Apple River: 07/07/07

I figure this happened to me because I was bored.  This may have happened to me because I wished something like this would of happened.  This story is true, to what I remember.  I have made friends since this story and I have lost some friends that I made during this story.  One of these friends was a girl and I hardly talk to her anymore, the last time I talked to her was probably 2 years ago, or more.  This story has nothing to do with her, but she is in it.  This story is about close friends of mine, and some friends that were close, going to a campground and getting shit-faced.

Most cannot stomach me, others can.  Are the friends that tell you what to do there when you see it through?  I have no idea, but I have to write this.  Mine have seen me through.  I got inebriated, Cheers!!!

In 2007 I was working on a steamboat, I was a deckhand.  I have written on this before and I will not go much more into in this writing because that has been cited before and it is only a small part of this story.  It was awesome, by the way, best job ever.

It was summer 2007, and I was with Blex, he mentioned that he and some of his college buddies were going to be going on a camping trip to Apple River.  I did not know of this Apple River, but he explained that it was going to be insane and I should take the time off and come up with him.  So I took the time off.  At the time, I had only requested once to be off and this was the time.  I had low cash and I needed to work, yet I took off for this trip.  It was going to be great, Blex and I with a bunch of girls, booze, and friends.  We just needed to get some booze considering we were underage.  It wasn’t an easy task but it happened and smoothly.

I worked late that night, so I packed light and went to bed.  It was 12 a.m. and I would need to get some sleep before the trip. 

I worked on the smaller boat to the right, The Julia Belle Swain.

It was extremely hot out on the day of the trip.  I believe it was too hot for me to touch the roof of my car and it was only 11 am.  I had a backpack of clothes, mostly t-shirts, underwear, and some swimming trunks.  I was packed real well for this little vacation.  I could hardly breathe because the weather was so thick.  I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time and I was excited to get out.  I worked late and I needed to get away for a bit.  This trip was great for timing and weather; the weekend was going to be beautiful with little chance of rain.  This is the perfect weather to drink in.

The drive to Winona was a gift of music and dry wind against my skin, windows down, 5 mph over the speed limit and cruising.  I smile while taking in the sun, the Mississippi river, which resides on the right hand side of the drive, while driving from La Crescent to Winona, is glowing with life.

The water is a dark blue.  The trees have dark green foliage.

I think of what Blex would be doing when I got there.  I imagine he will be working off some sort of hangover and tell me a story of the extremes from the night before.  I assume I am right; however, Blex is not a morning person so I can never tell.  We pack up.

I grab my bag from my car and put it into his.  We have to drive across a bridge to Wisconsin to pick up cheap-beer.  We chose Keystone, at $3.25 a pack you really can’t go wrong, plus you are always smooth, always.  Ya da, ya da, ya da.  I love Wisconsin for its cheap alcohol in large amounts.  We waited in the car for Scott to return with our prize, stacked it into coolers, and drove back to drop him off.  The ride back was exciting, I wanted to leave right then, as if twenty minutes would make much difference in our arrival.

The drive was bright.  Good conversation made time fly.  The many twists and turns on Wisconsin back-roads; the countryside of the Midwest screams with beauty and makes you want to explore.  We smoked some Camel filters and drive around as the sun beams bounced off the red paint of the car.

Love and heartbreak seem to go together.

We arrive to a dusty gravel road and a sign hung above with the names of the campground.  It had some stupid name that means way more than the actual meaning.  It was pretentious and funny as well.  Something simple, and the thought of it made you laugh as it rolled off your tongue.  Sadly, the name would be the most important thing that I would forget to even remember.  I would need this name later.  I lost it.

We came in with a cooler filled with at least 60 beers in the trunk and two minors in the front seat, us.  We were immediately screwed.  If we lost our beer we would be out some money and have nothing to drink.  No one with a real of-age I.D., and we would be searched in a few moments.  Blex and I prayed that they would skip us, or al least if we got caught with them we could explain we forgot our identification, but we wouldn’t need to do that and it probably wouldn’t work.

