Monday, July 25, 2011

floatapalooza uno: (good ol jr voice) good god, that's brent's music!

"I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw,
I'm in the prime of my life.
Let's make some music, make some money,
Find some models for wives.

I'll go to Paris, shoot some heroin,
And f*ck with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine
And the elegant cars.

This is our decision,
To live fast and die young.
We've got the vision,
Now let's have some fun!

Yeah, it's overwhelming,
But what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices and
Wake up for the morning news?"

-- "Time to Pretend" by MGMT. The song that I'd waited all freaking day on the river to pop up on the iPod. It finally does ... and the iPod dies out halfway through it. Lesson learned. When the folks at Apple say that iPod lasts 10 hours, it ain't lasting 10 hours and 2 minutes ...

-------------------------

I have quite a few rules in life ... and I think this weekend added another one to the list.

Because any time you can spend a 109 degree day floating on a river, pounding a handle of vodka, and then somehow wind up as the designated driver, you have to do it. You just have to.

Yup, this weekend was Floatapalooza Uno of 2011. Here's your recap, as best I can remember it ...

* Left for the river about 1:15pm on Friday. There were only three of us going -- me, Katie and Cassie. Also, due to our normal place being sold out for the weekend (hooray last minute planning!), we were forced to try out a new campsite, Kozy Kamp.

* As I joked when we got there, all they needed was one more K word in their title. Yeah, it's about as funny reading it as it was when I said it. (Namely, it's not even remotely funny.)

* When we got there, the temperature had plummeted! It was 105 when we left the McDonalds in Belton. It was "only" 102 when we got to the campsite.

* Sign this was going to be one helluva fun weekend: Katie looks at me when we get there and goes "you didn't bring a hat? What's wrong with you?" I had my Jets hat on. It's kind of hard to miss a dark green hat with a big JETS logo on it.


* Here's what I liked about Kozy Kamp. And there's gonna be a pretty impressive list here, so bear with me. (1) You picked your float time. River Ranch always assigns you a departure time, and go figure, 95% of the time, it's like a 7:30am departure, so you're completely hung over and not even remotely ready to float ... or it's like a noon departure time, and you sit around bored off your ass for three hours on Saturday morning. Kozy Kamp? You just show up when you're ready to float, hand your receipt over, and bam, you're good to go. (2) No chicken plant smell. I cannot stress this wonderful feature enough. (Everyone who's ever stayed at River Ranch is nodding in agreement at how nice it is to not smell the Tyson plant overnight.) (3) We camped right on the river, and (had we known in advance, it would have been great) had access to electricity AND running water right at our campsite. (4) It wasn't a five mile walk to the pisser -- it was about 50 feet to a port-a-potty, and about 500 feet to the showers and permanent toilets. (5) Even though there was no "Late Night Loop", it was perfectly fine. We were playing the stereo, joking and having fun with the neighbors until well past midnight both Friday and Saturday. (6) The cost -- wow. We got a four person raft, camped for two nights ... and barely spent $40 / person. A comparable float at River Ranch, staying in the Late Night Loop, would have set us back almost $70 / person. (7) It wasn't overcrowded. You weren't packed in like the good stuff in my dugout, like you are at River Ranch. We had plenty of room to spread out.

* Here's the only two things I didn't like about Kozy Kamp. (1) You start the float past the bridge at the 4 mile mark. Which sucks -- I love jumping off that bridge. (2) The flies. Holy God they were bad on Friday. For some reason, our trash can didn't get cleaned out Friday morning before we got there. The flies were terrible on Friday night. Saturday it was fine, they did change out the trash while we were floating. Next time, hopefully they do that before campers arrive. Because other than the flies, I go no complaints whatsoever about Kozy Kamp.

* We got to camp about 4:30ish, checked in, parked the car, hauled out a couple coolers and the tent ... and realized I'd left the grill at home. D'oh! Undaunted, I said I'd drive across the street and buy one at the Dollar General. Only, they were sold out. So I stopped in at the local liquor store, called (appropriately enough) The Beer Store, to see if there was anyplace else in the sleepy village of Pineville to buy a grill. The nice lady working the counter at The Beer Store suggested I try the Country Mart farther down the road. So, I hopped in the car, went to the Country Mart, and realized pretty quickly that they didn't have grills for sale. So, I ask the check-out clerk if there's anyplace even remotely close that sells grills. "Sure, the Wal-Mart down the street does!" Well hot damn, there's a Wal-Mart in this town!

