A Weekend Of Questionable Decisions

For those ITP-Readers who were at the Lake Hartwell hash you know at least one thing that’s coming…

I am ashamed to admit that I took no photos (again), so I’ll try to throw in a thousand extra words to make up for this shortcoming.

Camping? In A Tent? Me?
When packing up for this weekend’s Lake Hartwell trip I made a last-minute decision to put a tent into the car. With two days’ and two sports’ worth of equipment littering the car, never mind all of the ingredients with the grits cakes and extra beer, I knew sleeping in the Jackmobile would be difficult at best.

This was the first camping trip using a tent that I’ve done since probably Twisted Ankle in May 2008 so it took me a few minutes to remember how my tent was constructed. With the aide of two other hashers we had the tent up in a matter of minutes and I was ready for relaxation. Sleeping in the tent was okay but it does add a significant amount of time to setup and breakdown for a two-day camping stay.

Ride, Paulie, Ride : Hartwell Edition
On Friday I made the decision to tote the Red Rocket with me to Lake Hartwell. I kept my Saturday morning ride in mind as I consumed beer on Friday night, “cashed in my chips” around midnight and was up and out on the bike by 8:00am Saturday morning.

The route I mapped out was about twenty-one miles. The weather, which included a lot of low-hanging, cool fog, was perfect for riding. With the route being mostly flat I even considered tacking on an additional four miles. When I erroneously turned down a road (I’ll blame the fog) I had no other choice than to extend my ride. In the end my route wound up being 26.7 miles.

I had my doubts about bringing the bike up there but am so glad that I did.

No Hasher Left Behind?
When I explain the concept of hashing to people one question asked of me is how people are accounted for to ensure that everyone makes it in. In the olden days of Atlanta hashing they used to have a pole on which you hung your hashing bib and took it off the pole when you got in; once the pole was empty, all were accounted for. These days we write down people’s names and check them off when they arrive at the end. The old ways would have benefited me on Saturday.

As we gathered to ride to the start of the hash all participants’ names were written down. Because I was tired from my early morning ride and knew that I had cooking responsibilities, I considered not doing the hash. “You can’t back out. You’re name is on the list already and think of what will happen when they don’t check your name off at the end. They’ll think that you are lost and have to go find you.” someone said jokingly. “Yeah, you’re right.” I mused.

The trail was predictably long and tough, but I was doing well (at first). About two-thirds through trail I made a poor decision to start following some of the short-cutting walkers, and upon realizing that they weren’t following trail I turned around to find trail again. Because of the time it took me to return to true trail I knew that I’d lost ground on the pack. After some time hashing alone my spirits were slightly lifted when I was asked by those swimming across the lake “RU?” Therefore, I couldn’t possibly be DFL (Dead Fucking Last) — or so I thought.

Hashing alone permitted me plenty of time to think of witty things to say at circle. With one of the hares being a punster and his trail going to the shoreline and back I started thinking.

“Man this trail was such a beach.
I’m shore that you had a lot of fun laying it.”

Oh, I was going to be the most jovial person at circle…

As I struggled to find the remainder of the trail alone I finally saw the BN (Beer Near) marking and was pleased that the trail was nearly over. Up a steep hill, through some more trees, and I located “ON-IN” — the marking that means you are done with trail.

But wait. I was there alone. This was not possible!

I obviously knew that I wasn’t an FRB (Front Running Bastard), but also knew that I wasn’t DFL.

We were told that there would be beer at the end, and I knew I wasn’t that far behind other people. Certainly they haven’t packed up and left.

Maybe the pack moved to get out of public view? I walked all around being quiet, listening for the group and when I heard nothing I started yelling “RU” at the top of my lungs expecting someone to emerge from around the trees or down the road.

Perhaps they were shuttling people to back to the cars at the start? If so, why wouldn’t they leave one person behind to explain the deal to those of us just finishing?

As the heat and further exhaustion set in I started to get incredibly pissed off. I walked about a quarter-mile up the road to see if I could figure out where I was. Perhaps I was withing walking distance of the start? Nope.

An elderly man in a pickup truck drove by and looked me up and down. I can’t say that I could blame him as I was drenched (part of the trail required swimming) and was wearing ripped shorts and running tights and shoes which were held together with duct tape (which was lost swimming) at the trail’s start. I probably looked like some wandering homeless person.

The only thing I could do was walk back to the “ON-IN” and hope that the people who, I was certain were behind me, would arrive and we could be commiserate together. But no one arrived. Out of frustration and exhaustion I sat on the road flummoxed.