I thought fast and realized I would put a trick on both people working, the man searching and the woman behind the counter.  If they only would have had a way to communicate, like a walkie-talkie, this played out sort of like the scene in Dumb and Dumber when Harry and Lloyd put their tab on Seabass’s and leave the place.

I walked up to the wristband window about 30 feet from the car.  The lady asked if we had our identification checked, I said we did and she put a wristband on my arm that symbolized that I was of age.  Boom!  No one was going to stop us.  I smiled and walked back to the car explaining how I was a genius, and Blex and I were searched and rode on.  The guy looked at my wrist, and it was see you later buddy.

Upon arrival we came to a campground people getting completely shit-faced.  I couldn’t believe it.  I thought this was heaven.  I never knew heaven would be this awesome.  We parked the car in the middle of 4 or 5 campsites and immediately started drinking.

We walked to the river, which to my surprise was only about 3 feet deep in the deepest spots located near out campsite, this was good because no one would be able to drown if they passed out in the water.  We walked to an island in the middle where there were many people drinking with a beer bong.  This is where the story gets fuzzy.

I remember bringing sunglasses, a folding chair, my swimming trunks, no sunscreen, and at least a six-pack of beer.  I came out of the river with wasted, at 3 in the afternoon, and carrying nothing.  After beer bonging 3 16 oz beers in a row and standing on an island in the sun in mid-July for at least two hours it is easy to imagine why I lost all of my things.  I walked along the side of the river and fell face first into the water at least 3 times before I actually got back to the campsite.  There were five-foot drops in some spots and I wasn’t a diving professional.  I really didn’t care about my belongings at this point.  I was more concerned about my stomach.

One thing blex and I completely forgot to bring was food.  We literally brought zero sustenance for the weekend other than beer.  Whatever, I used my giant brain and took into account all of the unattended grills that were cooking food, and picked one to borrow some hamburgers from.  I did not have utensils so I had to use my hands.  I did not have buns so I found some lying around and started compiling my meal.  I retrieved a half raw hamburger, in pieces, and a hot dog bun, clearly not made for a hamburger.  Best food I have ever had in my life.  This was around 5 in the afternoon, after dinner is where I draw a blank.

I came to making out with a blond girl on the hood of Blex’s car.  It would have been a really good Christmas card or a sexy photo for a drunk and in love calendar but everyone watching was either laughing or hollering profanities.  Blex was not impressed.  This went on for about an hour before I got hungry again and went back to where I made my first killing.  I talked to a few people who said the girl I was “talking” to earlier was a very nice girl and was not a slut.  Another person told me otherwise.  I thought about eating more.

That night everyone got extremely drunk.  I found that girl later in the night, after talking shit by the campfire, and things were going all right.  I found myself in between two cars with this girl, we were actually right next to Blex’s car.  I had a condom; however, after I put it on I realized condoms suck and there was most likely sand in it, so I decided to take it off.  After coitus we lay between the cars laughing all night at my jokes, which were awesome, until Blex started telling us to shut up and go to sleep.  We continued to laugh as people came by and made jokes about how classy we were lying naked between two cars.  I thought this was brilliant.  I am the sleaziest person at the campsite and this girl was my co-pilot, she loved my humor.

By the time the sun came up the next day we were still laughing and I decided to call Dan.  Blex was still not sleeping very well because we were still talking and laughing right next to his car.  That is what you get for sleeping in the driver seat of your car while people are having a one-night-improv-stand next to it.  Dan answered his phone at 5 a.m., I told him what happened and the girl I was with started yelling that I was her baby’s daddy in the background.  I handed her the phone and she told Dan this, Dan could not believe it.  At 6 a.m. I got up and grabbed a beer.

