Just when you think you’ve heard it all for weird campground escapades, here’s one from (you guessed it) California. This wacky event was reported in the media, so I’ll share it with the qualifier that the following example of a hot potato is definitely a bad idea!
On a Saturday morning in a recent October, employees at Joshua Tree National Park in California received reports of a disturbance in the group campsites at Indian Grove Campground. Rangers responded to the area, and during the ensuing investigation confiscated seven homemade cannons which were being used to shoot potatoes.
Yes, I’m talking about your basic spuds, originally made famous in places like Ireland and Idaho. This is definitely a bizarre twist on Longfellow’s famous line, “I shot an arrow into the air: It fell to earth I know not where.” I’d offer the suggestion that firing anything into the air without knowing exactly where it’s going to land is not a great idea, but this is especially true in an area such as a public park.
When all was said and done, in addition to the artillery pieces, rangers had confiscated parts for additional cannons and several five-pound bags of potatoes. This produce was presumably intended for launching but was thankfully spared that fate. The campsite where this activity was occurring was occupied by a Boy Scout troop, and their leader was issued a citation and warnings for a variety of offenses. This is not intended to be a put down of scouts or their leaders, most of whom do a great job. In this case, though, I had to wonder if they were trying to develop a new merit badge, which would be a combination of marksmanship and cooking.
I must have led a sheltered life, because prior to reading this report, I confess that I was unfamiliar with the concept of using potatoes as artillery rounds. However, a little research determined that this activity has something of a cult-like following. I also read about people who have lost fingers and sustained a variety of other serious injuries while engaged in potato cannoneering, and buildings as far as two blocks away from the cannon have been damaged when struck by potato rounds. Those doesn’t strike me as desirable outcomes, and having one of these spuds crash through the roof of your RV would absolutely constitute a Melancholy Situation.
We’re all familiar with the old clichés about raining cats and dogs, and with Chicken Little’s cry that “the sky is falling.” However, scattered potato showers is definitely a new–and unwelcome–twist if you happen to be on the receiving end of thudding spuds, and this situation certainly adds a new angle to the familiar question, “Would you like fries with that?”
How about it campers… do you have any examples of “not a good idea in the campground” escapades?
Life – it’s an adventure…. Find something to smile about today!
This story is adapted from the book Hey Ranger 2: More True Tales of Humor and Misadventure from the Great Outdoors © Jim Burnett and Taylor Trade Publishing, used by permission.