What was probably no more than five minutes later, which of course seemed much longer to me, a truck arrived with apologetic driver and rider as they explained that I was accidentally abandoned. This was unconscionable to me. “We brought you a beer.” I heard. “No thanks.” I groused as I got in to the truck for what was going to be a quiet ride back for me.

I’m not going to lie, I was furious! I wandered alone looking for the end that I was at for nearly fifteen-twenty minutes. I was ready to follow my pattern of cutting my camping trips short by packing my shit up and taking off on Saturday night. However, I don’t want to be “that” guy and I had dinner responsibilities to honor, so I blew up for a few about twenty minutes and then let everything pass like water under a bridge.

I heard later that it was a simple mix-up. Somebody thought they saw me and because I had been mid-pack no one could figure out how I fell behind. It wasn’t until everyone got back to camp that it was realized that I was nowhere to be found.

No Rest (Area) For The Weary
Upon driving home yesterday I was saddened to see that the Rest Area on I-85 just south of I-985 has been closed for good. I have a romantic attachment to the modest highway Rest Area. Don’t go there, it’s nothing sexual. In fact, last week’s entire This American Life episode was recorded at a New York Rest Area.

Because I love to drive, most of the time doing so alone, the Rest Area has always been a great place to stop for a few minutes, stretch your legs, take care of “business”, and peruse a map or two before getting back into the car to continue on my journey.

Here is the news blurb that I’ve found about the closing of this Rest Area as well as another along I-85.

UNDATED – Two north Georgia rest stops on Interstate 85 will close due to rising criminal activity in the area, among other reasons.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials said the I-85 northbound rest area in Franklin County and the I-85 southbound rest area in Gwinnett County will both close Aug. 25.

“Safety is definitely a factor in this decision,” said DOT District Engineer Russell McMurry. “The condition of the rest areas has deteriorated and the cost to maintain them is high.”

McMurry said private development in both areas now offers the same services once solely provided by the rest stops.

DOT spokesperson Teri Pope said the welcome center in Hart County near the state line will remain open, but she said more area rest stops could close in the next several months.

“There are 19 rest areas statewide, and these are the only two that we are closing now,” Pope said. “But based on our budget constraints, we could be closing more in the future.”

“Rising criminal activity.”, “Private development in both areas now offers the same services once solely provided by the rest stops.” Both of those are statements which sadden me. Looks like I’ll have to become one of those people that use gas stations or fast food restaurants at pit stops now.

Oh Dear Jeebus! What Have I Done?
Yesterday I registered for the 2011 Inter-Americas Hash to be held in Savannah, GA. Clearly I was delirious when I arrived home.

Stats & Goals
Current Mood – fair
Current Music – listening to the “The Sound Of Young America” podcast
Website Of The Day – I should have used Future Me last week to email myself a memo to be delivered today stating that I knew something bizarre would happen to me up at Hartwell this weekend.
Mode Of Transportation To Work – my car
Exercise (b)Log – Saturday: cycling, 26.7 miles; hashing, 5 miles
Morning Weigh-In – 201 pounds and not happy about this

Foot Mileage – 5 miles, Wheel Mileage – 136.7 miles
Consecutive Days Of Bed-Making (Longest Streak) – 10 (10)
Vegetarian Days – 1, Carnivorous Days – 12
Marta Rides – 0

September Goals
– Not get fired from my job
– Take at least one photo every day
– Restart work on house, actually making progress this time (note: not successful during August)

2009 Goals
– Reduce my weight to 190 pounds (today’s weight was 199.5 pounds)
– Completely read the book 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
– Earn at least $150 through photography sales in order to cover the cost for the renewal of the Jalapeño Beach SmugMug account I opened the other day.
– Save $500 for the sole purpose of donating to charitable organizations of my choice
– Attend at least one professional photography workshop

The Unmeasurable
– Continue backing up all data, including the off-site storage
– Become a proficient programmer in Objective-C (iPhone development) and Ruby on Rails (Black Sheep web page concept)
– Do not create a solution for something which is not a problem

Paulie [eatl/ga]

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23 Responses to A Weekend Of Questionable Decisions

  1. Martha says:

    We were all very glad you stayed.

    Next year I am going to bring my bike as well, so I can do my own Lake Hartwell Tri. I’ll have plenty of room since Jerry will not be joining me. πŸ˜‰

    Moonlight is starting at Grant Park tonight, I think I may run up there and join them for trail. This week is going to be busy with party stuff and tonight may be my only chance to get out.