The campsite, at this time in the morning, looked like what a campsite might look like if someone dropped a grenade in the middle of the party accidently from drunkenness.  Chairs were ripped to shreds, people were passed out all over, shirts, shorts and pants everywhere; the ground was covered in beer, broken glass, knives, blood, packaging, used/unused condoms, blankets, and towels.  Most of the tents were deflated.  One tent was covered in feces on the inside and out.  That was the blond girl’s tent, her friend and her friend’s boyfriend got into a fight and the boyfriend decided he would get the girlfriend back my taking a duce in and out of the tent.  Thank god she didn’t sleep in there.  I thought this was funny but I thought they should move their tent.

I scoured the site for anything of value, I found a really nice pocketknife and a bowl.  I sat in a chair that made it through the night and thought about food.  I wanted to eat so bad because we had a big day ahead of us.  My beer was finished ten minutes later.

Blex woke up unimpressed.  Everyone was reveling at what happened the night before particularly what happened between the cars, but gentlemen never tell.  You know me.

We all started drinking and trying to figure out where to buy tubes.  We located a spot and realized the malign thing about these trips is the price one pays for tubes.  I paid a huge sum of money for a tube I would later lose, bleed all over, and almost die on.  I used the tube for an hour, that I remember, and then it was gone forever.  I somehow did not have to pay a security deposit, so not such a big loss.

The tubing began fairly well.  I decided to nominate myself as the cooler attendant and tied the cooler, with everyone’s booze and beer in it, to my tube.  Blex insisted that I change my mind and let someone else handle the beverages.  I disagreed and took it upon myself to care for the cooler.  I failed at this. 

People were passing around a few bottles of rum, vodka, and beer.  I indulged.  After being on the river for a half an hour, I suddenly remembered that I forgot to put sunscreen on my legs and that my legs were the largest part of my body out of the water, and they were basking in the sun.  This was not good.  At this time I also remembered I was drunk.  We were going fine until we stopped at a beach.

Some girls had waived us over to the edge and persuaded all of us to join them.  We drank and conversed while I lost track of time and my friends left.  I had the cooler and I was talking to a few girls when this huge guy and his friends came up.  I was asked to leave.  I said that my friends and I would decide when that was, and I was punched in the face.  Keep in mind I was punched in the face after I said my friends and I were going to kick their asses.  My friends were not there.  The cooler in my possession was grabbed from my possession and stomped into pieces before my eyes.  Styrofoam, which the cooler was made of, was everywhere, this sad confetti sealed my fate.

I was bleeding out of my mouth and I didn’t know here anyone was.  I immediately jumped for the first tube I saw and started swimming for my life with these guys chasing me.  I swam to the middle of the river and prayed for a quick death.  I grabbed the tube of some people I didn’t know and I told them what happened.  This lady helped me stay on the tube.

When I woke up I was sitting on a tube on a rock, near a trail to some steps.  I was not alone, but I did not know where I was or who was around me.  It had been some hours since I remember being awake, the sun was down farther than I expected it would be and I was in pain.  At this time, whatever time it was, I was wearing green beads, which were melted to my skin and some exotic swimming trunks, that is all.  I had nothing.  I got out of my tube, assessed the damage and started walking. I don’t remember what happened here, but I ended up on a bus.

I woke up on a bus with this girl who was telling me I should come to her tent and take a nap because we were at the same campsite.  Remember the campsite name?  No, I didn’t either.  I had no idea where I was going and I was going there fast.  I followed this girl.  We walked on gravel, barefoot, the whole time, I did not care I just wanted to get back.  When we got to her site I realized her site was nowhere near where my friend’s site was.  I would be stranded in some small campground-town in Wisconsin for the rest of my life.  I went to the girl’s tent got inside and passed out.

When I woke up my legs were outside of the tent and my body was inside of the tent.  My legs had third degree burns on them from the sun outside of the tent, which made it hard to move, and I had to walk somewhere fast because there was a guy outside of the tent who was probably this girl’s boyfriend.  I got up and asked them where I was and they told me some place I didn’t know.  I just walked down the hill towards what looked to be buses.

