And so we come to the final chapter of our journey. Some authors choose to climax their writings in the middle of their work and give the reader a chance to recover before the end. Some choose to get you to the most exciting part at the end, leaving you wanting more. This is our method of choice.

So we come back from our fishing trip (and let me tell you, it was a trip), and take a nap for a few hours in the tent. It was still a little windy but we manage to get some rest. Upon getting up, we found ourselves hungry- no, I believe the word is famished! Before we started dinner, we thought it wise to put the rainfly on the tent since the local forecast called for a storm (more on this in a bit). I began to chop wood with my dull ax and started the fire. Tonight’s menu, roasted hotdogs! Can you say “weight gain?”

The wind had died down but there were a few sprinkles. No problem, we can handle this! After having a few smores, we went to the shower room to clean up for the evening.

As we were in the shower room, the wind began to howl. Unbeknown to me, this was instilling some fear in my wife. She prayed silently and the Lord calmed her heart. We got out of the shower room and the wind was undoubtedly whipping anything in sight. I think I saw a cow flying through the air, but it could have been the hotdogs talking.

We got back to our tent. By this time, I would say the wind was blowing at 25-30 mph and gusting at 40-50 mph. When you live in Lancaster, California for a while, you learn to accurately tell wind speeds. I had never set up a tent on my own before so my confidence in my abilities was quickly waning. We cracked a few glowsticks and talked with one another, unknowingly and unsuccessfully trying to calm each other down. Multiple times Amy looked into my face and must have seen some uneasiness and suggested that we sleep in the car because of the wind. Remember, we are camping on a ridge. I can see the headline now, “Two Stupid Campers Die Due To High Winds- Now In Better Location.” But me being a man told my wife, “No. I need to get through this.” By this time the wind has started to come down harder. My wife sweetly says, “Aren’t you glad we put the rainfly up?” In just a few moments, it was not going to matter. As the rain came down, it came down sideways because of the wind, allowing it to come in one of our tent windows. This was no problem, we would just move closer to the other side of the tent (closer to the edge of the ridge) to avoid the rain. Remember this tent was 12 ft. by 12ft. There was a lot of room in there. I thought we would be fine. And then…

The wind blew hard and the side of the tent which was 6 feet away from me slapped me on the face. I popped right up from my sleeping bag, looked at Amy and yelled, “Get our pillow, our sleeping bag, my cell phone, my wallet, and the keys! We’re going in the car!” While this was going on, the winds have sustained themselves at approximately 60 mph (according to the Zarate News forecast) and I was leaning on the side of the tent that slapped me out of there a few seconds ago yelling, “Get out and save yourself!”

We got in the car and we had no idea how bad it was. We were literally in the middle of a storm. As I turned on the car lights, rain was coming down horizontally, the wind was still howling, we’re shivering from the cold rain and wind. At that moment my city boy instincts kicked in. My plan- go to a hotel!

We got in our car and headed to a place called Roosevelt Lake Resort. A word to the wise, people in Arizona, specially out of the Phoenix area, use the word “resort” very, very loosely! We got to this “resort” and it looked like a roach motel in an old Hitchcock movie. I was already scared, no need to just give my life up altogether! We drove 30 minutes to the booming metropolis of Globe where we stayed in a Travelodge room with three queen size beds. By this time, we were simply happy to be dry and under warm sheets and concrete walls.
The next morning, we got up and drove back to the campsite, eager to see what’s left. When you’re eager, your foot gets heavier. So to finish our first ever camping trip, we find ourselves getting pulled over for speeding. Why is it they always ask you, “Do you know how fast you were going?” I’m not incriminating myself! Besides, I have a speedometer. Anyway, I gave the officer our sob story. He knew we could not possibly be lying. Amy was still in her pajamas and I looked like a mess (no comments or pictures please). The officer had the audacity (sense of humor on his part, I’m sure) to ask us if we would stay another night on the campgrounds since tonight’s forecast called for clear skies and no wind. Yeah, right! Well, he felt so sorry for us that he let me off with a warning. I guess girls are not the only ones that can cry and get out of tickets.
On the way back I was calculating in my head how much we had lost. We got back to the site and here’s what we found… the tent and everything in it was still up. Now looking back, had I added my __________ pounds in there, that tent would not be going anywhere! It was a good and memorable camping trip. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat! Because the Zarate’s on these two days found their inner sportsmen. And I know that I can put up a pretty good tent!

Man chop wood.

Me and my trusty ax.

Roasting hotdogs for dinner.

The tent after the storm.

This is what the inside of the tent looked like after the storm.


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