Monday, July 16, 2007

Saturday morning I got home at 6:30. Three hours later we were on the road for the big camping adventure.
We managed to find the park sometime after lunch and unloaded our stuff into the shelter (four walls, screen windows and access to a restroom with actual running water and stuff). Then we went across the road to the beach.
On the way, we noticed a hill with overgrown buildings on it. The road in was blocked with all kinds of "Do Not Enter" signs, but we could see bleachers and what looked like an old abandoned water feature with either trained sea mammals or (more likely) some kind of water ski spectacular. Either way, it looked like it hadn't been used since just after World War II. It also looked like the kind of place Scooby Doo and the gang would visit to solve the Mystery of the Super Barefoot Pyramid Ghost Stunt. We didn't see a group of teenagers with a Great Dane or anything paranormal, but it wasn't for lack of looking.
On our afternoon break from the beach, I looked around the shelter area for the WiFi access point. I didn't see one anywhere I would have placed one had I been in charge of bringing internet to the wilderness.
I pulled my laptop out of the car and turned it on. "No Wireless Networks Detected". I was disappointed.
I could probably live without accessing the internet overnight, but not having access to the internet? Just to know it is there in case I need a movie show time or to find out what the weather is doing or who played the mom in Peter Pan (2003)?
I put my laptop back in the car and we went back to the beach. I was in a pretty foul, three-hours-of-sleep kind of mood. Shana suggested I walk over to the main building to discuss the wireless issue with one of the Park Rangers before they shut down for the evening.
I did.
I marched right past the ghost crabs and seagulls and into the office where a uniformed Ranger was discussing how to secure supplies against raccoons with another camp visitor. The other Ranger on duty asked how he could help me.
I thought about asking about sea turtles or hermit crabs, but decided to jump right in and ask about the internet. After all, if I had the internet I could get my own information about sea turtles and hermit crabs, right?
He smiled at me. "The wireless internet is just this building. It may work from the parking lot, but it goes down most of the time, too."
"So," I ventured, "No way it will work back in the shelter area?" I pointed back towards our cabin.
"Oh, no way."
"But the website . . . " I blinked indignantly, "You can't lie on the internet."
He had a badge. I felt like I needed a badge.
He shrugged at me.
I felt the need to press on. "What next? Just update the website to say that the mosquitoes are vegetarian?"
"Actually," he produced a pamphlet almost magically, "half of them are."
I looked distrustfully at the pamphlet, which featured a cartoon on the front of two smiling insects hugging each other.
"The males only eat nectar and serve a vital role in pollination for some of our more rare and delicate marsh plants."
I should have taken one of the pamphlets with me. It would have worked really well for swatting the female mosquitoes.

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