I had been working the mid shift for some time now and I was still struggling to get used to the 11:00pm to 7:00am schedule. I had continued seeing things on the road to work that didn't exsist and I was sleeping about every other day. The weekend was coming on quick and I was long overdue for an outdoor adventure. I called my best friend Joe and discussed the idea of going to Lacamas Lake for the weekend and we decided it was a good plan. So with the plan, schedule and the idea set in motion it was time to ready myself for the escapade.
Thursday morning rolled around, that would be about 9:30pm for a guy on mid shift, and it was the last day of the work week. I had suspended my usual bass fishing trip the day before in an ill-fated effort to get the extra sleep I needed for the long drive awaiting me after work. At 7:00am Friday I was released from prison, I mean work, and it was time to ready for the trip. I knew I had just enough time to load the truck, pack the boat, cram some clothes into a bag, and hit the trail. If I hurried I could be on my way just in time to make it to Joe's house as he was returning home after a grueling day at work. Everything went just as expected. I couldn't heap all that I needed into the truck, I wasn't able to stuff all my required fishing gear into the boat, and I had no clean clothes to shove into a bag. How does this always happen I wondered. I must need a bigger truck, who couldn't use a larger boat, and I don't have time to do laundry when there are bass to be caught. I carefully weighed my options and decided not to bring all the camping equipment which would be useful on a trip like this. All in order to save room in the truck for more impartant things such as beer and guns; guns are an important part of any outing. I figured I might get by without all of my trout tackle, but you can never be too sure. It's inconceivable to believe that one can have too much fishing parphenalia, however I did need to make space in the boat for Joe's must-have equipment. With the truck and boat all set and ready to go it was time to pack some clothes. Is there anything clean? What's been worn the least? Does this go with that? How many days will I be gone? After answering all the questions posed, the answer was simple. Who cares, grab a handful of stuff, shove it into a grocery store shopping bag and jam it in the truck. I'm running late! Everythings ready to go an hour later than planned. Now I really need to hurry!
With everything carefully stuffed into place it was time to back the truck to the boat trailer. If I wasn't in a hurry this could be accomplished in one attempt. Six tries later the boat was secured to the truck and I was leaving the driveway. Finally! The truck needs gas! What next? I might as well fill up the boat while I'm gassing the truck. That means two more stops. One to get the oil required for the boat and another at the gas station. A person of average intelligence could probably accomplish both of these tasks in one stop, but I'm in a rush and I don't have time to stop and think. The truck's gas tank is full and so is the boat. My, I am hungry. I could have grabbed something to eat at the gas station if only I had relized five minutes ago that I was hungry. Well I am never going to make it to Joe's in time to head to Lacamas Lake today as it is, why didn't I just hurry. I suppose one more stop isn't going to hurt.
Stomach happy, full tanks of gas and I am finally enroute to Joe's. If only I can drive 90 mph the whole way there without getting stopped we might have a chance of reaching the lake before sundown. 140 miles and two hours later I arrived at Joe's house, but he wasn't home from work yet. It sure is a good thing I hurried.
Joe got home and it was time to shove his things in the truck and boat. More essential camping gear was removed for even more beer and we carefully weighed the decision of which fishing tackle to leave behind. With both of our beer, equipment, and clothing packed up we were ready to roll. I had been awake for too many hours and I don't think the pink elephant I passed on my way to Joe's really exsisted so maybe it would be best if Joe drove for a while. I figured no need to tell him to travel at excessive speeds we have been through this drill over and over and we had the same objectives in mind.
