Mendocino Magic – Day 2

I wake up at some point in the morning…Is it 9 AM? It doesn’t really matter. There’s people up and at it in the camp-site, and I’m just laying naked in my cozy blue sleeping bag–feeling lazy. Jonny is up, and I can hear that people are cooking something or another–awesome. I could just lay here a little longer…

Eventually I have to get up. I slip out of my nest and put on my outer-space t-shirt and my blue Billabong trunks. Everyone is getting ready to go down to the reservoir and do some floating. I’m pondering if I should drop some acid. Nicole, Chris, and Dimitri are going to do it. I mull it over in my mind…If I can get some more people to do it I can.

Jonny wants help making the punch, so I oblige him. We don’t have a can opener to open the cans of pineapple, so he just takes a knife and stabs the cans, dragging the knife through the lid–that’s one way to do it. The pineapples are really chunky–it’s basically all pulp–so we have to spoon them into the small opening in the container.

This container is a clear 2 gallon container, pretty much twice as large as a ‘gallon of milk’. The opening isn’t much bigger either. This is a slow process–sloppy pulp is getting everywhere. I roll up a pink paper plate and shove it in the opening, using it as a make-shift funnel. I have someone ‘stuff my pink taco’ full of the pulp, and we get it all in there. It keeps getting jammed up with pulp and overflowing. I discover I need to grasp the shaft of the funnel and violently shake it up and down to force all the gunk through that pink hole–the sexual innuendo of it all is making me laugh, taking my mind off how gross this is. Then we dump in two handles of Captain Morgan’s and look at this revolting drink. It just looks gross. We still need to put coconut juice in there, but at that point someone else starts helping and I slip away and leave them to deal with that shit.

It was like how I imagine it would be working at a sausage factory. You wouldn’t want to eat it if you saw how it was made. Pretty much the same deal when we make jungle juice at our halloween parties.

I have some liquid acid left still, and I had planted to seed with some people yesterday. I ask who wants some, and get some ok maybes from Rachel and Liv. Chris(sy) is down, and Nick is a maybe. I make a breakfast sandwich out of cheese, bread, and some bacon Jonny cooked up. Fuck, is it ever nice to camp with people that love to be organized. I find the marshmellows, placing the bag of them on that burgundy colored bench I’m sitting on. The fire from last night is still kind of warm, although long extinguished. I pull out four marshmellows and put them on the bench, and then bust out the liquid acid.  I put a drop on each one of the marshmellows and hand them out, but the girls want to wait. Chris(sy) and I cheers the marshmellows and chow down. They’re sweet AF.

“I’ll set a timer” says Chris(sy), already tapping away at his digital watch. The race against the clock has begun. I want to hustle to get down there. I start getting all of the shit I need together in my CamelBak, also trying to encourage the girls to take the acid. They’re wishy-washy, better let them make their own decision.

The pond beside our campsite, rich with lily pads

I slackline a bit and then 35 minutes in I am feeling a little tingly–ah here we go. The sense of urgency to get moving kicks in, and we rally the troops. We all starting walking down to the reservoir as a huge crew, someone pulling a cart of stuff. I’ve just got my tripper kit with me…My CamelBak with some beef jerky in it, a sweater, pants, sunglasses. What else does a man need? I start walking down, and then there’s this huge ass hill to get up to the reservoir–aaahhh shit.

I lend my muscles to help, and I grab onto the cooler and team carry it up with Dimitri. Fuck, it’s a total bitch to do, but we make some fun of it. We trade sides a few times. We zig zag up this damn hill with it, taking a few breaks. We finally get up that bitch, and then Nick comes in and wants to help. He subs out Dimitri, and then we set up a kind of makeshift camp by Cannonball Camp, where there are some other people camping.

It’s less than ideal, so I talk to the boys.

“I’m going on a recon mission, whose with me?”
“I’m Down.” says Nick
“Yeah dude. Let’s do it” Chimes in Dimitri.

