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[at-l] Galloping Grommet

A few days ago I erected my tent out in the back yard to prepare for
completing the tests I've been doing on the Design Salt Silk Sleeping
Bag Liner. I was going to do these tests over Christmas but something
much more important came up. This week I have the time to complete the

The temps are getting down to 10*-20*F now, which is the temperature I
wanted to test the bag/liner combo at. The previous tests of a month
ago were at 28* and the bag/liner combo worked fine at that higher

The question is. . .how far down can the temperature go and still have
the bag/liner keep me warm enough to allow me to get to sleep at
night? Will the 20* bag/liner combo work at say 15*-20*F or would I
have to buy a warmer sleeping bag than my TNF Cat's Meow 20/35* bag?

After erecting the tent a few days ago, I'd forgotten all about the
tent being out in my back yard. At about 5:30am this morning the light
bulb in my head went on and I remembered that I'd put a tent out in
the back yard a few days ago. I walked over to look out the kitchen
window to see how the tent was doing.

Ahhhh...I couldn't see the tent at all. I squinted my eyes to see past
the deck railing and. . .still no tent in sight. Well it's got to be
out there, right? I mean, who'd steal a tent?

Since I was standing there at the kitchen window in my underwear I
couldn't just hop on out past the deck railing to get a closer look.
So I rounded up a coat from the front closet and walked out onto the
deck in my bare feet. Geez it was windy! I walked right out to the
deck railing, looked over and. . .no tent. None. But I spotted a 3' x
8' bare grass rectangle in the freshly fallen snow. Uh-oh. 

At this point I'm standing out in the cold, windy morning with a coat
over my underwear, acting like Columbus looking for the New World,
gazing far and wide looking for a long lost tent on the horizon. In
the dark. At 5:30 in the morning. 

Given the bare rectangle on the ground looked like a "fresh" rectangle
(whatever that is), I assumed it hadn't been long since the tent had

More gandering across the field. A distant street light making shadows
across everything in the distance. Looking...looking...wait. What's
that? Way, way off in the distance near the woods. Some kind of oblong
thing going end over end. Is that a tent? My tent? More squinting. Now
it's flat. Whoops, it's up and running again. Yes! It's a tent.
Probably mine. Ha! The Eureka Zephyr was galloping across the field
attempting an escape into the woods. 

I returned to the inside of the house to put warmer clothes on.
Believe me, if I thought I could have gotten the tent while still in
my underwear, I would have -- but the tent was too far away for me to
be running out into a field on a cold, windy winter morning dressed in
my underwear and a coat. In this neighborhood anyhow. Maybe back when
I was in college and streaking was popular. . .

After donning the requisite number of layers, polyester, regular
fleece, Polartec, Gortex, I was ready to go on the Grand Tent Safari.
You gotta watch 'em. They're wiley creatures. Nocturnal they say. 

Out to the neighborhood serengeti. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Tents don't
hear well so you don't have to worry about sneaking up on 'em. Walked
right up to the tent, picked it up in one hand and started walking
back to my house. By now it's 6:00am. Vrooommmm the wind picks up and
carries the tent out of my hand and airborne across the field again.
_____!! (Insert your own expletive here). Eureka Zephyr leading by a
nose around the back stretch followed closely by Harangued Hiker, the
5:2 oddsmaker favorite. 

Geez the neighbors are going to be up by now and see me out here
running headlong in the field chasing after a tent! "Lovey, come here!
By Jove I think that wacky neighbor of ours is taking his tent for a
walk out there..."

I actually found all the stakes in the ground by the 3' x 8' bare
rectangle. Wrestled the tent into the garage just like Jim Carey and
the alligator. I chained it up, gave it some tent food and a little
water and a short while later went to work. Came home this afternoon
to discover little tent droppings all over the garage floor and I
said, "No, No, NO! Bad Tent!" Showed it a rolled up newspaper. I don't
think I got one of the smarter tents. 

This evening I put the tent back out on a leash in the back yard and
will probably do the bag/liner tests tonight since it is already 19*F
and dropping. Yessir. Indiana: Wintertime Fun Capital of the World. 


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