A couple of hours later and we had finally arrived at Lacamas Lake. First and foremost we must get the boat in the water and our lines wet. We can set up camp in the dark, come to think of it could we do it in the day light? We had never tried before. Joe and I have mastered the technique of launching a boat and no time would be lost here. The fishing hadn't been great when we returned to the launch and we needed to find a place to camp. After some discussion it was discovered that neither of us had seen a spot to camp anywhere near the lake, but we probably wouldn't have noticed being in such a hurry. We found a gas station, filled the truck and boat again and thought to ask the clerk if there was camping near the lake. We couldn't have been more than three miles from the lake and the clerk had no idea what we were talking about. How could this man live and work so close to the lake and have no clue that it even exsisted? Just then a customer helped out by correctly pronouncing the lakes name and suddenly the clerk knew exactly what we were inquiring about. Be very careful with your pronounciation around these parts. I would have thought that our pronounciation was close enough to get our point across but obviously I was mistaken. Once it was said and done and we realized there was no camping anywhere near, we had to come to a conclusion. We drove and drove and there was no campsite to be found. The sign at the boat launch had clearly stated "No Camping" and "No Overnight Parking" but surely certain rules and laws don't apply to us. These rule are intended for people who are well organized and sufficiently prepared. We were neither. Besides it would only be one night and tommorow we would find a place to camp if we could squeeze it into the busy fishing regiment.
We awoke the next morning in the back of my truck stiff, sore, and drousy from the lack of a decent nights rest at the boat launch. Nothing was going to keep us off the lake. We launched the boat with the speed and grace of which dreams are made. Again the fishing was not overly satisfying and our thoughts shifted to the sleep we were afforded the night before. Finding a place to camp was a must. We explored the area near the lake until we succomed to the fact that there was no camping in the vacinity.
Silver Lake is only a couple of hours away and we were positive that we would find camping there. We could still make it to Silver Lake in time to launch the boat, fish for several hours and then set up camp in the dark. On the journey to Silver Lake I had begun to feel a little under the weather and decided it was due to my sleeping pattern over the last couple of days. I knew I wasn't getting sick because I don't get sick. We arrived at Silver Lake and to our astonishment the lake was nearly gone! We asked around to find out that the damn had broken and no one had been able to launch a boat. Several had tried and you could see the result of their efforts. Trucks of all kinds lined the shore with boats and trailers still attached stuck in the slick mud and I thought it best to not add my truck to the graveyard. If we hurried we could make it to Duck Lake in time to get some fishing in before nightfall and we needed to set up camp.
70... 80... 90mph... We need to hurry! Duck lake is a ways from here, thier are bass to be caught and daylight won't last forever! My condition had continued to decline since leaving Lacamas Lake and I told Joe that I felt like about twenty-dollars instead of a million bucks.
Time to fill the gas tank, stomach and release some fluids. This all has to be acomplished in one stop or we'll never make it to the lake in time to wet our lines. I was pumping gas when Joe returned from inside the store with food to consume. "Did you know he is a liar!!!" hollars some crazy hippie chick while pointing at me. Joe looks confused at me as if I am suppose to know this girl with the funny colored hair and the outrageous make up. Like I'm supposed to know why she's calling me a liar. I returned his puzzled look with one of complete disarray. She continued on about how I was a liar, a thief of love and this and that but we couldn't wait around to hear the rest as amusing as it was, we were in a race against time.
We passed at least two places to camp right close by Duck Lake so with that settled we rushed onward to get the boat in the lake. We can set up camp in the dark. We launched the boat again with speed and grace and we were fishing in no time. Not much time though so we better make the most of it. It was our first time to this lake and we knew little to nothing about it. So we decided to do some exploring of the lake's shoreline so that when we woke tommorow we would know exactly were to head first. In the morning it will be Sunday and we will only be able to fish for a few hours so it is paramount we explore the lake now. We found mile apon mile of channels running everywhere. This lake with its endless abundance of shoreline seemed like a bass anglers paradise. We had been concentrating more on exploration than we did fishing so we hadn't had a lot of success but this didn't discourage us any. We had been fishing together too many times without fruition to be easily discouraged. The lake and all its fishable waters had us spell-bound when we made the startling discovery that sundown had arrived and it wouldn't be long before darkness filled the air.