So the three of us start walking around the lake. We’re doing a recon team schtick, using radio call-signs and all. Nick is Golden Eagle, I’m Red Beaver, and Dimitri is White Russian. We find site ‘Alpha’…not great. Then next we discover ‘Site W’ on account of all the woods…Super steep, but we check it out anyways. At any rate, we’re having a fucking blast. White Russian is on two tabs, I’m on one drop, and Nick is just a little buzzed off of a PBR Tall Boy. We’ve all got a frosty PBR in our hands, and we’re using it to gauge the time. We don’t want to run out during our loop. We find a desirable site near the end of our route, and then we return to base-camp to say where we are moving. The whole convoy picks up and starts to move, but I decide to put some stuff in a cargo tube and float it over–Ojibwe Express style. I kick for probably 25 minutes to transport it, Nickel and C-dog coming with me.

C-dog does the backwards octopus to propel himself, I just kick underwater, and Nickel like jumps up on her tube and kicks wildly with her legs, splashing water everywhere. We all have our own method. We’re taking our time, moving ever-slowly across the reservoir. In the time it took us to get over there, we find out that the group has been invited over to this sweet rock even further across the bay, so we have to move again. I’ve got this Simpsons jelly donut floatie that I’m trying to inflate with my lungs. Every time I feel like I’m getting a good rhythm going some flies land on my shoulder and I have to swat them off. I get frustrated and give up, just walking over to the rock area. I find Liv and Rachel hanging out on a rock just overlooking the water. Liv has a purple flower in her hair, and it looks beautiful. The girls get me a purple flower and we put it in my beard.

It really is a beautiful moment. It’s me, Liv, and Rachel, and I think Chris(sy) as well has joined up later after transporting the cooler. We wave hello to the people that invited us, and they come to talk to us. It’s this petite little Quebecois girl wearing a Batman bikini, and her fairly athletic hippie boyfriend. They live on some land adjacent to this, doing ‘agriculture’, and living in a Yurt type thing that looks like a garlic clove. I mean, clearly they’re growing weed.

Jonny looks like a king, laughing in a huge lazy-boy floatie down there in the reservoir, cup of rum punch in his hand. He’s literally got the floaty for the cooler tied to his floaty–he is the bar. There’s a flotilla of about 10 people in tubes all tied together, and Jonny is trying to get a drink out of that collapsible container full of punch. It looks as disgusting as before, and after seeing him try to handle that flexible container, I can’t help but notice that it looks like a stomach full of bile. He’s loving that stomach juice. Everyone’s having a great time down there.

We chat with the strangers about their fairy tale lives for a bit more, a bunch of working stiffs on their long weekend turnin’ up for the weekend trying to relate to these free spirits. They tell us the realities of their situation, their extremely blue eyes just mesmerizing us.

“It’s cool, but if the wind picks up, we usually stay in town. It’s no joke, if a tree falls over, you’re done” Says the dude, his crystal gemstone sitting low on his chest, suspended around his neck with a hemp string.
“Ah…” We say collectively. It’s a little too surreal a moment for us–you know with all the acid, their unconventional lives and the too blue to handle eyes.
“Well, we’re headed out, it was great to meet you guys”.

We watch the two free spirits leave, that little Quebecois mouse shrinking off into the distance with her yellow and black batman bikini. So long, gov’na. “Were those people even real? They were too perfect to be real” remarks someone.

Five minutes later this strange Filipino chick rolls up and passive-aggressively tells us–with emphasis on the aggressive–“This is our private campsite, and we were promised it would be our own little private area”

Ah shit.
“Oh…we didn’t know. Someone invited us over here”.
“OK well this is our campsite and we were promised it would be private” she’s saying.
“Ok yeah, well we will move”.

I wonder if those free spirits were even real…this surly chick sure as fuck didn’t think so. It’s kind of awkward, not the shit you wanna deal with while tripping. But no worries, we got a bunch of homies in the water. I take my time and get my shit, and then we walk back over to the new old site, the shady one. I try for like 20 minutes to blow up this inflatable jelly donut, but fail. All these bugs keep landing on my shoulder once again, and then I am with Alison and Brittany who are doing girl talk and I just can’t take it anymore. The tube is only a 1/4 inflated, but I run into the water and try to fill the tube up while swimming. I look ridiculous.

