Tuesday, November 28, 2006

VW - Camping, Tents, Baja and Buses

I don't use a tent when I knock around down in Baja, not that it doesn't get cold and sometimes, rarely, there are reports of rain. (I've seen rain in Baja, but only from a distance.)

Standard Baja camping equipment is two tarps and four metal poles; metal, because if you use wooden ones some damn fool will put them in the fire. Lotsa rope; rope is very handy stuff in Baja.

You use one tarp as a shade. The only tree in Baja is in front of the mission at San Ignacio and they don't like you to camp there. So you tie one side of the tarp to the roof rack and prop up the other side with your metal poles, lash everything down with rope. Use bridge spikes as stakes to secure the rope. Bridge spikes are those humongous nails you've seen at Home Depot (and wondered what they were for). Now you know. Bridge spikes are Baja tent pegs. (Because you can't drive a wooden tent peg into the ground anywhere south of Maneadero. And some damn fool will put them in the fire.)

You use the other tarp as a ground cloth. That's where you sleep, on the ground cloth. Under the shade. (Down in Baja it's even sunny at night.) You set-up your table on the ground cloth, and your cot, and your Coleman stove. Leave the porta-potti in the bus, along with the icebox. And the magazines. Put the shotgun near the Coleman stove, down by the propane bottle.

In Baja you fish; that's why it's there. You don't shoot; guns are illegal everywhere in Baja except in Tijuana and then only at night in the downtown section. Everywhere else you gotta use a machete. But a machete or even a pistol is no good against flies, least ways not against Baja flies. Oh, I used to use a pistol on them; most guys start out with a pistol. But if you don't hit them suckers square you won't kill them. And a wounded fly will get madder than hell. So use a shotgun. I know; it's not a sure-thing either, but it will knock them down, give you a chance to go after it with your machete. Once you got the wings off them suckers you can get in close, finish them off with your pistol.

It takes about thirty minutes to set up camp in Baja, unless you've got women along. It takes longer with women along; give yourself lots of time. Set up camp, take a stand, knock down the Boss Fly to let the others know you mean business, then go fishing.

Women always want you to bring a tent along. And extra clothes; stuff like that. Truth is, you don't need that much in Baja; the fish don't give a damn what you got on. But woman are handy things to have around, especially in Baja, what with all that gutting and cooking to do. So mebbe you'd better plan on a tent. And wearing clothes.

If you've got a VW bus you can get one of those nifty little tents that hooks on to the spray rails, sets up quick as bunny, lets you get the boat in the water that much sooner. But they're hard to find; you might have to make one.

Here in southern California they've got these fabric supermarkets, big as a football field; sells nothing but fabric. Sailcloth. Upholstery stuff. Foam. Dacron for airplane wings; every sort of fabric you can think of and all the gee-gaws to go with it. Go down there and get you a buncha' tent-fabric, take it to an upholstery shop. Or a sail loft. Hell, mebbe they even got tent shops; check the yellow pages. The fabric will cost more than the sewing and he'll need a pattern. I'll leave the pattern up to you; mebbe you could ask a woman, they mess with patterns. If your wife is handy that way, mebbe you could just take the tent fabric along the next time you go to Baja; give her something to do while you're out fishing; let her run up her own tent.


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