Uuh, not quite. The girl's directions said to take Business 71 (which I was on) until it merged into 71, then turn left (south) and go a couple miles, and the Wal Mart would be on the right. So, I hop back in the car, get to the 71 interchange ... and you can't turn left. You have to turn right (north). Frustrated, I make an illegal U-Turn a couple miles down the road, and the "couple miles" I had to drive to get to this Wal Mart was more like 15 miles. But, eventually, there it was ... on the left side of the road.

I mention this, because (a) the clerk at the Country Mart was f*cking hot as hell, right down to my favorite accessory a chick can wear*.

(*: apparently “the ex” is getting said accessory later this week. Really? You couldn’t have amused me while we dated by getting it then? Really?)


And (b) The $15 advertised price for the grill turned into $22.95 at the checkout counter inside the Wal-Mart. I did a double take, and said "are you sure? I thought the price was $15." The checkout chick (nowhere near as nice as the previous two, nowhere near as hot as the previous one) was apparently looking for a fight, because she replied "yes, that is the correct price. You obviously didn't pay attention to the price." Excuse me? I sure as all hell paid attention to the price! That's why I grabbed that grill, because it was only $15, and considering I use a grill maybe two times a year, I didn't want to throw money away on one.

The clerk then goes "well, I could walk over there and check the price, but then you'd make everyone in line behind you angry at the delay, this is an express checkout sir". Not wanting to start the weekend needing to post bond because of a brawl gone wrong in a Wal-Mart, I paid the $22.95 and threw on a four pack of Red Bull just to complete the process of getting royally screwed in a Wal-Mart in beautiful, and Jesus do I use that term loosely, beautiful Buena Vista, Arkansas.

* The one cool thing about the trip to Wal-Mart? It meant that I'd spent money in three different states, on the same day! And paid three different ways to boot -- I used my Shell card to put gas in the car in Kansas, I paid cash at McDonalds in Missouri, and I used the check card for the grill in Arkansas. I thought that was neat, spending money in three different states in one day. And hell, we were one missed exit away from adding Oklahoma to the mix too. Something to aim for in a few weeks, I guess.

* Finally make it back to camp, opt not to describe how awful my Wal-Mart experience is, and instead, open up the grill ... to find that the "no assembly required!" advertisement next to the $15 price sticker was as full of sh*t as the advertised $15 price. By now, I'm p*ssed. So, I decide to do what I do best: ditch the t-shirt and pound a couple beers. That helped clear the head a little, as somehow we got a grill fully assembled without a screwdriver.

* Funniest moment in Grill Making 101: when I finished the damned thing, got the legs on, set it over next to the firepit area, and Katie yells out "you aren't done yet, you gotta attach the top!" That set me over the edge, so I grabbed the lid, threw it down on the grill bottom and yelled "there! It's f*cking done! You happy now!" Apparently I don't get angry enough**, because both girls thought it was hilarious to watch me p*ssed off.

(**: this is entirely true. I am just about the most laid back, most even keel person you will ever meet. Except when it comes to religious conservatives or a NFL team that calls fake mile high home, then I lose all sense of rationale and reason.)

* While finishing putting the grill together, our neighbors to the left arrived. In a massive sleeper camper. Cassie immediately noted "we're making friends with those people!" Once they hauled out the industrial strength fan, it was friends ahoy!

* We managed to get the tent up in one attempt this year. A minor miracle, to say the least.

* After the tent was done, and the air mattresses were blown up, we were set. I went and threw on the trunks, and we headed down to the water to hit the dugout, because we didn't know the neighbors yet and didn't want to anger anyone.

After about two minutes in the river, we were like "f*ck it, we're lighting up at camp". The neighbors were cool as hell about it, thankfully. You always wonder when it comes to folks in their 40s and 50s, but Brett and "Brother Jeff" were down.

