Friday, May 30, 2008

not with a rusty bayonet


Three months ago (seriously? three months? wow, my life is such a waste of time) I went off adventuring with my grandpa Gordon and idiot Mikey. At the time we had agreed to seek another adventure on Memorial Day. I had completely forgotten about that until Gordon called Sunday night to see if we were still on. I invited Scotty along on this trip as he likes adventure, and it would be a good opportunity to fire some weapons.

I didn't want to go back to Eureka (been there, done that) so I planned to head southwest toward another abandoned minding town, Ophir.

On the way to Ophir you pass through historic Camp Floyd, where in 1858 one-third of the U.S. Army came to put down those pesky Mormons. The Army hung around for a couple of years but then had to leave to fight some other war back east.

Camp Floyd is always interesting. There's like, a field, and an old schoolhouse, and some other stuff, and - uh-oh.

Those look like Yankee tents. That can only mean one thing...

Oh shit! A ghost regiment! Doomed to march the fields of Camp Floyd for all eternity, this spectral brigade serves as a grim reminder of the damning essence of war.

Wait nevermind, they're just Civil War re-enactors. Not every day you stumble into one of these.

Don't worry, Wyatt Earp was there to keep the peace.

As usual, Gordon is on the outside looking in.

This poor guy wasn't invited to the festivities.

"But I've got all my Civil War stuff on!"

"Forget it Ricky, you can't come!"

Ladies and gentlemen, civilization.

Some guy put testicles on his truck. That's not a standard feature. Some guy had to have the idea, obtain the testicles, and then attach them to the truck. Plenty of time to have second thoughts, but no.

After we'd had out fill of Camp Floyd we crossed into Tooele County and found Ophir Canyon (just follow the signs), one of many abandoned mining towns that dot the West.

Perfect day to be up there. Pouring rain, light grey skies, mist rising from the coniferous peaks.
They had to give up mining in Ophir after one too many Balrog attacks. Either that or the hills ran out of riches.

The town is actually much more populated than I thought it would be. The 2000 census lists the population as 23, but there has to be more than that now. Including this guy, who lives in an old mine.

I have a feeling if you get too close he'll skin your hide.

Finally it was time for shootin'. Gordon had bought a couple guns of his own, which nobody knew he had. When I picked him up in the morning he hauled the guns out to the car and my grandmother asked "What is that you've got?" to which he snapped back "Nothin'!"

Gordon was irritated that Scott and I were unwilling to shoot in the National Forest, or on fenced-off land. We finally found a good spot to shoot and he took off a wanderin', just checking stuff out, as is his wont.

My grandmother likes to tell the story of the time in Germany where he wandered away and ended up on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall.

Here Mikey shoots a gun for the first time.

What a dope, trying to look all "gangsta."

Here I am getting ready to fire the .40, the one that made me go deaf last time.

I gotta give Mike credit for his camera work here.

In hindsight this might have been a bad idea. Good thing Scott is a crack shot.

This was the highlight. Scott recently got himself an M1 Garand, the standard issue rifle for U.S. infantrymen in World War II. This particular one dates to 1944. Awesome. You may know that I'm a wannabe WWII buff, and that the mini-series Band of Brothers is one of my favorite things ever. So it was real nifty to shoot this thing.

I'm wearing my helmet for added authenticity. It's a good thing I'm such a geek though because when the clip came flying out it bonked right off of my head with a nice "ping" sound. If I wasn't wearing the helmet I would have experienced very slight pain. I don't even want to think about it.

Overall, pretty great day.

When I dropped Scott off Gordon spent twenty minutes standing in his socks and washing mud off his shoes.

Here I am relating my exploits to this tiny human, as he looks at me with disbelief.


  1. So this is where illustrated adventures have been hiding. Well done, sir.

  2. That is a fine summation of the day's activities. It is also important to note that I'm not that fat! That hoody was bunching up!

  3. I think you and that tiny human look like you could be related.

  4. Ooohh, a Garand! Now I'm gonna have to put Scott on my "people to be envied" list.