by Rogue Writer
The Vacation from Hell...
|This year, Independence Day falls on a Friday and I’m taking advantage of it. There’s this campground that my manager told me about. Carole called it last week, she managed to reserve the last available site in the park. So after a miserable four days, it’s finally Thursday afternoon and we’re going camping.
At home, fighting through all the confusion and distractions, the car’s packed and the boys are, as usual, beating each other up in the back seat. It’s four pm and we’re on the road.
Camp Cody; Dan swore to me that it was the absolutely perfect place to go. We felt very lucky that we got the last available camp site.
Late afternoon, going through the Bronx to the Thruway, holiday weekend, in ninety degree heat, humid, the radio blasting and the offspring in the back seat trying to kill one another. “Am I looking forward to those six packs and the lounge chair!”
After two pit stops and a period of near mayhem in the back seat we’re almost there at seven fifteen. The area was loaded with different camp grounds. Indianhead, Ponderosa, Stillwell and then we saw it Cody‘s Hideout and underneath Camp Cody; the signs were touching. Two signs together, another, Cody, seven miles up route 28 on the left. The road wasn’t bad but it was all up hill. There’s a long stand of trees and bushes that shroud the park entrance and thankfully no line to get in. The old man stands in the door of the log cabin that serves as the office, “You com_in in?”
Carole calls out, “Yep, we are!” Cheerfully.
“Been wait’n on ya.” He walks with a cane; limping down the two steps and over to the passenger side of the car. He stuffs a cardboard ticket under the wiper that says Section D site 12. “That’ll be nine_tee dollars. Cash in hand.”
“Did you say nineteen or ninety?” She seemed astounded.
“Nine_tee… Ya know nine times ten, nine_tee…” He is becoming annoyed.
She stuffs her credit card back into her wallet and starts counting bills.
While she deals with the man, I look ahead where the dirt, actually muddy road turns into the woods about fifty feet ahead. There’s a curved board nailed high up between two trees, one on either side of the road. Cody’s Hideout is burned into the board. It’s getting dark and there’s nothing but blackness under the canopy of the trees.
“You all have a good time now.” He’s smiling as he stuffs the bills into his jeans and toddles back to the office.
I put the car in four wheel drive and first gear; I ease on the gas. As we approach where the road enters the woods I turn on the headlights. We see two small boards on either side of the road; section A left and B on the right. Both sides started with plot one. The road is pitted and we’re rocking and rolling like we’re caught in the breakers at the sea shore; I slow and tell everyone to tighten their seat-belts. The road is straight, but bumpy as hell.
Carole puts her hand on my arm and says, “Honey, please stop for a minute…”
There is no pulling over, unless we pull into one of the sites; so I stop in the middle of the road. “What’s the matter?”
“Look around, there’s nobody here.”
The wooded area goes on for what seems like forever and I cannot see one car or tent, anywhere. I can see the site markers, the wood and concrete platforms and water spigots, but not a soul.
Sort of nervous, I console her with, “Maybe everyone is coming later or tomorrow?”
We bounce through the empty camp grounds for ten minutes, passing dead trees, unkempt sites and a traffic circle with a broken down shower and bathroom facilities. At the far end of the grounds we discover our site. The farthest point from everything.
Our road borders a white water babbling brook. I park on a bed of flat rocks opposite plot twelve; about twenty feet from the rushing water. The water spigot is right by the concrete pad, but with hardly any water pressure.
Still looking around, there isn’t a car or light in sight and the sun is down. The boys run off to the facilities and come back fifteen minutes later… “Guess what mom?“ Robby giggles and Billy blurts out, “It’s an out house mom.“ Both kids bust out laughing. First dirty look.
The boys help with setting up the tents and pulling the bedding from the car.
I stack up the six packages of beer and set up the lounge chairs before doing anything else. Carole’s setting up the table and cook stove as she gives me some real dirty looks.
“What? The boys a helping…”
She punches me hard in the upper arm, “Great place to camp, all the facilities. Take me to the outhouse wise ass!”
I drive her around and bring her back. She zips herself into her sleeping bag and is out for the night. The boys are in an abnormally good mood and not antagonizing each other. I break open a can and sit in one of the lounge chairs by the Colman Lantern. Still no one, we’re all alone.
In the morning, the gloom of living in a dark forest is beginning to grate on everyone. Breakfast over, we decide to go and ask for our money back. Carole and I bounce back to the office on that roller-coaster of a road and the old man tells us that there “Ain’t no refunds.”
“You know, I’m in advertising, and Camp Cody will never get anyone in here, ever, if I have anything to say about it.
“CAMP CODY? Yo ain’t anywhere ne_a that place. This he_ya is the Hide Out. Cody’s Hide Out, I’m Sam Cody… You want the Camp Cody, You missed it by twelve mile.”
WC = 1000