By Marc Rogers
This adventure began on a late summer night in August many years ago. Three young men loaded a pick up truck with camping and fishing gear to try their luck at a newly impounded reservoir. This particular lake didn’t have a lot of traffic on the weekends and even less on the weekdays. Therefore reservations for a rental boat and camping site were not necessary. Their travels began on a Sunday evening. A major consideration when planning an excursion outdoors is weather and none of the three seemed to remember or pay any attention to this detail.
About one hour from home the severe thunderstorms began and didn’t let up the entire trip to the lake. During the drive all of the gear including tent and clothing was soaked. Somewhere during this time they realized they had made no plans for food or drink and stopped at the only store they could find open. Actually, it was closed but the lights hadn’t been turned out yet. When asking the attendant where they could buy food and drink they were given their only option. There was a bar and restaurant about 15 miles out of the way that sold carryout beer on Sundays but food wasn’t available.
The three of them made the decision to settle for beer and followed the directions to the establishment. Upon arriving it was obvious it was the only place open at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night in the whole county. The parking lot was full but they headed inside to place their order anyway. Just inside the door was a rather large man who dressed like Charlie Daniels playing shuffleboard by himself. With a closer look it was clear he was upset about something as he was crying and talking to himself.
At this point they approached the bar and ordered one case of beer to go. It was very expensive but the laws of supply and demand were in full effect. The beer would later become worth every penny they paid. While leaving, the three of them did their best to act like they didn’t notice the gentleman at the shuffleboard table. They made it out of the bar and back on the road without any bad luck.
On the way to the campground the owner of the truck informed the others he was concerned about their fuel level. He said he had an additional fuel tank that was full but the switch was not working to change them. They finally made it to the campground where there were only two other sites being used. After retrieving the wet gear and setting up the tent they started drinking the beer but were quite hungry. One of the young men took it upon himself to coin the phrase “drink up, there is a pork chop in every can.”
By the time they reached the campground the rain had stopped and the skies began clearing. Camping without a campfire isn’t any fun so they set out to collect wood in the near by forest. Once they got a good supply and positioned it in the fire pit (the wood was soaking wet as well) they realized they had no matches or lighter to start the fire. A camper close by noticed the troubles and gave them a book of matches then wished them luck as he was going to sleep.
After many attempts they had no luck with getting the wet wood to burn. The only thing they had to assist in the starting of the fire was located behind the seat of the pick up truck. It was octane booster for the fuel and very volatile. (Please take my word for this when I say never try to start a fire with this stuff.) With just a light sprinkle on the wood one of them lit the last match and threw it at the wood hoping for a fire. However, what they got was a serious blaze about 15 feet high. It did however dry the wood and get it burning. While tending to the fire they drank all 24 beers and had to sleep in the next day before fishing.
After securing a rental boat with a small outboard they set out to catch some fish. They had little success and one of them continued to get his lures caught in the standing timber. On one particular cast the lure went up further than it went away from the boat and wrapped about four times around a over hanging tree limb some 20 feet above the water. The angler had enough so he decided to climb the tree to retrieve the lure. He was six feet-four inches tall and weighed in about 225 pounds. While the limb that held the lure was about 10 inches in diameter, the trees had been dead for about three years.
He made it up the trunk and onto the limb. He had to walk out the limb about 10 feet to reach the lure and didn’t have much experience playing monkey. However, he made it close enough to reach the hanging lure when without warning the limb broke causing him and the limb to come crashing down. When he disappeared into the water his hat was left floating on the surface. A few seconds later he surfaced with only a hurt ego, and it was a good thing, as the two left in the boat later said they were laughing so hard they could not have saved him had he gotten hurt.
This took place several hours into the day and was a showstopper for the anglers. One was soaking wet and the others were almost sick from laughing so hard. I can still show you the exact tree that stands within sight of the dam on this lake. However, it is missing one rather large branch.