Posted by: Moon | May 3, 2009

A Weekend of foam, wind, burns, camping and snakes : Pt 1

Well, Mrs M and I decided that we had spent too many weekends at home, and we needed a week-end away from life.  So, we have newly aquired camping gear, all virginal, and it all needed to be tested before we hit Yosemite in June, and Joshua Tree seemed the perfect location to ‘test-drive’ the gear. Joshua Tree is about 2 hours from home, and we knew that if we had forgotten anything then we had a town within 30 mins drive of the park …. “if we forgot something ????” … us …. no way !

We left on our way, coffee in hand for the simple drive out to the desert. All was going marvellously well, both excited by the challenge of camping, and reminiscing our stories from camping and trekking in Slovakia, Nepal, Morocco and Peru…. when we quite literally ‘hit’ a problem…. I was driving sensibly in the middle lane of a 5 lane highway, slowing ready to turn off to the I60 to Palm Springs when we had a small obstacle in the middle of the road … a chuffing foam mattress !!!!! lying smack in the middle of the highway. The car in front managed to avoid it, but I knew that I couldn’t. It’s surprising how quickly the brain, well, how quickly my brain, works. I held onto my coffee, made the decision that the mattress was indeed foam and soft, checked mirrors and decided that to swerve and avoid the foam would have been dangerous, told Mrs M that I was going to hit it and not to panic. Amazing what flashes through the mind ! So, WAMMO …I hit it, and like I thought, we rode over the top of it… no worries…. So I thought. Well, the foam manged to get caught under the car, so I slowed, indicated and pulled over, discovering I still held my coffee. I did this all ONE HANDED !. classy eh !. So, we jump out and discover quite how much of a pain in the arse a foam matress can be. Luckily we were in the Jeep. The  clearance is quite high, and the mattress had indeed gone under. If we had been in the Nissan, well, I believe a load of damage would have been done. So, the mattress had become lodged under the car, and wedged around the wheel and axle. It’s amazing how a soft foam mattress can become rock solid when compressed under a car ! So… what do you do ?

Well, luckily we had our camping gear, complete with some knives, and we started to just hack at the foam until we could rip parts of it out. This was slow, the sun was very hot, and on the hard shoulder of the freeway, no much fun ! Eventually, I took off the wheel, and we finally, after 1.5 hrs, we freed the foam. I would like to point out here, two other guys stopped to help us, with one of the taking away all the foam to stop it getting everywhere. Thanks guys, we really appreciate someone stopping to help strangers !

So, hot, sweaty, dirty and very thirsty (didn’t get to drink my coffee did I !!!!) we headed on to Joshua Tree. Here we relaxed, joked about how much worse this could have been, and thankful for our helpers, and the fact we were in the Jeep. We found a wonderful spot to camp. The whole of the park has designated camp grounds, and this one our spot was remote, hidden within the rocks, and was perfect for what I imagined this trip to be. Well…….


The wind blew and blew…. not good…. We had also started to realise some of the things we had forgotten. Nothing major, but … no chairs… So, we could light the fire, but we could not sit and enjoy it. Ok, no drama, we can go out of the park and get a couple from the local shops. Damn… the pump for the airbed (luxury huh!) had not charged!, damn it. So, I started to blow… wooo hoooo that made me really dizzy ! We got lucky, the shop had some chairs, and remarkably, for a store in the desert, they had a pump for kiddies pool toys !. So, back to the site, airbed pumped up, and we could start cooking. The wind blew and blew….. The stove was excellent, and I soon had dinner on the go. I sat down for 2 mins into the new chair, and the chuffing thing ripped beneath me !, I am not a huge fella, and the average American likes the occasional pie !… crap ! Back to the stove, the fire burning behind me, and Mrs M yelled… Moooooooon ……… The chair !?!?!??!

Awwww, crap again, the wind had managed to blow the chair onto the fire, and melted the seat … !

Ah well, what can you do ? dinner was served, lovely it was too !, and I decided to wash up, did it all, grabbed the grill of the portable stove. HOLY MUTHER F***ER…. bastard things was still chuffing hot…. So, now I have two wonderful burns across my thumb and finger … what a dick !


Right, thats it, going to bed !… and the wind blew and blew …. We are not experienced campers, so this was quite new to us. We got into the tent, snuggled down to sleep, and the wind blew and REALLY blew…. we just knew the tent was going to end up in Phoenix …. I can honestly say we got hardly any sleep at all, all night that wind just kept us awake …. we tossed and turned, and the noise of the wind, flapping at the tent kept us wide awake. I think we might had drifted off for about an hour as the wind finally dropped and the sun broke.

Camping = Fun ….. ???? Well, to be honest … oh yes, we loved it…. Part II to follow…



  1. I hate to admit that I had a hearty laugh at the misfortunes of others, but laugh I did. The images surrounding the camp chair are priceless! I am most definitely looking forward to Part Two – but barring any remarkable improvement in your camping expertise, perhaps you should think about purchasing a book (on camping, of course), prior to your next trip.

  2. Cortes : We managed to destroy 2 chairs within 30 mins of buying them both !!!!!!!! Mrs M has 200 books on camping !

  3. Haha . . oh to be a more experienced camper watching all this. How can you forget chairs? Gawd. We nearly got blown into the Megalong Valley at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains once. Too windy so we packed up bags at 2 in the morning and headed home. Clare slept through the lot! Hope the next installment was a little more erm ‘successful’

  4. Can’t wait to hear about the snakes, next.. this post was captivating ! Really fun to read. 🙂

  5. LOL! You’ve just described quite well why I do not do the camping thing anymore!

    As to the mattress – my driving instructor warned me never to run over anything if I could avoid it. He said all kinds of things can get stuck in brakes and pipes etc and be a pain. Not much you can do if swerving would be dangerous though. 😦

  6. Oh dear, I dread to think what will happen when confronted by a bear…………

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