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Roughing It

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Roughing It

Boots goes camping. From the Mouth of the River

“Roughing it” is a term loosely used by someone camping out with little or no overnight camping gear. In our case however, we had all the elements one could ask for... almost. We had a motor home and it was equipped with everything one could imagine, even a shower, just in case you had talked your wife into going on a camping trip. 

Dave Lisaius is the world-famous sportsman mentioned several times by Pat McManus in his stories of the great outdoor sportsmen of North Idaho and parts unknown. I myself am of lesser-known ability when it comes to my handling the great outdoors. However, each year on opening day of Walleye season on the upper arm of the Spokane River, we have always descended on it in full force and purpose. 

This year, however, our wives reneged on the trip, claiming previous obligations. This was just too good to be true. It meant us guys would have the motor home all to ourselves. We could eat guy food and pass gas without being thrown out of the motor home for such foul etiquette by our wives. Their excuse for not going was they had volunteered to help clean out all the Indian casinos of all their loose change.  

I spent the night at Dave’s Villa on his sprawling estate just outside of Spokane. This was so we could get an early start on our fishing trip; any time before noon is fine with Dave, who likes a leisurely breakfast on the veranda with coffee and the stock market report. Dave is so confident in his ability to catch and release several times his daily limit of fish, he doesn’t feel the need for rushing, even though there was some concern about parking space. “That’s why we are arriving a day early,” he said, “to get a choice parking spot overlooking the great lake.”

We have previously stayed at casinos that cost a hundred dollars a night; of course, that included breakfast and lattes delivered to your door by some scantily clad young lady with a lot of silicone showing. This, however was not one of those camp grounds. This was a government- run establishment. It once belonged to a Meth lab that blew up, leaving a large hole that was used later as a toilet to be pumped out every two to three years. Now going into its fourth year, the government toilet paper that was supplied the first year had long sense been used up. I’m not saying this toilet was in need of repair, but the dirty jokes in there had been written back in the 50s. There were flies older than my grandchildren.  

While they were standing around in the smoking aftermath of the meth explosion, it was decided this would be a great place for a campground, so the government seized this property. They seemed to be oblivious to the fact they were standing on the downhill side of a mountain. Even the water in the toilet bowls was listing to the downhill side. 

When we arrived we discovered all campsites were taken but one. We were second in line for that one until Dave accidently kicked the walking cane out from under this blue-haired old lady and before she could be retrieved from rolling down the mountain and into the lake, we claimed the campsite. Backing down the campsite, we noticed our brakes were locked but we only skidded a foot or to and came to rest against a large tree at the end. This was when we noticed none of the amenities would work if the motor home wasn’t level. 

Looking around we noticed all the other camper trailers and motor homes had brought tons of blocks and lumber just to do that very thing. We set and drank coffee from our thermoses and watched this elderly couple across the way level their twenty-four-foot camper trailer. It took them four hours to jack it up twenty-four inches the first two times. Both times it teetered and fell down. We were taken aback by the fact there was no screaming or cussing one another when things would go wrong, not like other couples who would turn purple and scream at one another because Dad would turn the steering wheel the wrong way and run over the dog that was tied to the bumper. 

We sipped our coffee while leaning up against a tree and admired our new neighbors for their patience and understanding while finally leveling their trailer on a stack of teetering boards over two feet high. We admired their doing all of this without shouting and cursing at each other. “I hope when my wife and I get that old we can be that understanding and patient with each other,” Dave said. “What do you mean, “That old,” Dave? You are that old!”

It was at this time we looked up, just in time to see the old woman grab the old man by the throat and yank him out of the truck and on to the ground, kicking and beating him with a board. Now I know why they were not cussing one another; they’re deaf-mutes. 

It wasn’t until Dave made a sandwich and the meat kept sliding out from between the slices of bread  that we decided maybe we should just get a motel.

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Boots Reynolds Boots Reynolds The "internationally-renowned cowboy artist" Boots Reynolds has moved his comedic interpretation of life into the writing field with his regular column in the River Journal - From the Mouth of the River.

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camping, From the Mouth of the River, Motor Home

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