  2. Terri(SW) says:

    Yeah- someone told JackAss that you were in a car, but that person confused you with Little Easy (obviously a newb who doesn’t know you guys). JackAss didn’t double check. I’m sure you heard that Little Easy, as he was walking back, was greeted with “Oh there you are, Wee!” (by said confused people) and he was like…”um, wrong guy.” Maybe we should all introduce each other before we go on trail next time…or at least know who to trust with the list/ hasher identification!

    Glad you made it back…and decided to stay. It was a fun weekend :)!


  3. Martha, if you need a 21 (+5) mile route, just let me know. πŸ˜‰

    It’s laundry night for me so no hashing. The downside, it’s laundry night. The upside, it’s also Bahn Mi (aka “crazy cheap sandwich”) from Lee’s Bakery night!

    Terri, I was glad I stayed but it did manage to take a bit of the luster off the weekend for me. I wasn’t feeling all that social come circle and was also a little ticked that I was so far back in the pack and considered DFL considering there were people who never finished trail. Maybe next year I’ll volunteer to lay trail and get my revenge! πŸ™‚

  4. I can’t wait to tell my imaginary grandchildren about the time I hashed fifteen miles, all up hill, in 100-degree heat, with swimming in piranha-filled waters, only to find no one at the end. Then after all that having to hike ten miles back to the cabin, up hill, in the snow, in shoes which had no soles.

  5. Terri (SW) says:

    I was certain you were in before me…as I saw you tearing it up at the start and didn’t see you again on the trail. There was this push to get the heck out as quickly as possible and the cars were full, so I think it was just a total cluster eff. And someone said you were in a car already…

    BTW- You’re trail trial was the best ;)!

  6. Terri (SW) says:

    Crap…I meant YOUR, not YOU’RE! Ugh…grammatical self-flagellation begins now.

  7. HAHA, too funny Terri.

    I know that it was an honest mistake. I was just really tired, cranky, and desiring one of the beers that I was told would be at the end.

    I often think that I’m trying too hard at trail trial, but on Saturday it just flowed as if I were Kanye West at the VMA’s. Heeeeeeeeeeey Ooooooooooh! Look at me keep it current!

  8. Barb says:

    Never trust Jackass is my motto. That totally sucked that you got left behind, I would have been pissed as well.

    So – what else happened this weekend? (Martha, did Jerry not have a good time?)

    I got plenty of riding in this weekend –
    Saturday – rode over to the in-laws house & back & a little extra – 25 miles.
    Sunday – Allan & I found an old map of the coffee & bagel ride, and did a tour of west cobb county. Starting from our house (instead of the Marietta Square) – 49 miles. I really wanted it to be 50, but couldn’t talk myself into riding more once the house was in sight. I was beat. 3 Gap is in 2 weeks, I’ll never be “ready”, so what the hell.

  9. Barb, per Martha, Jerry declared that “camping was not for him.” Thankfully for Jerry, and probably notsomuch for Martha, his Blackberry seemed to work up there.

    I don’t know how many “stories” happened this weekend. There was an amusing game of “Hasher Charades” at the campfire Saturday night.

    Oh, and then there was Hung and Hairy who decided to bring his cat along with Dirty Bird, to a hash with about ten dogs! I’m sure no one was surprised when one dog (Nutmeg, I believe) decided was enough was enough and went for it. “Hilarity” (or whatever the opposite of “hilarity” is) ensued as all dogs chased the cat through the woods.

  10. Barb says:

    Hung & Hairy is crazy – bringing a cat to a hash? (I won’t even go into the bird thing…..) I’m sure I would have laughed my ass off at the cat beign chased – dumbass.

  11. Martha says:

    Just remember Paulie, you aren’t “that guy”. Did you happen to see it when he took the cat out on the lake? Yeah, me dressing Nibbles isn’t looking too wacky now.

    Iy was a pretty drama free weekend. The only other thing I can think of was LA upset and crying because 5 bottles of wine went missing (I heard most of Oops’ beer was also) Saturday. We talked to her, made her eat (I told her I would be pissed if she didn’t eat the grit cakes I slaved over all afternoon) and she was better. Someone else, managed to get cut and then paint his face up Deerhunter style Saturday night, not drama, just strange.

    Jerry was not having a good time at all and made sure everyone knew it. We had a little ‘talk’ while everyone was doing trail and he was a bit better for the rest of the weekend. We agreed he does not have to come to anymore hash campouts. Logan had fun even if his dad didn’t.

