I recently spent a couple of nights out in the wild, wonderful wilderness of West Virginia, and let me tell you, it made some distinct impressions. First off, when you get really out there in the mountains and your phone displays “no service” for probably the first time ever, you start to feel a little like Matt Damon in The Martian. Not the parts where he’s working to survive, like the first parts, where he’s still all “well this sucks.”
Once that subsides, and you figure out how to get your bearings, things calm down until you have to stop at the only gas station you’ve seen for an hour of driving. It’s immediately evident that you are less Matt Damon in The Martian, and more Luke Skywalker in the Cantina scene from A New Hope. The people…they stare…hard. All you can do is smile back, be friendly, and hope to not get captured while eyeing the nearest escape points.
Truth be told, everyone I talked to was totally cool once they got done sizing me up and decided I weren’t no revenue man comin’ fer the shine proceeds. The main take away from that particular stop was that people in rural West Virginia (as opposed to more developed areas, like say Morgantown) don’t believe in sugar free ANYTHING. They’ve got energy drinks you’ve never heard of, in sizes that would stop a horse’s heart…but no sugar free anything. It’s weird. Also, lip sores in full blossom were on display in these parts, and the cashier definitely licked her thumb to count out change. So that happened, and so did a frantic hand sanitizer bath once back to the vehicle.
Once the site was reached (I drove through a river!), and camp was made, I partook in a practice only previously seen on adventure/survival reality shows. I drank charcoal water…yum. You see, I was getting over a legit, “sick from both ends” bug, and although the worst had passed the day prior, lingering queasiness was impeding my spirits from rising. Observing this, White Stag Trading Company’s very own Mike (http://www.whitestagtrading.com/), and partner in crime-for-life Kevin debated the amount to prepare, but agreed that I should drink the slurry. So we burnt a stick, scraped off the charcoal bits, and down the hatch it went. It didn’t taste like anything, and had a sandy texture, it was actually unremarkable in every sense, but it got my gut right and left my teeth black…already I was assimilating to mountain ways.
Kevin had brought some Bisquick, and stated his intentions to make some biscuits using the recipe from the box on day two of the trip (add milk, cook). This task would require a spoon/spatula, and since none were available, he impressively fashioned one from some wood.
Once the giant dough ball was made, it was hit with a weeee bit of garlic salt, broken up into biscuity shaped balls, and placed in a Dutch oven (go ahead and laugh, I am). The Dutch oven (still giggling?) had been used for some bacon earlier in the day, so a wee bit of flavor was meant to be included in this now highly anticipated batch of biscuits.
These things came out amazing. Maybe it was the fact that I had only eaten MRE’s at this point in the trip, but the kind of burnt crunchy outside, and hot bready inside was amazing. It was like a ball of that bread restaurants sometimes bring out, it even tasted buttery despite their being no butter (and the garlic salt was ever so subtly in the background). I am now a born-again believer in bisquick, and feel ashamed for having neglected it for so long in favor of the tube kind of grocery store biscuits.
Join me next time, when I return to civilization and continue discussing things of no consequence.