By Farthington Q. Fogg, Esq.
Day One: An epic journey begins
We bade farewell to civilization, our final human contact the convenience store clerk’s muttered “guh-bye” as we balanced chips, burritos, beer and antacids in outstretched arms. The critical provisions would fuel our expedition to parts unknown, the impending danger looming like a balky slideout.
Ahead, uncertainty. Adventure, perhaps. Our own mortality, most certainly. Knowledge to benefit all humanity? Possibly. There was but one surety. We intrepid explorers were on an expedition into the great unknown, a place of legend known in many primitive societies as The Boondocks.
Storied home of beauty, solitude, and no shore power, ancient maps showed blank voids simply marked “there be dragons here.” A frantic online search for “reservations Boondocks” yielded zero results. A few intrepid explorers returned with fanciful stories of fresh air, no neighbors, undisturbed wildlife, bountiful fishing. Others were more reticent, looking inward and keeping their experience to themselves. One can only guess at the horrors powerful enough to reduce them to a life of muttering and fruitless searches for free hot, clean showers.
The uncharted region was rumored to offer untold riches far from any path, beaten or not. Would we find level ground? Did we bring enough moist towelettes? Can the sellers of extended vehicle warranties still reach out to me?
An eerie calm descended over the truck cab like a dark cloak, each of us enveloped in our own thoughts: Did I hook up the safety chains, was the iron unplugged, is there enough toilet paper? Our journey’s soundtrack was a peaceful lullaby of groaning diesel engine, snoring dogs and rattle of gear that should have been stowed more securely.
We were leaving civilization
We were leaving civilization, its last vestige a congealing ring of half-caf-low-foam-vegan-soy mocha latte on the dashboard. Farewell to Door Dash, 15-minute showers and overnight delivery.
Suddenly the unforgiving natural world reared its ugly head. A rattling like Mother Nature’s hellish hail on a tin roof haunted our every mile. We would learn it was what natives called a “gravel road.” Torment reigned as miniature boulders bombarded our wheel wells, a vicious drumbeat warning us that drive-throughs were but a distant memory now.
More evidence we’d exited the civilized world, as if to mock us, was a plume of what indigenous people called “dust” dogging our route, always in our wake, never relenting in its ceaseless pursuit of our loyal tow rig. As fast as we drove, it never relented, following, following, following.
My companion stirred from an uneasy doze, fumbled in her purse. Then a soft whimpering, a sob, and a weak “beep” followed by an anguished cry: “NO BARS!”
Next: Into the Great Beyond, uncharted lands, and no dump station.
Farthington (“Farth” to friends – the “H” is silent) Q. Fogg is the founding (and sole) member of the Explorer’s Club of Puckerbrush, Nev. Following a mediocre but lucrative career as a solicitor in Great Britain, a mistaken Expedia purchase led to a life of adventure exploring uncharted territory in his recreational vehicle.