  12. Oh yeah, I forgot about the “That Guy” greeting card we invented.

    I missed the cat down by the lake. What’s the one thing that a cat needs after being terrified by dogs? Water, of course! I assume next year he’ll show up with a mouse in addition to the bird and cat.

    Chicken’s wine went mysteriously missing. Rumor also had it that they were not consumed. Who knows… Oops beer made more sense as it was in the refrigerator and once the Sweetwater Blue was tapped people were looking for alternatives — not that it makes drinking someone else’s beer without permission right.

    Deerhunter = Rat’s Ass. I was already back in my tent by the time that went down.

  13. bob says:

    That sucks you got left behind, I would have been pissed too.

    Looks like we may not get to ride, weather is crappy all week! I may try to squeeze in 30 miles early this afternoon before the rain.

    6 gap is going to hurt!

  14. Yeah Bob, things look grim. I was going to email you later when I got an updated weather report.

  15. Barb says:

    Bob – Allan swears that he is going to ride every day/night this week, even if it is raining. I laughed……

  16. Michelle says:

    I’m glad you stayed, Paulie. Just think of the ‘left behind’ incident as a stupid mistake that gives you a good story to tell for years to come…and a recurring guilt trip you can pull on Jack@ss.

    As Martha already mentioned, bringing a cat to Hartwell is a bad idea. When I saw the kitty, I went over to H&H and told him that my dogs chase cats and that he had been forewarned. I didn’t witness the incident, but I believed it when I was told that Nutmeg had the cat ‘in her jaws’ for a moment.

    Barb- I wish I had gotten some bike miles in this weekend. I opted not to hassle with the bike for the campout but was kicking myself when I saw Paulie had brought his. The trail on Saturday kicked my butt…..and Nutmeg’s too. She almost came to a dead stop a few times toward the end of trail and was completely exhausted. I guess I have to accept that Miss ‘Meg is getting older and that her hash trail days might be coming to an end.

    The food (especially Saturday) was amazing. Paulie: please make a double batch of the grit cake sauce next year, please! Yummmmmm

  17. martha says:

    I wasn’t going to say Gary’s name but yeah it was him. I kept trying to clean it off, he kept putting more one. He then mentioned to me Sunday morning, how drunk I was the night before??

    Paulie, from now on can I be your offical “grit cake dreger/fryer”…I’ve done it for two years now, I think I can handle the responsibility. Maybe next year I can get my hands on an electric skillet…I think that would work great.

    I didn’t get any grit sauce πŸ™ But I (and Jerry) really enjoyed the rest of the food Saturday night.

  18. I’ll be planning a little better for dinner next year. I obviously need more time and burners to pull off the grit cakes and sauce.

    The funniest part of the sauce was that it was total improv. I lamented having to go back to my car for my recipe and Tony (Niplets) said “Recipe? You don’t need a recipe. Just throw things together and make the damn sauce.”

    I did get a big hand from Martha who fried up the batches I had prepared on Thursday night.

  19. betsy says:

    Paulie–remember which ITP reader was the first to ask quizzically “Where’s Wee Little Bit?” when the truck pulled into the campground and everyone began disembarking. (ITP reader Betsy). Which ITP reader retorted with a snarky “Who cares?” before realizing that WLB was actually missing. (ITP reader Tony).

    Paulie–your trail trial was the best–props for letting it blow over and showing some hash backbone. Now you have every reason to 1) not trust a JackAss and 2) say FYYFF and really really mean it.

    Great weekend, folks!

  20. Betsy, I contend that it was Reese who realized I was missing. She was missing all of the attention I provided all weekend. Tony didn’t want me around so he didn’t have to contend with the grits cakes. πŸ˜‰

    I couldn’t make enough sauce and it needed a smaller ladle so that more people could have it.

    I’ve protected Rat’s Ass long enough! (kidding) I didn’t mind calling him out because I even though I didn’t see the Deerhunter impersonation I thought that it was innocent and funny. It’s not like he killed anyone. He really didn’t kill anybody, right? πŸ™‚

  21. sal says:

    Sounds like a fun hash week-end! Glad they found you Paulie!
    I was running with the bears in North Georgia.

    You should check out RUSA (randonneuring USA)….they just did the 10 gap ride in GA…not 3, not 6….but 10!!! It’s the biking version of ultrarunning!

    Paulie: not sure you had the chance to check out my Colorado pics but I took one espcially for you…..the PIGS in Frisco! πŸ™‚

  22. Haven’t had the chance to look at all of your shots yet, Sal.

  23. Barb says:

    Sal – 10 Gaps? No thanks – I think 3 gaps will be more than enough for me.

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