I’ve got two camping angels watching over me.
+ + +
Saturday morning at the dispersed campsite in the Prescott National Forest in Arizona. Dispersed camping, for those unfamiliar, is primitive campsites. Only dirt, no facilities or services, typically free. Roughin’ it fo’ real.
I’m snoozing in the back of my Subaru. My current lifestyle and mode of sleeping — if it can be called that. With back seats down, even my short stature (and petite frame) exceed the cargo space. Subarus are GREAT cars but not designed for big folks.
Between my makeshift blackout curtains — unhemmed black fabric from Walmart — and a coupla hours of lost sleep to a hard chill and hard sleeping surface, I’m actually slumbering well past daybreak!
Then clicky clicky clicky buzzzzzz buzzzz buzzzzzz.
I’m awakened by the sound of …. what? A forest ranger trimming bushes around my camp spot with an electric saw?
Emerging from my warm mummy bag in the rear and folding myself origami-style into the front cabin, I investigate, peering past the window’s sunshade. No one’s visible. And certainly no one with a buzzy gardening tool.
And why would a ranger concern himself with bushes or branches anyway? It’s a national forest for god’s sake! It’s not like the Forest Service employs Edward Scissorhands to come shape vegetation.
Clicky clicky clicky buzzz buzzzzzz buzzzzzz buzzzzzzzzzzz.
Where IS that sound coming from!?!?
Oh. No. Could it be?
Ear to the ground — rather, air — I glance at the steering wheel. The key’s right where I left it dangling last night: In the ignition. When car-camping, I keep it there for a number of practical reasons. With everything turned off.
That’s the usual state of affairs anyway in the many many many nights of sleeping in Subaru Suite.
Clicky clicky clicky buzzzzz buzzzz buzzzzzzzzzzz.
The dots are connecting. Expecting the worst, I rotate the key. Right. Nothing but the sound of a battery gone dead.
Because best I can figure, and unbeknownst to me, when I’d turned the key to unlock the doors for a late-night pee break — friendly reminder: Drink NOTHING three hours before tucking yourself into a sleeping bag! — I hadn’t returned it quite to its full off position, leaving the battery to drain.
So here I am. In a national forest. On a dirt forest road. At the very end of that road. Of course. Some 5 miles from civilization proper.
Thank god there’s still some charge on my old iPhone battery! It’s not like the other night when I accidentally left the phone on to listen to “Coast to Coast,” only to awaken to a phone battery with zero charge.
More importantly, thank goodness the phone picks up some signal out here in the boonies. Kudos to Verizon. They truly have the best coverage. I travel a LOT and to remote destinations and know of what I speak. I’m a walking — well, driving — advertisement for Verizon.
Note: I am not being paid for this endorsement.
However, the puddle of juice in the iPhone battery isn’t my first thought.
It’s: Dead car battery. Electric windows and doors. Windows shut tight to keep out the chilly mountain air. CAN I GET OUT?
Visions out of a horror movie erupt. I can see it now. Me screaming at the top of my lungs from behind a pane of glass in a gigantic forest … at the dead end of a dirt road … shouting for someone, anyone who may or may not be within earshot of a girl inside a sealed vehicle.
Absolutely no one knows I’m here. It’s too soon to think about being trapped for days and days. Too soon to think about the cabin depleted of oxygen. Too soon to think about authorities stumbling upon me, body stilled, contorted face plastered against a window that wouldn’t open … them rifling through my wallet and phone to identify me.
Or is it?
With bated breath, I tap the electric passenger door button. VOILA! Air and light of day come flooding in! I’m saved! I’m free!
Only two explanations are possible for electric doors that open despite a zonked battery. Either I failed to lock the doors during that pee break in the wee hours, no pun intended — a misstep to my favor. Or the Subbie’s got a safety mechanism enabling doors to open in an electrical failure. I’ll have to google that.
Just not at this very minute. Hardly wise use of threadbare electronic resources. I’ve got more pressing matters. Like how to get the car from Stop to Go.
In short order too. I’ve got an appointment with Judy to view her rental room.
… to be continued …