* Brother Jeff, that guy was hilarious. He declared himself the Minister of the First Church of Booze, and after someone would finish an adult beverage, be it a beer, vodka and Gatorade, or a jello shot, he'd "bless" the soon-to-be discarded container with an "amen". What can I say, some sh*t is really funny when you're drunk and stoned, and that whole scene was funny.

* He's also a race car driver at (I believe) Caney Valley Speedway. It has to be him -- he said he was leading the Factory Stock division, and sure as sh*t, there's a dude named Jeff Crawford on top of the points. I would absolutely take a roadie to check him out in person. Those neighbors were a blast.

* Apparently I'm nowhere near as good at drinking at 34 as I was at 24, because come 12:30, I was done-zo. I could barely walk back to the tent from the neighbor's, and I didn't have anything stronger than vodka and weed. Oy. When I woke up the next morning, it made perfect sense -- despite not starting drinking until nearly 5:30 (after the awful experience at Wal-Mart), nearly half the handle of vodka was gone-zo.

* 6:48am, some douchebag's car alarm went off ... and off ... and off. The damned thing blasted for a solid 90 seconds. I dropped a "son of a b*tch!" blast and crawled out of the tent. Nothing like having some moron trip his car alarm, waking you up a solid two hours before you'd planned to wake up.

* Let's just say, the neighbors weren't too happy with whoever set off the alarm either. If they could hear it inside the camper, with an industrial sized fan still pumping air around outside (and you couldn't hear much over that thing, it was big and it was loud), then you know that alarm was loud.

* I threw on a t-shirt, hopped in the car, and headed back to the Country Mart to grab some OJ for morning beermosas and screwdrivers. (Steve Rule Number Four: it's never too early for the first drink of the day!) I also decided to fill the Jeep up to save us some time in the morning. Really smart idea on my part (as you'll see when we get to the drive home), it definitely sped us along.

But even cooler? It wasn't a prepay pump! I was in shock. I walked in, grabbed the OJ and a couple bags of ice***, but since it wasn't my car, I had no idea how much gas would be needed to fill the thing (it was running on fumes). The nice check-out lady goes "oh don't worry about it, just pay when you're done." Here's to living in a small town!

(***: it was so hot Friday night, even my in MaxCold cooler, most of the ice had melted. And that thing is designed specifically to not allow meltage. When the $60 "designed not to melt" cooler is melting, it's definitely a little toasty outside.)

* Get back to camp (a lovely 25 second drive over a bridge), it's about 7:30am. And the temp deal on the car read 91 degrees. Now, I love hot weather. Any day in which the idea of putting on a t-shirt seems absolutely ridiculous, is a perfect day to me. (More on this in the section about Saturday night, where I get a little verklempt, but until we get there, let me channel my old school Linda Richman voice and give you a topic: the Shadow Lake Surf Club is neither on a lake, nor a surf club. Discuss.) But man, 91 at 7:30 in the morning? It's like I am back in Texas!

* Katie grilled up a sausage link for breakfast. I sat contentedly prepping the iPod and pounding the screwdrivers. Because anytime you can be over the legal limit in 50 states and the District by 9am, you have to do it.

* The neighbors said they were heading out about 9:30. We decided to try to float with them as much as possible, because (a) they were fun, (b) they had booze, and (c) I think all 8 of them had a Confederate battle flag of some sort on. Either a t-shirt, a do-rag, or a tattoo. This is where I'd normally point out the ridiculousness of the love for that flag -- for starters, it wasn't the Confederate national flag, and also, you lost the war, get over it guys. But they were nice people, so in a rare moment of common sense, I didn't say a word.

* We got on the river about 9:50am. Two hours later, I don't think we had even moved 1,000 feet. There was no current in there whatsoever.

* Eventually we tied up for the first half of the float to some guys Katie and Cassie knew from high school. Their group was pretty cool, except for the token lesbian. She annoyed the crap out of me. Plus she scared the crap out of me. Let's just say, you don't ever want to run into this chick in a dark alley. Or a lighted alley. Or any kind of alley for that matter. Sorry, but chicks with short Brenda Warner-like haircuts, hair painted four different colors, and all inked up around her back frighten me.

