Foreman and I woke up early on Saturday for a 7am trip out beyond the final BART station in Antioch, to a remote RV campground where, for one special week every year, the all-American/all-Australian desire to blow stuff up leads a collection of potentially dangerous but unquestionably dedicated hobbyists to gather and cruise around in their very own fleet of restored tanks and military jeeps.
Let me help you get there: Imagine an 8-year old boy riding shotgun in the passenger side of a flawless Vietnam-era jeep, holding an M-16 machine gun while his dad, in full camo gear, drives a few loops around the campground to show her off. They pass a camp worker haggling another camo enthusiast for driving a treaded vehicle at unsafe speeds for the grounds. The smell of bacon seems to fill the air everywhere. Wearing an orange Banana Republic shirt among so much green, beige and brown, I become concerned that I might easily be picked off by a sniper, and take cover at a surplus tent.
Getting the idea? Here are a few pictures:
But how could I let this go by without sharing some Favorite Quotes from the event?
- [Possible cast member from King of the Hill, wearing camo vest & hat, holding mug next to campfire]: "Yep, I thought I recognized those rubber seals you're carryin' right there... You must have an early March 1941 model jeep. I have a late February 1941 model myself. Yep, but you know there's a few differences between the two..."
[Older guy selling some parts]: "Well you know California law makes them put screws through the grenades and orange caps on all the guns now? Just takes all the fun right out of it."
- [Imagine the voice of Lawrence from Office Space coming out of an older, big guy kind of like R Lee Ermey (Mail Call, Full Metal Jacket) in full gear] "You like Dodges? Well I outfitted her with this here extra battery. This way when I'm out in the wilderness and shit, this shit will back me up. You know some of the guys here don't like it: They say it's not authentic to the vehicle. Bullshit. Fuck 'em. This is my truck, I built it how I wanted. But this engine here is fuckin' cherry, I'll tell you that."
At the end of the day, a little over-obsession is forgivable to people who love their hobby... and who doesn't think riding around in a WWII jeep is cool? Yo Joe!