Glendo State Park

Glendo State Park

Which Way Is Left In Canada ?

by Chuck RitenouR

Chapter Five:

Glendo State Park

Our caravan left Casper, Wyoming on Sunday August 1, 1982. With our next gig being in Lewellen at Vic's Supper Club, we decided to camp at Glendo State Park. Glendo State Park is located fairly close to the borders of Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota. I had picked up a brochure when we stopped at Fort Laramie on our way to Casper. Primitive camping was free. Though we had money in our pockets, we opted to save as much as possible. At some point, I was going to have to fly to Virginia and back. The brochure said, "Glendo is a large reservoir and is one of southern Wyoming’s most popular boating parks. It offers visitors water-skiing, fishing and other water- based activities. Fishing is so good that Glendo has several fish records. Day-use and overnight facilities feature improved campsites, comfort stations, tables and grills. A commercial concession at the reservoir provides visitors with complete marina services, motel units and fishing equipment." As a avid fisherman, I was hooked. I had two rods and fishing tackle in my van. I never went anywhere with out my fishing gear. It was only two hours away from Casper. Based on Penny's interpretation of the brochure and the price, Chuck announced we would be camping at Glendo.

Tom, our new guitarist rode with Chuck and Penny. By the time we arrived at Glendo, he and Chuck were at each other's throats. Chuck had the kind of paranoid personality that could make a preacher curse during a sermon. By the time we found Reno Cove camp area, Tom was ready to quit the band he had just travelled fouteen hours on a bus to join. I tried to smooth things out, but I must admit I was loosing patience with Chuck. Chuck just couldn't help being Chuck and Penny was always at his elbow explaining things to him. At times the Chuck and Penny show was hilarious other times it was so very sad.

We found a spot on top of a little hill that had a picnic table and was only about 50 yards from a fresh water supply. The well had a pipe sticking up out of the ground with a lever and a nozzle. The sign wired to it said " Fresh Drinking Water". Once camp was set, Bean and I went in search of food and fishing bait. Tom went with us and fumed and fussed about Chuck and Penny. We found a little store by one of the marinas and bought a bag of potatoes, three packs of hot dogs and buns and a container of night crawlers. While we were gone Chuck and Penny had gathered wood and set up the camp stove. There was a huge fire pit a few feet from the picnic table. That evening, we ate a hearty supper of hot dogs cooked over an open fire and boiled potatoes. It may have been the only meal we ate that day, but it was a good one. We sat around the camp fire playing acoustic guitars and singing. Tom had a great voice and we harmonized well together. Chuck broke out some of his home grown, hydroponic super smoke and the tension between Chuck and Tom eased with each pass of the peace pipe. That night as I was falling asleep, I thought this might work out afterall.The evening temperature dropped and it was pretty cold sleeping in the van. I had lent my sleeping bag to Tom who slept on the ground by the fire. Bean and I slept in our seats and shared an old afgan that she had knitted a few years ago.

I got up with the sun and walked the shore line of the lake looking for good spots to fish. I fished until about ten o'clock and then gave it up. I didn't get one nibble. I went back and spread my sleeping bag out on the ground several feet from the fire pit and picnic table. I was physically and mentally worn out and needed to take a pocita siesta. Tom borrowed a rod and a few lures and headed for the lake.The sun felt very good and I soon fell asleep.

I slowly became conscious of laughter. Bean was sitting at the picnic table and laughing to herself. I opened one eye and moved my head towards her. I thought I saw movement all around me. I sat up and looked all around. There was nothing. Bean was staring at a book. I just assumed she was amused at something she read. I was asleep again in just a few minutes. Again, I heard laughter and wondered what the hell was so amusing. I opened my eyes and again thought I saw movement all around me. When I sat up and looked, there was nothing. This time Bean was looking right at me and laughing so hard tears were rolling down her cheeks. "Why the hell are you laughing?" I asked. "Can't you see, I'm exhausted and want to get a nap?" She said, "I'm sorry. I just couldn't help it." I rolled over on my side and this time only lowered my eye lids so that it looked as if I was sleeping. I even faked a few snores. I watched through my eye lashes as Bean got up and put crumbled crackers all around my sleeping bag then tip toed back to the picnic table. I remained still very, very still. In a few minutes I saw several small furry animals, possibly prairie dogs creep up to the edge of the sleeping bag and nibble on the crackers. At the picnic table, Bean was loosing it. There must have been a dozen of those things all around me. I jumped up scaring them and Bean. I don't think I've every heard Bean laugh so hard. I tried to be indignant, but ended up laughing too.

Tom returned with no fish and minus three lures. We fixed some hot dogs and fried potatoes and had our daily meal. Afterwards, Bean and I took the rods and tried to catch a fish. She and I had no better luck than Tom. We came back fishless. I put the rods and what was left of the lures away in the van. We threw the remaining night crawlers in the lake. So much for fishing.

When the sun went down, Bean and I decided to wash up at the water pump. We put our soap, shampoo, a wash cloth, two towels in a two gallon bucket. With flashlight in hand, we walked up to the water pump. Bean held the flashlight for me while I undressed, dampened the wash cloth and lathered up. I stuck my head under the nozzle and then lathered up my hair. I filled the bucked and poured it over my head. The water was almost warm. It had been in the pipe for some time and heated by the sun. The second bucket was freezing cold. I dried off and put my jeans on. I held the light for Bean. She lathered up her body. She decided to wash her hair in the morning. I filled the bucket for her and turned off the light. There were other camp sites close enough that should the campers look, they could have seen her standing there naked and covered in soap. I told Bean it would be easier for me to pour the water on her as I could see the soap on her back. I stepped back about three feet and told her to turn around. I'd get her backside first, then a second bucket for the front. I threw the bucket of ice water on her and she let out a blood curdling scream. Suddenly, she was drenched in light from camp sites in all directions. I filled the second bucket and quickly rinsed her front. She rapped herself in the towel and ran to the van. We spent most of the night shivering by the camp fire, but we were clean.

We left Glendo State Park the afternoon of August 3, 1982. Three and a half hours away, Vic's Supper Club and Keever Courts were waiting for us. My mouth watered as I thought about one of Vic's thumb size steaks. Vic had decided add a day to our gig. We were now playing Wednesday through Saturday night. I was looking forward to having a drink with Early Bird. It seemed to me as if we were going home. Lewellen, Nebraska became our home away from home and the friends we had made there were like family.

furry critter


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