* For some reason, just like everyone in Brett and Jeff's group had Confederate gear going, this group we hooked up with all were in American flag gear. Right down to the chick's bikini tops being the blue background with white stars, and the bottoms being the red and white bars. I had no complaints. Other than lesbian chick. She frightened me.

* We finally detached from them (more on them to come), and went off on our own for awhile once we hit the midway point. It was pushing 3pm, and we hadn't even made it two miles yet. Plus, what really was not cool was that even if you paddled (and believe me, we tried), you basically just wound up going in a circle, the water was so calm. Eventually I figured out that I could just jump in the water and drag the damned thing along. But that was a measure of last resort, that's some physically draining activity.

* Best shot of the day (pre-cliff moment): this chick was aggressively showing off her boobs for anything, and she wasn't bad looking. Nothing like last year's grouse encounter with the drunk chick at the end of the float. This girl earned her jello shot.

* Grousest moment that was strangely hilarious and entertaining: we're beached near the midway point, and notice this college-aged dude standing in the middle of the river, trunks down around his ankles, while girls were draping his penis with beads and, uum, "giving him encouragement" to stay, uuh, “standing”, in the middle of the river, shorts down around his ankles. Lucky bastard.

* Worst moment of the day (pre-bar night): I tossed my Jets hat into the raft as I was getting ready to drag us to beach, and totally forgot my prescription sunglasses were on there. Some fish or minnow at the bottom of the Elk River can put those to good use now, I guess.

* Funniest dance manuever: I got to haul out the "Bye Bye Bye" dance on multiple occasions. The folks we were tied up with were impressed that I knew the routine. Then again, as one of them noted, when that cd came out, they were all in 6th or 7th grade. Sweet Jesus.

* Funniest random moment: as a raft passed us, the dude yelled out "is that Backstreet Boys?" Hell yes it was the Backstreet Boys. "Everybody" never gets old. Backstreet's back, alright!

* About 5ish, we hit my favorite spot, where you can start cliff jumping. (The surest sign to tell if I'm drunk: see if I hop out of the boat and start swimming for the cliffs. I am scared of heights. If I start climbing up tree roots and branches to plummet 30 feet into some water, you know I'm hammered.) So, sure as sh*t, as soon as I see the cliffs, I hop out and start swimming (it's a solid 100 foot swim away).


As I'm taking off for adventures in drunken cliff-diving fun, back at the raft, someone screams out "show us your tits!" to Katie and Cassie. Katie turns around, and wouldn't you know it, it's Brent! It is a small world after all.

Meanwhile, I've finally managed to make it over to the cliffs, and I'm starting to climb up the tree roots when I hear someone scream my name out. After losing my balance and landing in a very uncomfortable position on a tree branch (just use your imagination, and yeah, it hurt like a mother f*cker), I turn around to see if I'm hallucinating or if someone really did scream out my name. I take a look and think "wow, that dude looks an awful lot like Brent". So I swim back over to the raft, and sure as sh*t, its Brent, along with everyone's favorite airhead Mallory and a few others. After a couple rounds of jello shots, we make plans to meet up at Shadow Lake later that night (the bar across from River Ranch) that sadly never materialized due to circumstances beyond my control. (If you had "three cop cars, five officers, and a drunk shirtless dude being forcibly removed from the premises, congratulations, you're a winner! Although for once, I wasn't the drunk shirtless dude! Yay me?)

* About 6:30ish we reach the check-in point. At first, I was like everyone else, and was hacked that we had to take a bus back to the campsite. (River Ranch you land at their beach and walk back to camp). In hindsight though, I was glad for the bus -- partly because I had no energy to carry four coolers and a float back, but also because the bus driver inadvertently showed me a shortcut to Shadow Lake that knocked nearly 10 minutes off the drive time. Always important when you're the "designated driver" in a car full of drunk people to keep the ride as short as f*cking possible.

(Yes, I was the DD. How frightening is that, when the consensus of seven people is "Steve's the most sober". And I was anything but sober. Stay tuned.)

