Monday, August 10, 2009

Snack Snake Valley

Almost a full week has passed, but it feels like just yesterday I talked to you about my life in the form of words and you listened in the form of eye strain and a computer screen. I think digital voyeurism, an activity in which you are currently partaking, became popular about the time when “Fun and Games” took a backseat to “Guns and Fame.” Well, I don’t own a gun and I’m not famous… so what are you doing here? Maybe you are looking for a throwback to Fun and Games; I’ll assume so and do my best to deliver. Just remember that where pillows are concerned, a throw is a sham and antimacassar is a good thing. Thus, I will try not to mince words or massacre memories.

Time for some truths:

Goodbye Michigan, hello Damn-Sandusky. Somewhere amidst the border between the mitten-shaped state and the cow pie state, while my nose and other facial features were buried in text, Kent led us to the gates of Cedar Point. While this would usually be taken as an open invitation to mount your favorite ride and scream in excitement, in this case it only meant that we had gone 45 minutes out of the way. Sandusky, Ohio isn’t much more than a pile of broken bones and patchy pasts. Busted homes fell toward the world’s most marketable roller coasters, like sunflowers bow to what is known outside our small universe as a perfectly standard ball of gas. We spun our tail-pipe in the right direction and exhausted the last of our diesel fumes wishing Michigan a fish again (Kent has a Jesus-fish on his bumper: ΙΧΘΥΣ).

I made the executive decision to spend the night in Elk Park, or somewhere thereabouts, right as the sun was going down. This meant that we would be camping out on the Tennessee/NC border, and then hiking in the morning. This also meant that two of us would be sleep outside, sans accommodations, and Kent would be reassuming the fetal position in the backseat of his Jetta. The thinnest hour, width-wise, is 1 AM, and this hour found us perusing the outdoor section at Wal-Mart, pining for warmth and comfort. Jake bought a hammock and I bought a $3 pillow and a 8’X10’ tarp. Then we both bought shoes, mine Velcro and his TreadSafes. These would suffice as some tangent to real hiking booties.

After an entire day of listening to Jake try to convince us that he never lies (which was a lie in and of itself), Kent and I were able to quickly drift off to sleep, but in my case, only after I set up Jake’s hammock for him. We fell asleep in camping spot #28, under the gentle and watchful eye of Dougie – Park Security Specialist.

Morning Snapshot: I wake up and plug in my phone behind an outhouse. A small child notices the Michigan license plate and questions me about the # of yearly ice-fishing deaths in my home state. Kent shivers in the backseat minus any blankie because he let me borrow his sleeping bag the night before. I threw it back over him, and went to wake up Jake the Snack Snake. His first words were “I’m cold.” Not much later “I need a snack!” Snack snakes are the hardest snakes to raise. I noticed he had slept with a knife in his right hand; Jake is an incredible specimen of a person you would want to be stuck in the elevator with, but not the wilderness.

At breakfast, we received a running social commentary from Jake on the patriotism of Southerners - his Exhibit A being the housecat-American-flag hybrid pin that a lady in the truckstop wore. A typical interaction would be as follows: Jake says a lot without really saying anything, I ask Jake what rocky crag of illogic his mind resides in, and Kent keeps a running total of how nice everyone is. After breakfast, we started up an unassuming entrance to the Appalachian Trail, which turned out to be quite steep. As the altitude rose, so did Jake’s fear of snakes, which came as quite the surprise since he himself is a species of Snack Snake. All the talk of snakes led to the naming of every object as such: Snake valley, Snake rock, Snake steam, Snake Ore Chasms, and Snake pudding (puddles). 10 miles of hick hiking, a dog with a permanently crooked neck, and several sucks from Jake’s CamelBak later, we found ourselves at the climbmax of our journey; the snake drive. While Jake was take a suckle from him water sack, Kent and I spread out into a meadow and pinched toward Jake. As we ran toward him, we told him that we were doing a snake drive and that all the snakes were streaming toward him, Don’t you see the grass moving, Jake? To call what Jake did next running is like calling what Nascar drivers do on the speedway parallel sparking; the kid laid tracks all the way back to the car.

On the way to Chapel Hill, I got a text from the backseat, Jake asking “What’s up?” I asked Kent to pull over and I got out the belt and told Jake that if he ever texted me when we were in a ten-foot radius of each other again I would give him a free belt. This is called reward-based discipline. Two minutes later, Jake was enjoying his new belt.

We went to Longhorn Steakhouse and enjoyed full plates of meat and full glasses of a 1910 bottle of Napa Valley tapwater: Blue Label. We finally made our final approach to my new townhouse, a place in which I had never even stepped foot. We found my temporary roommate Josh watching Shark Week. It has been said that the best way to bond with a new acquaintance is to watch teenage girls get ripped apart by two rows of serrated teeth and a primal reptilian attack approach, so we put this theory to the test. It seemed to work; I felt that I could trust anyone who could laugh at seaward atrocities with both feet up on a leather footrest and both hands behind his head.

After Josh went to bed, Kent and I held court with Jake about the civil liberties of Internet use. At issue was the right of a temporary lease-paying individual to partake in the unplugging and resetting of a wireless access point. Jake and Kent wanted to use the internet, and we didn’t have the password. I wanted to reset the router, Jake held that it was unjust, and Judge Judy Kent issued an injunction allowing one Wesley King to unplug any and all routers he could locate in a five minute period. Within four minutes, I had an open internet connection available to any man, woman, or child willing to proclaim that I was King of Router Resets.

Up Next: 15 miles of mountain biking, Jake and Kent pose as Interns, and me giving a client some “really quick action!”


  1. Oh my word!! It sounds like you guys had a crazy time!! I would have loved to have been a fly on the dashboard for that ride!! Thanks for an adventure that Jake will never forget or be able to duplicate. I can't wait to see photos. I hope it was fun for you to be able to show them your new territory and have a little piece of home for awhile. And thanks for setting up Snack Snake's hammock, and I'm sorry Kent froze curled up in the back seat!! And you should have curled up next to the Snake for warmth and comfort instead of a tarp on the ground...but here is me-sounding like a girl so I'll stop! Take care! Glad the new place is "sleek"!!!

  2. That truly sounded like an adventure-male bonding.
    I liked the part when you got the belt, and pulled over.LOL
    And of course your space #28 for your camping spot.