their satellite dishes in those two spots.

We went to bed tired and ready for sleep. I woke up at about 2:00AM to the sounds of coyotes yipping in the distance. Linda woke up at 4:00AM to the sound of a mouse munching somewhere in one of our cupboards. She woke me and I immediately went out and brought in the heavy armaments that we had purchased for this purpose in Bend when we were visiting Shawna. I set the traps with peanut butter and we returned to bed. All Linda could think about was a mouse running around over her in bed. All I could think about was how the dammed thing got in here. Once again a mouse hunt began.

We started our day in the usual way. When Linda and Kobi returned from their walk I was at ”Duma Key”. We read for about an hour and while we did we ate breakfast. Once we had our morning coffee, meal and literature we got ready for our walk. This morning hike took us along the base of Steamboat Rock to the west. We followed the trail to the lake giving us the exact opposite view that we had the previous day.

As we hiked Kobi ran in front of us on the trail. Sometimes he would bust off the trail to jump and run on his own. As we neared the lake he made a quick left off the trail and ran right into a cactus patch. I saw him jump and then sit down right in the middle of the trail. We grabbed him as he bit at something on his foot. I was a second too late and there it was, a cactus stuck to his lower lip. He definitely didn’t like it there, but we had his head and kept him from biting it any further. It was sharp and when I tried to pull it out it poked at my every attempt. I took his lead and quickly wrapped it around the cactus giving it a quick pull. The tuft pulled out and flipped into the grass, leaving about three big spines stuck in Kobi’s lip. You could see in his eye that he did not like this one bit, so I quickly bulled the remaining spines out. We searched his paws and around his mouth for more pickers, but found none. For the rest of the hike in this area we kept Kobi on lead and on the trail hoping to avoid further cactus incidents.

We tossed a stick for the dog and he swam out and kind of brought it back. When we tired we walked back up to the gravel road and returned to the camper. After lunch I returned to the “Key” and read on. At about five I was within pages of finishing the book. Linda cooked dinner and we ate. I finished the novel just after dinner and sat and digested the outcome. Kobi and I took a bike ride and when I returned I showered. When I got done with all the evening preps Linda handed me a new book, “Breathless” by Dean Kontz. I sat down and the cycle began again.

The next morning I checked all my traps. Mouse hunting takes persistence and you have to be diligent about keep things in order. Once the traps were baited with fresh peanut butter I made breakfast and we got ready for a bike ride. We road about six miles and half way on the ride I returned to our camp and picked up Kobi. He did a great job of running between Linda and I as we moved along the road. We rewarded his efforts by letting him dock dive as I tossed him sticks. He loves to run and hurl himself into the water. When we were at the Bighorn Outdoor Show in Spokane this spring we thought of entering him into the competition. It costs $25 for his entry fee and that was a bit steep, so we bought him a new toy and called it good.

We returned to camp and played cribbage. Linda is on a winning streak and I just go through the motions of watching her count 12’s and 14’s. If I have to serve time in hell losing in cribbage, then I have had a lot of practice already, not that I think I’m headed that way you know.

We cooked dinner, took Kobi for a final ride and settled in to watch our Sunday night movie. Netflicks delivered us “Where the Wild Things Go” recently and so Linda made crumb cake and we snuggled into bed for the viewing. It was a good little movie, a bit slow and filmed a great deal either in the dark of the cave or at night. This made it hard to see what was happening on our small screen LCD.

After the movie I took Kobi out to relieve himself, the sky was clear and the moon shown bright. Tomorrow we pack up and drive home. Linda and I have talked about why we camp many times. We can’t put our finger on just one reason we love to get out. We are perplexed about why we have not found others who have the same desire to get away and explore like we do. The life style we choose gives us many freedoms that others do not have. Then again we have some good friends who have much more freedom then we do and we would love to be able to go and explore for long periods with their company. This will come with good time, we’ll just have to stay close and get away when we can.

Epilogue:

The truck and camper rumbled back into our storage spot and my concentration was directed into the backing mirrors when I heard Linda in a hushed tone squeal “there’s the mouse, right there, on the wiper blades, don’t move!” I put the rig in park and focused on the window before me. There it was, right where Linda said. I moved slowly and opened my door. It moved toward me fast. I could not decide what to do so I swung at it with my hand. Three times I swung and missed and finally it ducked under the truck hood. I pulled the latch and opened the hood, but could see nothing. It was somewhere inside my hot diesel engine, I knew it was gone for good. I walked over to Linda’s side of the truck to open the door for Kobi and as I reached for his door I saw something drop off the truck into the grass. There it was sitting in just off the driveway not two feet from where I stood. I looked at Linda and motioned for her to stay put. She looked at me and I brought my finger to my lips to say “shhhhhhhh”. With lightning speed I leapt up in the air and tromped down on the mouse. GAME OVER BIG GUY! Dean Bennett 2, mice 0.

Linda had already made appointments with the psychiatrist for the trama of seeing my big 12 inch shoe cruch the life out of that cute little mouse.

1 comment:

TheBeanTeam said...

"Dean Bennett 2 Mice 0"

Very funny. Remind me to tell you of when I stayed at a buddies place and we did something similar using baseball bats.

It is not a pretty story.