I come in hot like a sea otter, swimming into the middle of the flotilla. I try to grab a glass of punch from Jonny, but he protests a bit. “I don’t have any more cups” he says. “What about this empty one you have right here?” I say, pointing at a clean glass sitting pretty in a cupholder beside the cooler

“That’s for the ice”.
“OK, blow up that floaty and I’ll give you a punch”.

So I try in vain for a while, it’s just hard when you’re swimming. There’s a vacant premium floaty, looking all firm and buoyant. It belong to C-dog, but he seems to have abandoned it for the moment. I hijack his floaty and use it as a base to try and blow it up my floaty. I float over to Jonny, and that pedigree chum was true to his word.

“Stomach juice me” I say. King Jonny takes that coveted chalice out of the cup holder, and throw a little ice in. “You’ve gotta pour it yourself, but here you go, handing me the stomach. “It’s too pulpy to use the valve, you’ve got to take the cap off.

So there I am balancing on a tube with a 2 gallon collapsible plastic stomach of juice between both arms, and the cup held between both of my feet like a vise. I’m doing some sort of yoga pose here trying to get a drink. It’s a precarious move, and I’m able to pour/squeeze the juice out into the cup. All of my efforts pay off, this stomach juice is delicious.

I get a few sips of that sweet nectar, but then C-dog comes back to reclaim his tube and threatens to flip me if I don’t get out.

“I know you can’t flip me, I’ve got the stomach juice hostage!” I chortle.
Jonny shoots me a concerned look and says “He’s right”.

Chris is there treading water beside the tube, and I still haven’t even managed to blow up my jelly donut tube. I’m laughing uncontrollably. Chris is getting frustrated.

“Dude, don’t mess with me, I’m like a sea otter. I’m gonna flip your ass”.
“Just lemme blow it up and you can have you tube back”.

I can’t stop laughing, which is kind of a blocker when you’re trying to blow up a fucking tube with your lungs. I’m not making much headway on the floaty and C-dog is getting all frustrated.

“At least hand the punch over so someone else can drink it as well”. It seems a reasonable request, I’ve been having fun at this now for about 10 minutes.
So I hand the hostage stomach and my cup of juice over to someone so they can drink it, and I promptly get flipped. I deserved that.

Treading water again, and the tube isn’t getting inflated quickly at all. I eventually have Steve help me blow it up, and he does it in like three breaths. Incredible. “I give a lot of blowjobs” he says gayly and laughs. This guy is awesome.

So there I am, floating around and tied into the flotilla with my jelly donut floaty. We keep drifting into the reeds, and people need to kick. This eventually gets a little tiring, and it’s just me Steve and Chris(sy) doing the work. We start to run out of booze and get bored of this, so I untie from the flotilla, tired of pulling ten people. The girls say ok whatever, we don’t need you boys anyways. They promptly float into the reeds across the reservoir. We all laugh at them a bit. I kick back to shore and hang out a bit. The girls eventually come back, and we walk with them.

I walk with Rachel, and I take off my Birks. Nothing better than walking barefoot while tripping. I do feel some pain when I’m walking on the rocks, but my feet are kind of hobo feet at this point anyways. I try to convince Rachel to de-shoe as well, but no dice. We walk down and then we see King Jonny yelling directions at us.

“DEFLATE THE FLOATIES, PUT THEM IN THE TRUCK. DEFLATE THE FLOATIES, PUT THEM IN THE TRUCK. DEFLATE THE FLOATIES, PUT THEM IN THE TRUCK” he keeps repeating, pointing his arms in a windmill motion towards the F-350 parked at the base of the path. He looks like he’s directing traffic–ok let’s be real, he is.

This is working like a well oiled machine–I’m impressed he has the wherewithal do this after all that stomach juice. I’ve ended up carrying the big yellow floatie Jonny was on. After we all deflate those shits and pack them in, we finally make it back to the camp–hooray.