* We get back to camp and meet the neighbors to the right who'd arrived that morning. In order of appearance, you had (1) Trevor, or Trev as he went by; (2) Tyler, (3) Austin, and (4) Nick (I think). I'm pretty sure it was Nick. if it wasn't, sorry pal, but you're known as Nick now. They were from Springfield, and considering the only people I've ever met that were from Springfield are Ray and his crew that sit in front of me at Arrowhead, I figured these folks would know how to party. Uuh yes, yes they did. In a completely irresponsible, reckless, "what the f*ck is he destroying now?!?!" kind of way.


* We convince them to go to Shadow Lake with us. Now granted, it was 105 degrees outside (yes, at 9pm, the temp deal in the car said 105. Jesus God above), and nobody is less of a fan of wearing a t-shirt than me ... but we told these four before we left that "you need to bring an ID, and probably want to bring a shirt". I honestly didn't think we'd need a t-shirt -- it's a f*cking bar on the river****. But sure as sh*t, shirts required.

(****: allow me to vent about this. Number one, it's a f*cking bar right on the f*cking river. I've floated up to this place before. It's on the damned river. Don't need a shirt for that. Secondly, it was 105 f*cking degrees outside at 9pm at night. Noone should have to wear a shirt when it's that damned hot, except for Hairy Back Guy. Hairy Back Guy should be required to wear a shirt at all times, it's disgusting to look at. Third, the girls were allowed to wear their swimsuits in, didn't have to put on a shirt. Normally I am all for discrimination like that, under the proven Steve theory that "good looking chicks should be allowed to wear as little as they want". That, and let's face it, not every guy looks as good as I do with a shirt off. But for crying out loud Shadow Lake -- it's 105 degrees! Shirts optional for girls. We're on a f*cking deck next to the river for Christ's sake. I was p*ssed that I had to put that shirt on. I'd sweated through it within 2 minutes, it was so damned hot in there. I don't really have a point I guess, other than "if your business is a bar on a river, make shirts optional. Especially when it's 105 f*cking degrees both inside and outside the bar. I mean, for f*ck's sake, you host a Homemade Bikini Contest every summer Shadow Lake! I've attended the 20th, 21st, and 23rd annual of these bad boys. It's Skin to Win for crying out loud. I'm still outraged over the “no shirt, no entry” policy, and it's been two days.

I mean, what was Gregg's line at the Cardinals game when we were discussing Willie Nelson's pot case? Something like "here should be his entire defense: I'm Willie F*cking Nelson!" Same logic here. "It's 105 f*cking degrees!" Shirts optional, let's get on that Shadow Lake. Because I certainly don't need to drive 15 minutes with a car full of drunk college kids, risking a DUI, to pay you to drink, when I can grab a bottle and sit on the beach at camp. To say nothing of the fact that camp I can smoke away to my heart's content. Screw you Shadow Lake Surf Club. Christ, you're a SURF CLUB! Those guys don't wear t-shirts! Why the hell did we have to when it's 105 f*cking degrees! OK, back to the narrative.)


I wore my undershirt, and gave Tyler my favorite shirt that I own, the gray Chiefs t-shirt that I seem to wear all the time. (In my defense: it's my favorite f*cking t-shirt. As Dr. Dre once noted, "if you all don't like me, blow me".) So two down, three to go. Nick (who was passed out drunk in the back seat) amazingly enough was the only one of them to bring a shirt. Sometimes the drunk guy is the logical one. Trevor manages to find a shirt of mine in the back of the Jeep, but best of all was poor Austin, who was stuck wearing my Bucks hoodie. It's 105 f*cking degrees outside, and this poor kid is stuck in a sweatshirt designed to keep you warm when it's 20 below zero outside. He finally gave up and bought a Coors Light t-shirt.

I was feeling generous, so I paid the cover charge for the seven of us. (Yet another sign I'm smashed: when I'm being generous with cash.) To be fair, it was only $5 / person, a very reasonable cover for a Saturday night.

