I spent a little time scouting as a kid. Thinking back, I was in first or second grade, and all the sudden I was doing this thing called Cub Scouts. Funny how the transitions that must have happened leading up to the varied events of our youth just sort of fade away as more years separate us from those younger days. For the life of me, no matter how hard I try to recall more details, that’s pretty much what I’ve got: suddenly I was in Cub Scouts. No memory of my parents asking my twin and me if we wanted to join Cub Scouts. Nada. Oh well. I do, however, have multiple disjointed memories of what happened while in Cub Scouts. One boy getting yanked out by his apparently-pretty-goddamn-sensitive parents because the pack was based out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (my family wasn’t Mormon, but I guess didn’t sweat them. It just wasn’t a real visible thing to us kids other than that some kids used “brother” instead of “mister.” I mean, what the hell? Mormons are super nice. And they have an American Jesus, for Christ’s sake. Pretty cool stuff). I also remember a gangly kid having a sobbing exchange with a den mother about his ability to do a summersault, him insisting that he couldn’t do it, and her taking the opposing view. Chris eventually did the summersault—to the condescending applause of a half dozen or so summersault masters. (One really valuable thing that came out of that kid’s devastatingly shameful moment is that my brother and I turned his sobbing refrain, “I can’t doo iiiiit,” into a still-enduring Beach twin sound bite.) I think that my mom, always very involved in stuff, even did some time as a den mother. Other than that I remember we did some Indian stuff when it was still okay to do it. Pinewood Derby. I got my full diamond of badges. Became a Webelo. You know, Cub Scout shit. Then I wasn’t a Cub Scout. Another transition that’s gone. Maybe I became too old. Eventually we moved to the foothills of Amador County. One of my new acquaintances’ dad headed up the Sutter Creek Boy Scout troupe (I guess they were don’t ask, don’t tell since no one ever asked me), and so I did Boy Scout shit for a year or two. I even went snow camping one total bullshit night. I learned that spending the night in a place cold enough to accumulate snow deep enough to dig a sleeping hole is as horrible as it sounds. But the majority of the time scouting was pretty fun. Even the snow camping trip was fun during the day. I’d say that being a scout is pretty good for a kid, despite the incredibly silly misstep the old Scouts Kings made of trying to stave off the obvious.
I’m especially fond of the Marin Council of the BSA. I don’t actually know much about them, but I do know they’ve got some land up in the hills above Fairfax, Ca, and on that land they’ve got beautifully crafted and maintained trails. And unlike most of the trails in Marin County, which are off limits to tire (save hippies that may still have a pair of sandals soled with old Michelins), these trails are made for biking. Hikers aren’t forbidden, but it’s pretty much regarded as a biker area. Awesome. It’s called Camp Tamarancho (“Tamo” is the cool mountain biker lingo), and it’s a really fun place to ride. And interestingly enough, it’s the location of the Guinness Record, World’s Most Unnecessary Sign:
I’ve never had a bad day on Tamo. And that record remains intact because it was actually a night ride when I tore the ligament in my right elbow (I won’t revisit the event because it’s been mentioned enough on this blog. If you give a fuck about the details, they’re easy to find in the recent archives). It wasn’t until I was about half way up the first climb that I realized that this was the first time I was riding Tamo since my little-wreck-with-a-big-bummer-result happened. Cool, I thought, something to write about in Mt. Shredward. I started to think of funny captions I would have on the photo I was going to take of the 30 yards of trail, full of dozens of baby heads, one of which stopped my bike cold while I kept going. But then I got there, and I found this:
What happened to the baby heads? Seems to be a theme going here. Duude, where are the baby fuckin’ heads, duuuuuUUDE? I guess Boy Scouts don’t dig baby heads on the trail, which I gotta say is pretty antithetical to your average mountain biker’s viewpoint on having infant cranium-sized rocks to run over. We love ’em. And I would have loved to run over them again, too.
Sigh. So anti-climatic.
But you know what? (Of course you don’t. So I’m gonna tell you.) I like anti-climatic when it’s on shit like this. Really, whoopeelahdifreakinwhogivesafuck? As I said, it took me a couple miles into the ride to realize that it had any significance. And not long after that, I realized I was wrong. The injury happened a long ass time ago. I rode Tamo with a pain-free elbow, the recovery well in my rearview. It was hardly a nothing injury, but it’s not like it was one of those exploding baby heads and it blew off my legs and my return to “the spot” required machinery or prosthetics. It was a great ride at Tamo, as usual, but it was just another ride. I’m happy to say, I have them all the time. Just another thing that will fade from my memory.