Not really. There’s no reason for those morons to come to our town. It’s a small, isolated sort of place with no major population centers or landmarks for them to picket. Are they even still protesting, or did the trust funds run out and they had to go home or back to Harvard?
But it looked like they were moving in. My daughter and I took advantage of the warmish weather last night and tried tenting out in the backyard. She had my old two-man tent. Really it’s a two small people who are on exceptionally good terms with each other tent. It was a $49 six sided three pole Wal mart special I bought twelve years ago for saving money camping out at fly ins. As I haven’t been to a fly-in in quite a while, it doesn’t see much use any more. The bad economy killed a lot of flying clubs off.
I can fit in the tent from point to point, but only just. It has more head room that feet room, so while you can sit up and play cards or something and have plenty of room, it’s hard to sleep. Fortunately my child is much shorter than me, and she, the Angry Bird plush, and her sleeping bag fits just fine.
I have my hammock tent. I’ve hung it a few times, but never spent more than about two minutes in it, and never with a sleeping bag. It was also the first time I’ve hung the rain fly (I.e. The roof for you non campers) separately from the hammock. I could actually see out pretty good through the mosquito netting. When the fly is on the tent directly, it limits vision and blocks a lot of air movement, but it will keep you dry, like a cocoon.
So we did all the normal end of day stuff. Eat, bath, read. Then we went outside. There was a nice breeze blowing. Unfortunately, there was a 30% chance of rain. Kaylee got situated and zipped up behind her netting. Her tent has a netting roof too, and I asked if she wanted it exposed so she could see stars, or if she wanted the rain fly on. She wanted the fly on. Good choice. I told her if she got cold, just zip up the tent door, but for now she might feel better with only the netting closed. I lay in my hammock, which settled a foot lower than I had tied it, thanks to rope stretch and the fact that my knots might not be up to manufacturers specs. I need to watch the knot video again. I felt a little exposed in case of rain, worried it might blow under the rain fly, which was now a foot or more over my tent.
The first thing I noticed as I shifted around to get on my sleeping bag (you can’t just lay on the hammock, it’s thin and the Mosquitos can bite you through the material just like a t shirt), was that the netting let in a lot of breeze. Nice at first, but would get cold later. The fabric of the rain fly rippled a little in the breeze too.
The next important thing I noticed was that my idiot neighbors on the north side of me have about 3000 watts of security lights that light up the rainfly when it ripples, although down in the hammock they don’t shine directly on me. They do provide enough light in my kitchen that I can make a sandwich, though. With my glasses off the weird yellow green light reminds me of stories of alien probing. I keep waiting for the Greys to show up.
My neighbors to the south have two dogs, commonly known as LS Barkers, LS standing for Little…umm, crappy. That’s ALL they do. Walk into the yard, they bark at you, sneeze, they bark at you, turn over in the tent, they bark at you. They stand right at the fence and yap yap yap. So they bark at my kid’s flashlight while she reads. They bark when I say goodnight, and they bark when there’s a little sleeping bag rustle when we shift positions. Is it kosher to hire a hit man for the neighbor’s dog?
The last thing I remember about my neighborhood. There are a hundred houses here. There are two main roads in and out. I live at the corner of the outside highway and one of those roads. So all night long it’s like Grand Central Station. Cars in and out, loud mufflers, booming music, and the damn dogs barking. Where the heck is everyone going all night?
Then I see the lightning. I check my phone, which I brought with me, and the radar shows the storm is swinging north of us, which I confirm visually. My daughter sees it too, and announces we might get wet. I tell her to go to sleep and if it starts raining bad, we will go inside.
So with headphones on to drown out the sound of the dogs, but not loud enough so if my daughter wants something I can still hear her, sleeping bag pulled up by my head to cut out the security lights from Hell, and the gentle rocking of the hammock in the breeze, I try to sleep.
The hammock works well. I can imagine it would be nice being back in the woods in the middle of no where, no dogs barking, no traffic, only the sounds of animals creeping through the brush. I don’t hear any animals around us, only the occasional crunch of leaves here and there, likely tree rats (squirrel), which the dogs evidently ignore. I then realize I’m sort of a piñata for anything large enough to want to consume me, but thankfully in my neighborhood I doubt anything is that hungry.
The air cools off and the storm goes around us, and then it gets cooler and a little windier. If I was smart I would get out of my hammock, attach the fly to the rigging of the hammock and close it in a little, but I’m tired and lazy. I sleep a fitful sleep (with all the noise and lights and cars) through the night and around 5:45 I’m fully awake, and wrapped in my sleeping bag. My daughter gets up about 6:15 and asks if it time to go in. She announces that she is cold, and I’ve heard her several times rolling around. I look over and see the tent door is wide open, letting the cool air blow right through her mosquito net. She has no explanation for why she didn’t close the door. She informs me it’s raining. I tell her it’s probably just dew on the tent, and she says “I hear it hitting”. She’s quiet for a moment, and I hear it hitting my rain fly now. At this point I realize having her fly on was a good choice. Not wanting to get caught in a downpour (and since we are both fully awake) we go in, sleeping bags and flashlights in tow.
I learned a thing or two:
I need a pillow. Despite the angle of the hammock, the sleeping bag does not provide enough of a difference for those of us used to using pillows. A shirt in a stuff sack would work. But some sort of a pillow is something to add to the list.
I need a sleeping pad. My sleeping bag is rated to 20 degrees, but when it compresses under me it feels colder on the back, a common problem with hammocks. Thankfully I already ordered one, and it came today. I’ll have to try it out in the hammock later. It might need to be cut down a little, but it was ten bucks and it’s foam, so if I screw up I haven’t lost much.
I’m exceptionally proud of kaylee for sticking it out all night, even more so for being in the tent alone and not freaking out. I feel I can take her camping at a lake somewhere, as long as she has a flashlight and a book. I may even offer to take the neighbors dogs, so they can get out of the yard. I just need a few bricks and a short rope for the trip.