The nicest bathroom in the world
Never underestimate the power of electric heating.
We landed on the shores of the Big Bend dam. The dam gets its name from its shape ― it has a huge S-shaped bend in it. We had landed on the west side of the dam where our maps showed a short portage along a paved road to the other side. The only difficult part would be climbing up the 100-foot bank to the road. It was late in the day around 4 p.m., but Bryan and I decided to go for it so that we wouldn’t have to do the portage in the morning.
As far as portages go, it was pretty easy but it still took us a couple of hours to reach the small public park and boat launch on the other side.
This year, most public parks were shut down for the winter with the electricity turned off and bathrooms locked. For some reason though, this park wasn’t closed at all and, to our amazement, the bathroom door was open! At this point of the trip, the cold had set in. We were always in our monkey suits and most nights, the temperature reached below zero.
Needless to say, we were always cold. When we walked in to this very average three-stall, two-sink bathroom, we were hit by the electric heating and fell in love with the place. We quickly set up camp (but ate dinner outside agreeing that eating in a bathroom would be a little unsanitary). Then we grabbed all of our electronics and headed in the bathroom. Not only was the bathroom heated, but it also had outlets so we could charge our electronics (cameras, GPS, cell phone, rechargeable batteries).
It also had hot water and for those of you that have been on a long camping trip in the fall, you know how much you miss hot water. The bathroom also had those hot air hand dryers, which we used to dry off our wet gear.
We spent the better part of the night in that bathroom drinking beer and watching the tapes that we hadn’t sent back yet on the LCD screen of our camera. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it was a really fun night for us. Later that night, we grabbed our stuff and headed off to sleep in our cold tent. The next morning we were feeling refreshed and set off early into the mist and soon paddled through an old forest that had been flooded many years ago. It was really something to see.
I will always look back on that bathroom as the nicest bathroom in the world.
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