Back to the boat launch we headed careful to observe all the "No Wake" signs posted all through the channels. It wasn't long before it was apperent that we hadn't paid close attention and had absolutely no clue where the boat launch was. This is when panic started to set in. I eased the throttle on my Pro Craft boat a little more forward and the boat responded with a little increased speed, cautious to still observe the "No Wake" signs. Daylight fading fast terror of being lost on the lake filling in as quickly. It was then I decided to slide the throttle forward just a touch more. The faster I can get the boat the quicker we can find the boat ramp before blackness makes it impossible to find.
Faster and faster darkness aproached and further and further I pushed the throttle. Once again I was in a race against time and I was afraid time would win this race. Joe brought to my attention that we were no longer exactly complying with the "No Wake" signs. In my mind I had updated my condition from feeling like twenty dollars to about five. In order to defeat father time and make a safe return to the boat ramp I looked over at Joe and exclaimed, "If you're going to break the law you might as well break it!" and I slammed the throttle forward bringing the boat up on full plane. Besides, like the "No camping" and "No Overnight Parking" these laws didn't apply to people like us anyway. Ripping through the narrow channels leaving only our wake behind we found one of the lake's main bodies. To our gratitude it was this main body that was home to the boat ramp that had my truck waiting. I pulled the boat to the shore so Joe could jump to dry land and back the trailer into the water. Seconds later I had the boat secured to the trailer, Joe and I had became so good at this that we amazed even ourselves. Joe began to pull me, the truck, the boat and the trailer out of the water when a crazed lunatic raced into the boat ramp and parked his truck imediatley in front of Joe disabling him from moving any further.
This very large man jumped out of his truck and went running to the drivers side window of my truck where Joe un-rolled the window. He began shouting all sorts of obscenities at Joe, complaining of a black boat that just went ripping by his house on the lake and I was sure Joe's life was about to come to an end. It was probably a little more than coincidence that the boat he had seen was black and my boat was black. Joe is my best friend and decided it wouldn't be fair to let this man kill him when I was the one responsible for the man's rage. So I told him that I was the one driving the boat and apologized and he seemed a little less likely to kill someone now. He continued to chew on our asses for a while. We tried explaining that we were lost and just wanted to get to the boat launch before dark but he kept chewing. We decided not to explain to him that those kinds of laws don't apply to us figuring that he wouldn't understand. After several exchanges of lecture from him and apologies from us he asked if we caught any bass. We were stunned! This large man who had me afraid for my own life as well as Joe's was now asking how the fishing went. We told him that we didn't have alot of success and he responded by telling us that we were leaving to early. I wanted to tell him that we were leaving and that we were in a hurry in case he hadn't noticed. I thought better of it and kept quiet.
Having been allowed to leave by the burly man it was time to go set up camp, and yes it was now dark. We hit a fast food resturant for dinner and I discovered with all the fear, anxiety, and excitement the last hour had brought my condition had been downgraded to about a buck and a half. I had escaped death from the insanely angered man but I was sure that I was dying now. I don't get sick so death must be the cause of the way I feel. I made funeral arrangements with Joe over dinner and let him know that when I died he should use my boat and continue this adventure we had started on. He agreed that he would if I died but in the mean time maybe we should just head back to his house because someone had stolen all of our camping gear and replaced it with beer.
He drove us to his house and when we arrived he offered four different cold medicine alternatives. I told him that I felt like 50 cents and maybe I should just take two of each, just to be sure. Moments later I could hardly stand from the effects of the medicine as well as the complete lack of any real rest. I slept like a baby for the first time in weeks and when I woke up I exclaimed "I FEEL LIKE A MILLION BUCKS!!! Lets go fishing!" Joe and I agreed that we wouldn't go far and headed for Long Lake, five minutes from Joe's house, we would be fishing in less than ten. We hadn't been on the lake for fifteen minutes when I landed a three and a half pound largemouth and we had to ask ouselves why we ever left for our journey in the first place.
Submitted by Dan