Thursday, December 16, 2010

A little side trip to the Camo Mecca...

Doing a little work at the home office in Camp Hill, PA, and having a great I decided while I was here, I needed to make a trip to the nearest Cabela's - if you're not familiar with the store, it's the outdoors mecca for hunters and fisherman - which I do poorly but still love to do. It became an amazing quest, so let's take the journey.

Wrapped up my last meeting at 3:00pm, got some directions and headed out - to discover a little snow blowing...beautiful, just before Christmas. Being the good southerner, I'm inclined to drive in the snow in my 4WD pickup, but this week, we're in the company "clown" car...tiny but reliable, thank goodness. Dusting off the snow, I headed out 11/15 to the hotel to change...and found out Yankees can't drive in the snow any better than us. Facing a several mile backup caused by construction and god knows what else (since there was a snow glaze on the road), I made a little side jog through the local country club. I'm also thankful for my GPS, although it's getting a little cranky.

Got out on the highway finally - along with all the trucks - headed north on 81. Beginning to wonder who names these little towns - Shartlesville, Upper Tulpehocken, Swatara, Lickdale, least we name ours in the south after easily pronounceable names. At least I'd have a hard time tell AAA where I was...and I won't forget the pitstop at the truck stop - for god's sake, don't touch anything...but I finally made it to PA 61, where my GPS got totally confused by a revised interchange. No worries - the Cabela's store was clearly visibly from outer space.

You have to understand, we rednecks love our toys...heck, we build these great shrines to them. Bass Pro Shops - love em...Gander Mountain, always have some unique stuff...but Cabelas...

Somebody had us rednecks in mind while I was taking the winding driveway round to the mount, where the long driveway lead to a huge bronze statue at the front door - a trapper and indian in a canoe, a massive beacon that clearly shouts, "you can spend lots of money and be us...". after luckily finding a spot in the 50,000 space, 20 acre parking lot, I entered the facility...along with a thousand other rednecks of all breeds. What made it really funny was that we're all on redneck Christmas hunting safaris...and Cabela's didn't let me down. Pausing briefly at the t-shirt gallery (funny how they all beckon rednecks as souvenirs to say, I blew a grand here), I move to the camo section.

You have to understand - camo isn't clothing, it's a way of life. And you could have several of them here, half the main floor was covered with camo for all walks of life - heavy coats, pants, shoes, hats, gloves - and in the ladies section, "delicates" that screamed "you can't see me!" Moving across the aisle to the fishing section (and marveling at the thousands of lures with names like "baby cowbell" and "hunker lunker"), found a few interesting pieces of underwater art - and made my investment.

Wrapping up the wet side, I cruised over to the hunter's section. You never have to worry about our second amendment rights, 'cause they've got us covered. My favorite? Not just the camo guns (yes - even snow camo), but the 50 caliber assault rifle ( a steal at $5k) was drawing a crowd of oohs and aahs...put that one under the tree, we're goin' squirrel huntin'...along with every known brand and style of rifle, pistol and shotgun. But you have to visit the collector's section - guns from old times, wars, treated with a reverence and white glove saved for rare books and the constitution. Some of these were works of art, with all the scrollwork on the barrel and chamber. Don't plan on getting one of these without mortgaging the doublewide...

Speaking of museums, walked down a narrow hall behind the gun hall... and beheld the Deer museum. We're talking buck tributes to the greats - all mounts with a story to tell on each one. There's a reason why we all love to hunt deer so much. There's so much inbreeding, you get some of the wildest arrays of racks you've ever seen (a Bullwinkle rack....really?) After wandering through the museum, I felt like I should have left a salt lick or deer corn as an offering...but leave the doe urine out in the other hall, we don't want these boys coming back to life...

And they even had a bargain barn - get your miscellaneous and useless stuff here, clothes, shows, etc. all piled up. But you had to move upstairs around the stuffed critter mountain in the middle of the store (all 4 stories of it) to get to the fun stuff - the redneck gift shop. That's where I found what prompted me to write this story...camouflage toilet seats. I ain't kiddin'...and not just one kind! Padded, wood grain, silent hinged (so you can sneak up on that terd before you drop in your hook and bait)...I was shaking quietly, as I didn't want anyone else to see me laughing. Along with other redneck gifts (ornaments of deers holding up the hunters they'd bagged, duck lamps, camo beanbags, couches, chairs, etc.) and even more serious redneck art - really, some sculptures and paintings had lots of zero's on the price...

Walking out through the restaurant and decided to decline the elk meat dinner, I decided I didn't have enough money to stay here much longer. I started the long trek across the half mile store to the checkout stand (no, I didn't buy the camo lighter or "who farted" camo hat). I bought my "souvenirs" and Christmas presents (even got one for the wife - she can't stand the stuff in these places, so I hope my choice isn't too misguided). I've learned a few things from my journey:

- Rednecks are keeping the economy running, as witnessed by the massive crowds;
- Yankees got rednecks, too;
- You really can get lost in a camo section and no one will find you;
- The story of the redneck defense league lives alive and well in the hunting section;
- There's some big daggum deer out there - and even if you take it illegally, it might wind up on a wall or display;
- My inner redneck is alive and well for me to travel 125 miles on a snowy evening to join all my redneck friends - but you won't catch me stocking up on $30 elk sausages and jerky anytime wouldn't fit in the luggage or make it through airport security...

Guess I'll have to drive up in my truck sometime and bring my clan..they'd have loved this place...BTW - here's the link for the store:

Have a merry Christmas - and don't forget to buy for the redneck you love! Next stop - the "Hap, Hap, Happiest place on Earth"!

David B.

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