I hit the slackline, and I’m fucking killing it. I jump in my hammock and just lay there, looking up into the branches. It’s beautiful. I sway back and forth a bit. I eat some jerky and the flavor is just so intense–wow. I hop out in search of some strawberries–they’re the best when you trip. I end up grabbing another beer and I’m just drinking and making that transition from trippin’ to drunk. It’s like 3:30 PM. The sun is out and it’s beautiful so I say “Hey I’m gonna go lay in the sun up on the path”. “We could grill up there” says Jonny.

I helped Jonny move the charcoal grill over and I throw my sarong down on the ground and grab some sun while Jonny gets the grill going–we’re starving. We set the beer pong table up, and slowly people start to come up and hang out. Jonny and I play Dimitri and Brittany, and it’s a decent game.

I’m making the joke about the punch looking like stomach juice, and it seems to catch on. We name the stomach ‘Joe’ and it’s now Joe’s Juice or Joe’s Stomach Juice. That shit is fucking GOOD. I can’t stop sipping it. It’s become a good luck talisman now, as I squeeze the sides of it to release a fresh tropical breeze of pineapple aroma before each shot for luck–my version of blowing on your dice.

It was a shame when you had to switch from the stomach juice to some of that Colorado piss water whenever they sunk a ball. We continue playing, and beat out Nickel and C-dog as well. It was close, but we got them. I’m kind of faded at this point, and we get off the table. Chrissy, Rachel, Nick and Olivia are set up on another blanket beside the Sarong, just laying out now. I come and join them, getting some sun.

I’m staring directly up, and there’s a beautiful set of branches just full of young maple leaves above me. Beside us is a manzanita tree. Two pretty different trees, existing together. I love maple trees, but maybe it’s because I’m Canadian. Everyone is looking at these lizards camouflaged in the tree. It’s trippy as fuck, It takes me a while to find them. You need to wait for them to move, and they do a quick move and then freeze. Wow, pretty cool. I’m laying next to Liv starting up at a canopy of maple leaves and talking about keeping a journal and life in general. I’m saying how I’m going to journal this…That it’ll be a 15 pager (way more than that right now).

Posted up like a mailbox on the trail

Rachel is wearing like all black and has this hat on, and we get her to tuck her pony tail through the back. She looks like a lunch-lady. We’ve got a hat heavy crew, and I like it. I read the back of her hat, and I have to do a double-take. It says ‘J. Galt’ and then an address.

“Hey, who’s John Galt?”
“Like, who’s John Galt? Why is the sky blue” I say trying to make an obvious reference.

No one really gets it.

“Is that an Atlas Shrugged reference?” Says Chris.
“Yeah dude, that hat says, J. Galt. That’s definitely an Atlas Shrugged reference” I say excitedly.

No one else understands or has read the book, but I nevertheless think it’s mad cool that someone has made John Galt branded clothing. C-dog and I proceed to get into a philosophical debate about Atlas Shrugged.
“It’s anti-capitalist” says C-dog
“No man, it IS capitalism, it’s fighting communism” I retort.

We don’t have much more to say of it, but then 10 minutes later C-dog says “I think you might be right man, I’m thinking about it more, and I think I had it wrong. The book is capitalist”. What a strange turn of events that was, although only C-dog and I could enjoy it.

Jonny is sitting in a little ultralight camping chair beside the grill, and a lot of smoke is starting to come out of it. He’s staring intently at the grill through his sunglasses, but he hasn’t really moved much. He’s sweating profusely–really soaking up the sun. “Is his leg hair burning?” someone chimes in. His left leg is close to the grill, and some of his leg hair has definitely singed off. I cock my head to the side and see that he is actually asleep behind the sunglasses. This motherfucker passed out in the middle of the party, but no one even noticed. He’s supposed to be watching the chicken. Suddenly the smoke coming out of the grill is much more alarming than before.

“Jonny?” I say. He’s dead to the world.
I start laughing “Guys check it out, I think Jonny passed out”. We all start checking it out and he’s still asleep. Someone opens up the grill to check on the chicken and it’s all getting pretty burnt. Rachel moves the grill away from him and she takes over and starts cooking. She really looks like a lunch lady now with the baseball cap on, leaning over the smoky grill.

