Heavy mist and fog saturated the skies, the Pacific Ocean fused with the horizon. The day’s coastal driving curvy, sometimes dangerous, tested both patience and character. A day of endurance along a phantom body of water, my spirit about as water logged as the sopping tent sprawled beneath the truck bed cover. Pounding surf, combing the beach, blazing the trail, hunting for agates—not on this day. Only rain and entertaining campground neighbors.
Our 40th tent camping experience wedged between the trees, the relentless deluge forced an early retreat to our blue and white marshmallow by mid afternoon on the 15th. My husband tirelessly rearranged soaked cots, sopped water from the floor, and struggled to keep everything dry huddled within his fluffy down cocoon. Futility. Steady drip, drip, drip from worn seams.
I retreated to the Ford pickup, wet blanket and pillows in hand.
Slumped against the seat, wilted disposition, I stared at the dashboard. Two months of living on the road—scattered papers, food wrappers, empty coffee cups, and the volume of tourist information pamphlets—it was enough to make this wandering gypsy scream. Then there were all the electronics, behind me, beside me, and crowded at my feet. Lest I forget to mention, suitcases and stacks of clothing wedged behind each seat. Cozy living arrangement!
Like Dorothy from Kansas tapping her ruby red slippers, I cried there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. I collapsed into oblivion around 10 p.m., only to be startled and awakened around 1:30 a.m. by bright lights.
Rude neighbor’s lights glared around their camping compound, the stage for tonight’s performance spied from my covert position. Rain a distant memory now, but the stillness of the night interrupted by banging pots and pans, clinking metal utensils, and thudding car doors. A swig or two from the wine bottle and their midnight snack devoured, both individuals staggered to their hideaway—lights remained on.
The sly bandits encircled the food-laden picnic table while other black shadows paced the roadway. Raccoon verbal abuses screamed from our neighbor’s tent door. Stealth and finesse exhibited at the ice chest, ignoring the shrieking woman. The raccoon stretched long and lengthy, his back paws dug into the picnic table seat for leverage. The thief’s front paws clung to the side of the large blue cooler while his head plunged deep into the treasure chest. Snapping a parcel between his teeth from the depths of the container and flinging it to the ground, the robber leaped down and scurried away with his possession.
Zip—zip—zip—the man opened the tent door, leaned forward, surmising the situation. Ever so cautiously he ambled to the raccoon’s fiesta, peering into the darkness for black shadows beneath his feet. Storage container shoved into hatchback and a long guzzle from the huge wine bottle before wedging it between boots and container. Hatchback door slammed, vehicle locked with the toot of the horn, and the man lumbered to the arms of his agitated woman.
The underhanded gang of thieves returned to the crime scene around 2 a.m., surmising the somewhat less inviting indulgences. Enticement removed, they disappointingly moved on and vanished into the darkness.
Totally spent from spying, I wrapped my blanket around my head and collapsed one more time into the unknown. What a night! (Raccoon photo scanned and taken several years ago)
I hope you were entertained with the raccoon story…more in the making. Visit my website for more photographs of our gypsy wanderings to Alaska and back: www.corinthrose.com
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