Local families survive annual ROC Arroyo campout

The Rancho Santa Fe Outdoors Club (ROC) held its annual family campout at the Arroyo this past Veterans Day weekend. Although good weather and the holiday encouraged families to get an earlier start, campers enjoyed the extra juicy Sloppy Joes prepared by Blob Willingham in the dark due to the tardiness of the Bartons with the woebegone kitchen trailer. The extent of the early disorder was enhanced by the late arrival of our fearful leader, Jeff Slosar, who had gotten waylaid in Boston by political protests. A wine and cheese assortment rivaling the Cap and Gown spread tided over the parents, but ravenous children attacked the Wagners’ large bags of cookies that somehow got distributed over the entire campsite. By morning, everyone had forgotten about these treats and the 10 pounds of left-over Sloppy Joe meat previously dumped in the bushes until the Browns, Reasons and Garners came with dogs in tow, who promptly went into mine-sweeping mode and located every last indigestion-causing morsel. Craig Garner, who went home for the evening to “work” while Mom, John John and Will camped, is still seeking a client to bill for the hours spent cleaning up the cookie explosion his dogs created. ROC did not agree to his hourly rate.

Official weekend activities included archery, BB guns, model rockets, driving lessons in an open-air Blazer, hot-chocolate stove building, frustration over not catching fish, and open-air Japanese movie-watching on the side of the resurrected trailer. Unofficial activities included knife-throwing (Rhett Reasons), fort-building, tree climbing (Mele Barton and Rocco Sansone), mud food modeling, tackle football, s’mores pyromania, bamboo-staff making (Kelly Slosar and the Barton girls), dog-drool wiping (Koki Reasons and Meredith Garner), sandal heat sensitivity testing, and experimentation with the five-second rule. Most pastimes were injury-free, but Henley Willingham learned the hard way that pellet guns kick and has the forehead welt to prove it, whereas his sister discovered that climbing a sheer rock face is easier on the way up. Francesca Sansone experienced the dangers of running through a wooded area without glasses. The Perrys found out that dogs aren’t the only ones with stomachs sensitive to camping food. Jack Kaffka flew solo over the weekend because his dad wanted a break from appearing in the Review. Cody Malter took a break from hockey to visit. And Ross and Harrison Jacobsen practiced not winning at everything for a change.

Other comparatively nice-smelling and well-groomed families stopped by briefly with provisions during well-timed cameos, including Dr. Kottler and “Count” Malter with his super silent Shih tzu and a valiant defense of the electoral college system. The Bentincks arrived to assist with rockets and proved conclusively that it is actually possible for children to tire of eating donuts. The Goldens came to enjoy the fire and feast on what was left of the Jacobsens’ incredible Chicago sausages and hot beef sandwiches.

ROC heads into the winter hoping to maintain its one-month, no-blood-shed record with the Soap Box Derby that is coming up soon in early December.