Quickly this turns into something hilarious, everyone camping with us wants to check it out. I figure he will wake up at any moment now, but this mother fucker is still KO’ed! So we do what anyone else would do. We pose and do a group picture with him sleeping at the front! We keep it a secret, he still doesn’t know we have this absolutely hilarious ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ inspired pic with him.

We cook the chicken and eat a little bit, and then like ten minutes later we see Jonny wakes up, but he plays it cool. He just snaps into it and a few seconds later starts bobbing his head to the beat, feeling like no one even noticed his little nap. We let him keep thinking that.

“Whatup Jonny”
“Just chillin”
“Yeeeeahh have some more of that stomach juice” I say.

So he’s drinking a little more and looking fine, but still waking up a bit from his stupor. A few minutes later he has a bit of a start and says “Where’s the fuckin chicken?” in a panic. We’ve completely removed the grill and served the chicken at this point. Everyone starts laughing and we’re like “Ohhhh Busted!” We tell him how we found him looking like Bernie passed out infront of the burning chicken and just let him be.

Chef Jonny serving up some Zzzz’s

Jonny has another drink, and he’s right back in the saddle. Something flipped with him after that. It’s like he turned into an old British street merchant. “We’ve got the coals, let’s cook all the meat he says”. Suddenly, we’ve got 15 hot dogs on the grill, hamburgers, basically anything he could get on that little 6″ by 12″ charcoal grill.

“Wanna hot dog? This one’s perfect” he says in his Sheffield British accent, pushing a nearly burnt to a crisp dog onto someone. He’s quite the salesman. “Hotdogs? Hotdog? He says, that British accent really sending it home. This guy wasn’t going to waste any food.

There’s some more beer pong, and ultimately most of the meat Jonny cooks ends up in a big metal bowl, aptly referred to as “the bucket of meat”. I give him some grief about cooking all the meat when it’s only 5:00 PM. “You won’t be complaining tonight when you’re drunk and there’s all this meat” he says. He’s probably right.

Some of the girls float the idea of going to catch the sunset up at the reservoir. I’m feeling so lazy, but it just sounds like too good an idea to pass up. Slowly, slowly, people get their shit together–pole pole. The sun is still fairly high, but in about an hour it will probably dip behind those Mendocino mountains. We start to rally.

The whole crew gets it together, and we set off as the sun starts to get a little low. We bring two full bottles of Jamieson with us, passing those two bottles around amongst the group of 15, taking straight pulls. I’m feeling impressed, proud even. It’s not every day you get to go camping with this many people and have everyone down to drink straight Jamieson out of the bottle.

We start to walk up the windy path up the hill to the reservoir, passing that abandoned pumping station. There’s this beautiful Madrone tree on the way up there. There’s a steep AF way to run up the hill, or a windy path. It’s time for a race. Rachel and Olivia start running up the windy way, while Chris, some other boys, and I run up the steep hill alongside a big neglected pipe. We beat them by a landslide.

I look up over the hill into the campgrounds. There’s all these tires that have weed plants growing in them. “Come in overwatch” says Nick in a radio voice, causing White Russian and me to laugh. That was the call-sign for the big eagle we saw flying over the campsite from this same spot. “He’s our eye in sky” says one of my fellow Recon Team Charlies.

It’s decided that this floating dock should serve the best purpose to enjoy the sunlight. Nick and I use a chain attached to it to pull it ashore. “Un, Dos, Tres” says Nick as we time our efforts to pull that thing ashore. We do a few iterations of this and decide that this was ‘good enough’. The whole crew jumps on the dock, and the front part of it sinks in the water a bit. It’s a nice cozy vibe, and we’re all sitting around drinking Jamieson.

This is just way too cozy for Jonny. He’s just a complete hooligan right now. He has a bottle of Jamieson in one hand, and he’s at the end of the dock jumping from one foot to the other, shaking the dock in the water. The old dock is partly submerged in the water as he does this. He’s either trying to sink it or get everyone wet, no one is sure. “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.” Chrissy says to Jonny whenever he tries to open his mouth. She’s had just about enough of his shit today. I’m ambivalent, and C-dog is totally loving it, egging him on an enabling his behavior.


Chris(sy) has his DSLR, and sets up a timer photo to capture us all chilling on the dock. It’s the golden hour of the day, the sunlight just perfect for portrait photography. We all look great.