Having said that ... the night pretty much went down the sh*tter the second we walked in the door. For starters, we were the only 7 people there for the first 30 minutes we were there. Late arriving crowd, I guess. Yet despite being the only folks there, we couldn't get a waitress to come around and take a drink order to save our ass. Finally I gave up and walked to a bar in the back of the joint, because I was so p*ssed that the waitress at the counter by us was literally doing nothing other than talking on the phone for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Tyler decided to get his dance on, and hit the stage. He also hit on every reasonably attractive chick that was there Saturday night. He even convinced a few of them to join him on stage. I thought for sure we were gonna have to cram an 8th person into the Jeep. Anyways, I get to talking to Austin while Tyler's up there shaking his groove thing, and I note how impressive his pick-up skills seem to be. Turns out dude is married with two kids! Unbelievable. You have to admire that, a married guy blowing off the wife and kids for a weekend of drunken debauchery that includes aggressive attempts to score some random booty. You have to admire that, albeit in a totally f*cked up way.

The next sign this night was tanking? The fish bowls filled with rum and fruit punch were rapidly disappearing from our table. And I wasn't drinking from them (damned DD responsibilities. I am NEVER agreeing to be the DD again.)

So, it stands to reason, with (j-kwon voice) e'erybody in the club gettin' tipsy, and Tyler hitting on anything that was female and breathing, and everyone else slamming through those fish bowls like they were water ... that someone would roo-een the evening.

I run to the pisser about 11pm, and notice that we're down a few people at our table. Namely, Tyler and Nick. But I figured they were just in the crush of folks out on the dance floor and didn't think anything of it. Then, about 30 minutes later, Katie brings back another fish bowl to the table, and runs off for some reason. I figured she had to pee or wanted a different colored straw or something.

Nope. Turns out some of our party had been "forcibly evicted" from the premises. Katie comes in to get me, since we've gotta pack up and go -- it was take the evicted out of there ourselves, or the nice Noel police officers would do it for us. I make one last trip to the pisser (which was a really cool old-school wooden trough. I love the troughs. Bathroom lines move so much faster when you just line up and go, as opposed to having to wait for an individual urinal), mainly to look at myself and see how intoxicated I look. I passed the "Steve thinks he looks ok to drive" test, and headed outside.

Where Tyler is in a shouting match with one of Noel's finest. The gray Chiefs t-shirt is draped over his shoulder just drenched in sweat, and somehow, despite the fact that this place didn't serve food, he's managed to get a gigantic mustard stain on it. Nick is trying to reason with him, but it's not going well. I take a deep breath, walk up to the cops and say something like "he's with me, we're taking him home", hoping they don't smell the booze on my breath or the weed in my pocket. Fortunately they weren't looking to make a big deal out of this, so I manage to drag Tyler over to the Jeep, we manage to find Austin and Trevor, and we're off for Kozy Kamp.

* If I'd had to spend 2 more minutes in that car on the ride back, someone's ass would have been beaten to a bloody pulp. There's nothing more annoying than being around drunk people when you aren't drunk. Well, ok, there is stuff that's more annoying, but being the voice of reason to a group of drunks is not fun.

* We manage to arrive back at camp before I went "HHH with the Sledge Hammer" postal on anyone. After we get back, I go pour a very strong vodka and Gatorade concoction and head back over to the neighbors and pull up a seat next to Austin, who's trying to apologize to us for his buddy getting evicted. It's cool dude, we've all been there, done that. What wasn't cool was that whoever sat in the very back jacked up the drop-down speakers, they somehow screwed up the latch that holds them in place. So that has to get fixed. Also, they somehow molested the window enough that the padding around the window was out of place.

And the kicker? As I found out afterwards ... half of them weren't even 21 yet. I didn't ask which two were still underage (and in their defense, we didn't get carded when we walked into Shadow Lake, probably because there was nobody there), but if I had to guess, I'd go with Austin and Trevor. And possibly Nick, he wasn't doing so hot come 12:30 Sunday morning.

* What was hot ... was the friggin temperature. It was still 95 when we drove home. I couldn't get out of that t-shirt fast enough when we left the bar. Unfortunately, as I'd discover the next morning when I found my stained Chiefs t-shirt and then couldn't find my undershirt, a sunburnt back on a leather seat does not feel good. It hurts like holy hell.

* Also hot, was me, at whichever moron of the four lit a freaking campfire when we got back. Guys? It's 95 f*cking degrees outside at 1 in the morning. We really don't need a fire. We have flashlights. Nice thought, but way too freaking hot.

