An Open Letter to the members of RASS:I admit I haven't been as active as I once was, but I was on the Board at the time we decided to look into purchasing some property in caving country. There were months of back and forth, pros and cons, and finally, we bought the RASS Field Station.The reason I write is to make sure one of those "forths" and "cons" has been put to bed:I was thrilled to see the condition of the Field Station this weekend. WOW! RASS members and their guests have done an exceptional job of maintaining this property in pretty much pristine condition. I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who has helped maintain the buildings and systems, and to everyone who has been so careful with maintaining the roads and camping areas, and have left it in better than they found it condition after visiting. It would be hard to uphold the old argument that "it'll just get trashed and ruined" after seeing the property after nearly 20 years of continuous use by RASS, VAR, members and guests, and so many others! It's GREAT to be a member of an organization that cares so much about the things they have that make their caving and camping and socializing and everything else so much easier. You all deserve the highest praise for that accomplishment!Tray
One thing that my long absence from camping allowed me to realize was that there were four basic reasons why, as an Official Olde Farte (OOF), camping wasn't as attractive to me as it once was. The first of those reasons was that I am tired of sleeping on the ground. I don't care how expensive your "ground pad" is, if it is 7/16" of an inch thick, it will NOT be a comfortable thing to sleep on if you are a bony old man like me (even though I am pretty well padded). The second is that I have to, as an OOF, get up to pee more times than I care to count in the night. As a younger Olde Farte, I used a pee bottle - camp with me, never drink out of a square Nalgene bottle! Sleeping in a tent makes the use of a pee bottle almost mandatory in the winter - even the late fall months in the mountains. Number three..."Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three"...I am tired or dressing and undressing in a structure that is 36" high. Even my high dollar, top notch, best of the best mountaineering tent that I used in snowstorms with 50MPH winds and 12-15 inches of snow being dropped overnight, is only 44" high in the center. Getting dressed as an OOF in a freaking tent sucks in those conditions. And then there is the whole crawling out of a tent thing. Nothing like starting out the day officially damp...you get to crawl out through the dew/rain/snow. In any case, you are wet before you even start the day. Ugh. When I was young, OK, I could cope, deal with it, whatever. Now, not so much fun.
My LED headlamps are hanging from the hooks at the top. The sleeping bag is a down filled, zero degree bag. I sleep on the mattress, and use the bag as a blanket. COMFY!!! I like comfy. And warm.
This is the pavilion as we started dinner prep at 11AM.
Everything is so nicely laid out!
I chopped about 50 full cloves of garlic, 20 onions, lots of
celery, a bunch of yellow, green, red and orange peppers,
then about 10 pounds of smoked sausage.
Here's the veggies softening.
This turned into 10 gallons of spaghetti sauce! Here, the smoked
sausage and the 140 meatballs have been added to the mix.
Stirring is an art, so you bring out the flavors of the eye of newt
and tail of dragon!
This is the bread topping...they are slicing the tops off about
50 full cloves of garlic, which are then soaked in olive oil and
slow cooked for about 3 hours...then the garlic is squeezed to
get the meat into the dish, mixed with butter and some Italian
seasoning, and spread over Italian Pugliese bread.
Here, Bob, John and Rich pour out the last
of the 20 pounds of spaghetti into serving
pans, the garlic bread is in the foreground.
One of RASS' younger members ladling out
some of the ten gallons of spaghetti sauce.
There was none left after the line had gone through.
Remember that empty pavilion? Here it is at about 7:15PM as
80-85 people chow down on spaghetti, sauce, bread, salad (36
quarts worth) and...yeah...just wait...
Dessert was four "dump cakes"!
Top to bottom: Apple and Pineapple with
Coconut topping, Apple and Pineapple with
Nuts and Coconut topping, Apple and Pineapple
with Nut topping, and Apple and Pineapple with
no topping! These were heavenly!!!
Some of the crowd.
We have some professional musicians in the club, and
they entertained us around the fire.
My feet. The bottle of Evan Williams is just out of sight to