The sun goes down and Jonny tries to push the dock away. Everyone gets spooked and jumps off. He kind of ruined the moment there, I could have chilled on the dock for a little while now. Oh well. We all head down the hill, ending up near the common cooking area.

It’s twilight, and there’s some groups of people in the outdoor cooking area hanging out, some dogs roam around playing with each other off-leash. Some people are playing cornhole, and our group just sidles up beside it, and the people playing kind of just kill their game, trying to get us to take over. They either have had enough of the game, or enough of being near us. I think it’s the latter.

I lay on this huge hammock made of white tarp stretched between two huge wooden pieces. It’s suspended between two trees. It’s like 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Several of us are laying in this big hammock, watching all the different dogs play with each other. Nick’s dog Ukiah is facing off with the other dogs, who are trying to intimidate her, but that dog has some steely resolve, completely unfazed by the bigger dogs. “WHAT NOW, WHAT NOW BITCH. WHAT NOW. HUH? WHAT NOW.” I could imagine Ukiah saying to the other dog. Body language speaks louder than words.

Jonny isn’t finished his chaos, He wants to rock the boat–literally. He’s going nuts on the hammock, making it swing wildly left to right. He’s all excited and saying unintelligible British things as he rocks the hammock back and forth. Some people roll off, wanting nothing to do with this. I remain on, and he gets in a bit of a war with Rachel. They’re on opposite sides of the hammock, trying to swing the other one off. Rachel falls off, but has resolve and jumps back on to try to dethrone the king. I’m still laying on the hammock chillin–I don’t mind a little movement.

The rumble begins, and Jonny ends up tumbling off, doing a big dramatic roll onto the ground. All that commotion makes the dogs go CRAZY! They’re all running around in circles, barking like mad. Our group really just rolled in here like a fucking hurricane. With all that pineapple rum, we’re a fucking tropical storm that’s for sure.

After that debacle, everyone walks back to the campsite, but I hang back for a few minutes just to do a comparison of what the campsite is like when we’re not terrorizing everyone. It was pretty calm. Yep, case closed. We’re obnoxious assholes, and I don’t mind one bit.

We get back to the campsite, and Dimitry has his ankle all propped up with some ice. It turns out on the walk back he was dancing, and rolled his ankle RealReal bad. It was swole as fuck.

The camp-fire is raging, and we all sit around drinking and shooting the shit. We’re all a little exhausted from our full day. Rumor around camp is that a live music show will go on at 11:30 PM. A pretty cocky start time, but we’ll allow it. We make smores and drink around the fire until we hear the music fire up across the pond. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that it’s happening.

Most of the group moseys back over, bringing the Jamieson and a 30-rack of Coors. The music is being played in this cool raised wooden area, providing a little dancefloor and stage in the woods–hell yeah. The first act is kind of reminisecent of Crystal Castles, and not bad. Then a second fellow riffs on his electric guitar about having “fridge magnets that don’t stick, so I hold ’em up with tape”. He also had a song about “Where the white things roam” as a sort of ode to gentrification.

It’s almost 1 AM now, and they’re going to stop the music. The last guy that comes on stage is just fucking horrible, so that was our cue to leave. The whole squad does an about-face and walks outta there, feeling somewhat bad about leaving in the middle of the set, but ultimately relieved to be out of there.

The fire is still going, and poor Dimitry is still there hanging out, icing his ankle. We have some more drinks around the fire, running out of battery eventually on the speaker. Slowly, slowly–pole pole–people begin to retire. At some point it’s just C-dog and I.

The stars are so incredible tonight, as they were the night before. Chris and I go out to the grass clearing beside our camp-site, bringing out chairs to just stargaze. I’ve got some of the ‘Thai crack’ menthol inhaler, the Thai herbal version of Vicks.

We don’t last long sitting, and we’re quickly laying down and staring at the cosmos. The sky looks milky with stars, you can see the Milky Way a bit. I’m shining my laser into the sky to try to find constellations. There’s too many stars for me to even identify constellations. So beautiful

I pass out soon after that.

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