* The heat of the day was so bad that our air mattresses had pretty much deflated. I was so tired when I hopped in the tent that I decided "screw it", and just slept on a halfway inflated mattress. Which led to joking when the girls decided to pack it in for the night, because I looked like a freaking hot dog. My air mattress top is a light brown bun-color, and the sides had curled up around me in the middle. Glad to be the priceless entertainment.

* Sunday morning, I woke up about 7:45. I started packing everything, because I was ready to roll. Unfortunately, nobody else was. After packing up everything I could, I did what any reasonable person would do while waiting for their float partners to wake up: I poured some vodka into some Gatorade and made (dave matthews band voice) the best of what's around.

* It's at this point that Tyler woke up and came out to join me. He asked if he could bum a cigarette, and I was like "sure, my Red's are on the table over there." Somehow, despite the fact that I had exactly one cigarette the entire weekend, my pack was empty. Nice to see I was the community supplier apparently.

* Needless to say, Katie wasn't a fan of Tyler after the events of the night before. She finally woke up a little before 9, opened her eyes, saw Tyler and me talking behind the tent, and dropped an audible "oh Jesus Christ no!" that had me laughing. That apparently woke up Cassie, and I saw my opening. I grabbed my air mattress and started finishing the deflate job the humidity did to it the day before. I manage to convince the girls to get up and moving, so I can tear the tent down. Bam, by 9:30, we're packed and ready to roll.

We say goodbye to both sets of neighbors, and left at 9:32am. I mention this, because according to Mapquest, it should take 2 hours and 58 minutes to get home. I drive like a drunk Texan anyways, and we made it down in a little under two and a half hours.

Sunday? Driving home? We had a quick pit stop in a McDonalds drive through, I missed the I-44 exit and had to double back around on Missouri 249, and I intentionally slowed down at times because we had a guy following us who refused to pass me. (That royally pissed me off. I don't mind leading the pack ... for awhile. At some point you gotta assume the risk, pal.)

Anyways, despite those setbacks ... we pulled into Cassie's driveway at 11:41am. I made it back in barely 2 hours. Let's just say, we were flying.

* Also, because it isn't an official road trip in the Jeep unless we have to drive through rain to get home apparently, it started raining right after we left the McDonalds. What was nice about it though, is the temperature literally dropped 15 degrees in the span of about 5 miles. It was 92 when we left the McDonalds. It was 77 when we got to Harrisonville.


* Sunday I had a family brunch for my dad's birthday, got to watch the single most retarded children's show I have ever seen in my life*****, and eventually wound up (where else?) poolside for some vodka tonics and volleyball.

(*****: the show is Fireman Sam. It's horrible. It's worse than horrible. The episode my Special Little Guy kept making me watch with him was Fireman Sam ... wait for it ... rescuing a beached whale. Yes, a beached whale. #F*ckMyLife.)

* You know you’re loved when there’s a stiff vodka tonic waiting for you when you arrive at the pool. And yes, the Apothic red and the Barefoot moscato went down way, way, way too smooth during dinner.

* Should also mention, Rimann Liquors? You’re on my sh*t list. Who in the f*ck charges $15.61 for a tall bottle of Barefoot?!?! My brother texted me on the way home, trying to get me to swing by Trader Joe’s and grab some Two Buck Chuck (which, sadly, is now Three Bucks. Bastards.) I told him I’d grab a few bottles at Rimann, I wasn’t headed home first to swing by Ward Parkway.

Anyways, I go to check out … and it’s $15.61 per bottle! Are you f*cking kidding me! For Barefoot! You folks at Rimann are out of your f*cking minds. (But you paid for it right?) Hell yes I did. You can’t show up at a family function in my family without a couple bottles of something to share.

So ... Floatapalooza Uno of 2011 has come and gone, and you know what? We're absolutely going back Labor Day weekend. We're also going in three weeks, although I'm not sure if we're doing the Elk or the Niangra. But major props to the Kozy Kamp. I would absolutely stay there again, even over River Ranch. It's cheaper, you can spread out, and it's a solid 20 minutes closer to home. Great, fun weekend I can't wait to do again. And hopefully by the time I get back down there, the t-shirt nazis at Shadow Lake will have been replaced with friendlier folks who understand that when it's 105 f*cking degrees outside, no sane guy is going to have a shirt on ...

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