I reach the emptying parking lot and notice a Park Ranger pulled alongside a Honda Accord, the owner gesturing wildly and clearly distraught over something. Not one to outwardly poke my nose into other's troubles, I steer clear and use the pit toilet before preparing to gear up on the ruckus. As I'm about to leave I overhear the man mention that he dropped his keys into the heavily frequented pit toilet. Shit Luck. I offer to help and follow Jerry and his nephew Adrien (?) into the dark and odoriferous confines. The bright flashlight reveals a large set of keys complete with whistle, automotive fob and the typical 5-10 household keys on a ring suspended atop a mound of excrement and flaking wet tissue. "AAA is on the way and the ranger went back to find a coat hanger that we could stretch." Just then an idea pops in my head. I return with my collapsible fishing rod, large treble hook designed for catching salmon and a 2oz weight. Lowering the rig into the toilet, I don't have much luck retrieving the keys, only pushing them lower into the muck after a few repeated tries. I change my technique by locking the hook into the end of the road and lowering the entire pole into the cavity. This offers the necessary control to flip the key over and grab hold of the hole of a silver whistle reflecting from the abyss. I slowly hook the barbed point into the whistle and gently lift the pole and keys out of the sewage. The "yes...Yes...YES...YES!!!!" exuberantly chanted by Jerry grows louder an louder as the keys rise higher. He hesitantly grabs the fist sized ball of dripping keys, festooned with toilet tissue and feces, the largest most unexpected smile beaming across his face. The two of them are increadulous as to their luck in finding the last person in the parking lot equipped with a fishing pole and the necessary equipment to get the job done. Declining their reasonable offer of monetary compensation, I offer to meet for a cup of coffee sometime later in the week and provide my website address.
The sky has grown completely dark now with barely a violet tinge of cloud out to sea. The potholed farm road, destroyed by the moisture and heavy cattle trucks, sends jolts through my 2" of suspension as I bounce away from the coast. My 35w headlight struggles to illuminate the darkness where blind curves disappear into oblivion. I trust the road surface is still there and the curvature maintained. I have no clue where I'll sleep tonight but it will be with a clean conscience.
"The road is life" - Kerouac