The grass was cut probably two or three days before, leaving it time to dry and harden, making it feel like razors beneath my already bloodied feet.  The gravel did not feel much better and apparently they only make roads with gravel in this town, with a side of razor grass to pamper your sensitive feet.

When I got to the log I walked in shirtless, smelling of booze, with green beads melted to me, lobster legs below my waist.  The lady at the desk winced when she saw me, she said I looked sun-burnt I didn’t give a shit I just needed a bus to get back to my campsite.  She told me the buses were leaving every 20 minutes and the next one would leave in 5.  So I ran on gravel to the bus stop about a quarter of a mile away.  I got there just in time to make the bus.  I rode for a few minutes and got off at another campsite, because this was apparently the last stop of the day I had to get off.  I did not recognize this campsite.

At first I wanted to start crying, but I walked to the counter at the next log and asked where I was and how to get back to my campsite.  The man behind the counter said the buses were shut down for the night.  They stop running at five I guess.  He pointed at the clock, twenty after 5-fuck it.  He didn’t recognize my campsite because my description was of where my campsite was horrible, and I didn’t know the name.  I was in no condition to describe things.  So I walked to where I got dropped off by the bus and started trying to cry.  Unfortunately I could not cry because I had no tears in my eyes because I was severely dehydrated.

Imagine some poor drunk person sitting on the ground, green beads melted to my chest, wearing swimming trunks and no shoes, while sporting dark-red-lobster colored legs, while crying.  I ripped the beads off and remembered I had balls.  I got up and started, like a crazy person, waving my arms at security guards, police officers, and anyone that was dumb enough to drive by where I stood.  They all had the same response, “Sorry, buddy, its too late to get a ride you’ll have to stay here”.  I thought screw this and stood at the entrance to the park with my thumb up.  No cop arrested me for underage drinking and no security guard stopped me from acting like an idiot, I was in shock, any other time I would have be cuffed and or restrained.  I stood at the gate wondering how this all happened.  I thought if anyone helped me at this time it would be a miracle.  I felt as though I did not exist.

I kept standing with my thumb out and finally someone, a couple in a Jetta, picked me up.  I told them my story and they said they knew of the site I described, or the only other site besides the other two, that I had described.  They were so nice, and they were laughing when I told them what happened.  They dropped me off and told me good luck.  When I got out I ran into the blond girl from earlier, she was getting in line to get on a bus, she ran up and kissed me and told me she had to go.  She left her number with Blex, and apparently everyone thought I was either dead or I took the alcohol for myself and drank it all, so she told him to give me her number if I ever got back.  I had no cooler, no alcohol, no witnesses, and no hope.

I walked towards the campsite and everyone in my path was astonished with my existence.  I actually got to see the facial expressions people might make if they had just seen a dead person.  The look was priceless.  I gave high-fives and laughed.

I was getting a smirk on my face when I saw Blex.  I was hoping for a hug, but Blex got this hateful look on his face and threw a Nalgene bottle of gin at me.  I asked why he did that and he explained to me later that his friends were mad at him cause they thought I took all their alcohol.  No harm no foul, I caught the gin and took a pull.  My legs were pretty bad by that time I had to sit down and take it all in.

I told everyone my story most did not believe me.  I took it easy that night and the next day I got pantsed by this kid named Morris before I left.  I stood there with my pants down and thought it had been an epic weekend.  We drove home and parted ways, but we both agreed we had a great time.

The next week back I worked a lot, I talked to the blond girl, and I could hardly walk because of my legs.  I couldn’t wear shoes for a couple days and I didn’t wear pants for the rest of the month unless I absolutely had to.

If you ever get the opportunity to venture to Apple River you may want to think twice about remembering the name of the campsite you stay at, and avoid the locals at all cost they don’t get out much.

The best lie is ultimately the truth.

I just stole their alcohol and sat on a beach, the story above is what I told them.


About Terry Scott Niebeling

Hello, My name is Terry Scott, a human being with flaws. twitter: @sirterryscott Buy my ebooks:
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