Monday, October 13, 2008

Down to the Refuge With Biscuits

Friday Shana and I went down to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge for a little peace and quiet and a few days away from the increasingly distressing news of the stock market and the presidential campaign. We don't take a radio, and our cell phones have no reception there unless we walk to one of the very few places where a signal is available. We had not been out camping for months due to the combination of cycling season and heat. Not only did we miss the quiet and beauty of the Refuge, but in the interim Shana had acquired the long awaited Dutch Oven and was eager to try it out. I was anxious to try out my two new pieces of equipment, too. For my birthday in April I had received an axe and a camp stove toaster.

Before heading out to the Refuge, I zipped over to see Alex and to watch Vivian while Dad and Mom took my car to get registered to vote. The deadline had crept up on them and I did not want them to miss out due to car trouble. Vivian was her usual cutie pie self, and showed no signs of having been sick the weekend before.

Shana had to work through mid afternoon Friday, so I went on ahead to reserve our campsite and set up our camp. The thought had crossed my mind that I was being obsessive by always insisting on packing up the night before and leaving right after work at noon to get us a campsite, but once I arrived at Camp Doris only a couple of hours later than usual nearly all the campsites were already taken, so this time we had #5, which was not one we had ever had before. I was glad that last time we were there Shana and I had driven around evaluating all possible choices should our favorites not be available. We liked #5 all right because it is on the outside, and has no close neighbors on either side. What we did not know was that available tent sites on #5 were not really large enough to accommodate the Taj M'Shana without putting us on a bit of a slope (and rocks) but it was still nice and quiet. Once Shana decided that she would not actually slide off the bed we were quite cozy.

Friday night we had a good skillet dinner cooked on the camp stove. Saturday morning we had a quickie toast and coffee breakfast because we were riding into Lawton to have beer and football (our team lost, boo hoo). The best part of that junket was trying out Blue Moon beer. It's a wheat beer, which I do not generally like, but I enjoyed this one. I did not know it was a Coors product, but I won't hold that against it. For Saturday night and Sunday morning Shana tried out her new toy. She had prepared by reading up on about a million recipes and watching the video (really!) that came with the Dutch oven showing you how to set it up and what balance of coals on the bottom and top would give you the temperature you wanted for various dishes. We had a yummy pork chop casserole Saturday night and perfect biscuits Sunday morning. The Lodge Dutch oven came preseasoned, and was very easy to use and clean. There are a couple of accessories we want for the next time out, but in general it's a big success. We had not packed the long tongs we already own, which would have been very welcome. Lodge makes a lid stand which not only gives you some place to put your hot lid besides on the ground but which can also be set in the coals to convert the lid (turned upside down) into a griddle. I'm a bit choosy about adding new equipment to our camping gear, but this item has earned its place.

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