As outlined in in a guest blog not long ago, I like outdoor things only when it’s on my terms. Where I’m still technically camping in that I’m outside and there is no AC, but not without TOO many amenities. A tent is a must, an air mattress ideal, and if at all possible, I’d like to not be bug-bitten when crawling into “bed.” It’s a goal that requires ample packing, but also beats its alternative of sleeping outside (gasp) or on a cold ground (double gasp). Or living life as a dirty, smelly mess. Like God probably intended.
Anyway, that’s exactly what Bo and I did last weekend, along with some friends. It was our first camping trip together, and my first camping trip in multiple years. The day was great, albeit hot. We fished, ate, hung out, and made ample use of the nearby restrooms so as to not have to actually pee outside. At least in the daylight.
Then it was time for bed. So we crawled in, or rather on the new air mattress we’d purchased with shower gift cards (thanks, friends). And got almost no rest. Bo slept fine; strangers walking and hollering near our tent had no effect on him. Meanwhile I stirred at least once per hour. Which means I was wide-awake when the tent flipped upside down. Bottom grounded and un-anchored.
Before, I heard the wind, a single sustained force. Thinking it was a torrential downpour, I braced myself to get soaked. Only instead of experiencing moisture, we were lifted completely and dropped on our bellies. Stakes ripped out of the ground and all.
Now that it’s over and the only scars are bruises and an incredible Verizon bill, it’s quite funny. No one was seriously hurt and the tent will be returned to its owners, unscathed. At the time, however, we were both left in awe, and our communication skills useless.
It Went Something Like This
A gust – somewhere in the range of 70 MPH (a guess based on local weather reports) – yanked us off the ground and landed us face-first. Like, not even a gentle rolling over or placing us sideways, it was a complete uprooting and tossing; we stood no chance. Bo didn’t wake until he hit the ground. Being dark and us essentially thrown in a plastic bag, we didn’t know which way was out, or where anything was. Like my cell phone or all of the pairs of pants I was not wearing.
BTW: I took them off to be comfortable. Who wants to sleep in weddie-causing bottoms when they can, instead, sleep in just underwear? Bo had warned me against taking them off, that I needed to be “ready to get up and run” in the middle of the night. And as a compromise, I placed a pair of shorts beside me. Next to my glasses and phone.
Only we were tossed like a sack of potatoes and everything was mixed and intertwined. You know that feeling when you’re about to take a huge gulp of water and you get milk instead? It was kinda like that, but for the whole body.
After landing, we made sure the other was ok; Bo said we should stay under the mattress since we were obviously in a tornado. I assured him tornadoes don’t work that way, and instead we should escape. So we crawled. Him talking about where the exit probably was, and me listing the zillion things we needed to find.
Spoiler: we had landed on top of our way out.
After about 20 minutes of semi panicking, attempting to rip through the side plastic, and almost stabbing through a window (or more dramatically, shooting a hole with the found gun), the door was located. We belly slid out, only I made Bo return to fetch me some pants. He pulled out two t-shirts and a cloth bag before finding actual bottoms.
My cell phone was nowhere to be found. But considering I was fully clothed and had all four of my eyes (my prescriptions are -9 and -8.5, with the lefty being the worse of the two), I figured that was as good as it was going to get. Also my keys were in hand.
(Later, the phone was found on top of the air mattress, floating in a small puddle.)
Next I went to start the car for a weather report. I also used Bo’s flip phone (yes he had a flip phone) to call my Mom, who graciously answered in the middle of the night, and gave an accurate weather report. Did I mention the wind was quite calm at this point?
Our friends joined us, gawking at our plastic mess of a tent, and working to anchor everything down or hide anything that shouldn’t get wet. And then we drove home at 3:30 am to sleep in an actual bed. As we crawled in, Bo left me with a very comforting thought that, “If we land on our bellies this time, something went seriously wrong.”
I slept great.
A Note to Coleman:
Hey guys, you make a great tent. I mean, it can’t withstand high-speed winds, but that’s really more about physics. No part of the tent broke or ripped in the slightest. Solid construction award, right there. Also, our air mattress is a Coleman brand, it too, withstood inclement weather. Now if only they’d make waterproof phone cases.
Anyway, thanks guys. A job well done.
Other Things That Took Place
- The canopy beside us had blown down, I looked through the window and thought someone had pitched a tent right beside us overnight.
- Bo decided this was a great lesson God taught me and next time I should listen to my husband. Even though he’s told me to be ridiculous over-planned every single day and this is the first time I’ve needed to listen.
- After soaking in rice for two days, I gave up and obtained a new talking device. (Bonus, my first positive customer experience with Verizon ever!) Bo thought he should probably upgrade too and ditched his 1995 flip phone model for an iPhone 6+, the largest smartphone known to man. (Probably.)
- Our friends’ tent was the only one left standing. In the entire campgrounds. We’re guessing it was the three kids they had helping hold it down.
- Roughly 300 people have asked me since the event, if, at that moment, I’m wearing pants. Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. They’ve also asked me if I’ll wear pants next time I’m warned about getting comfortable. And the answer is no, probably not.