Fun in the Woods

Yesterday, I went with my Hubby and Father-in-Law to an archery shoot.  It’s the annual Cloverdale Archery Traditional Nationals in Cloverdale, Indiana.  It’s about a three hour drive, give or take, from Ye Olde Timey Towne.  I was planning on not going throughout the week and then changed my mind at the last second.  No, the long To-Do list for that day didn’t have anything to do with it.  I swear.. I was just wanting to get outdoors.  Yeah, that’s it.

Let me just start off by saying that this was a great trip.  We all had fun, we met interesting people, and we made good memories.  As with any road trip, it helps to come prepared.  And prepared we were!  I had my XHTML/CSS book that I’m studying (knocked of about five chapters), a crossword puzzle book, that all-important storage of water, and an extra change of clothes. It was pretty muddy a couple years back and I didn’t want to slip in the mud and spend the rest of the day walking around looking like Swamp Thing.

We all chewed the fat on the way to the shoot, something we don’t get to do often.  Even though the In-Laws live about 15 minutes away, it’s hard to find the time and gas to get out there as much as we would like.  It was nice to spend some quality time with everyone. Awwww.. doesn’t that just make you all warm and fuzzy?

When we finally arrived, we were all feeling a little weary from the car ride.  The guys’ shoulders were still sore from practicing their shooting this past week.  I didn’t have any such excuse: I can’t shoot bow right now because of bad wrists. I don’t always shoot bow, but when I do, I can shoot left or right-handed.  (Sorry, had to jump on the “Most Interesting Man in the World” meme wagon)

At any rate, the fellas got their bows out of the back and got them all strung up.  Quivers full of arrows? Check. Bottles full of water? Check.  Feeling lucky about those targets.. Uhmm.

There are 50 targets in total.  With 47 of the targets being worth 5 points if you hit it in the right spot, and 3 of the targets being worth 9 to 11 points if you hit them in the right spot.  That “right spot” is the kill zone.  There’s a small and large kill zone, outlined on each dummy of an animal.  They had all kinds of animal dummies: the traditional deer, howling coyotes, boar, turkeys, and white big horn sheep.  The ones that stuck out in my mind were the beavers, bears, and moose.  So there was a nice variety to shoot at, and they were set up pretty well.  The 9 and/or 11 pointers were usually the harder to see (such as a brown coyote standing in mud), smaller, or further away.  Of course there was a nice variety in the people as well. Not that we got to shoot at them or anything.

The first person we got a chance to chit chat with was a nice fella from Louisville, Kentucky.  He was all by his lonesome and trailing behind us.  In all honesty, he was just following us, waiting his turn at the targets.  For there not being a lot of cars in the parking area, there were an awful lot of people out shooting.  We were “in line” the majority of the time, stuck between groups of people waiting their turn to shoot.  Hubby said it was because the targets seemed closer together this year.  Many people were worried about accidentally shooting someone else while aiming at the target: you sometimes had people walking in the background who were simply following the trail set out to the next target.

At any rate, we were able to chit chat with Louie for a while, which made the time go by faster.  The boys weren’t doing too great, but not too bad either.  I was the official score keeper (they give you score cards when you pay to enter) and I was getting pretty good at writing “0”.  Hubby got an 86 out of a possible 266 and FIL got 75.  Hubby scored an “11” on a harder shot.  They were funny with their comments about their own score, “I shoulda practiced twice this week.” Or, “I have a new string on my bow.. that’s it.” Whenver they got a shot in, I would ask, “Want me to take a picture of it?”  It was all in good fun and we met more people along the way.

After the first stop to get water and your cards hole-punched for the next trail, our line of groups got mixed up.  Louie ended up further behind us as he searched for a real partner (He kept telling us, “I’m shooting with my buddies today, but they couldn’t make it.  One is real good, one is real bad.”)  We ended up leading a couple from Minnesota. Their accents gave them away (FIL and Hubby guessed Canada, I guessed Wisconsin).  They had a jovial sense of humor without any vulgarities attached.  It was refreshing.  At one point, FIL got his arrow stuck in a fresh log behind the targets (this happened frequently for both guys).  He was bent over the target to get better access to the arrow in the log.  The lady yelled down from the hill above, “There’s a good target for ya!”  Their humor made the wait to the next target a little more bearable.  The thing I liked most was when they told us that they were traveling from Minnesota to Connecticut to visit her mother.  FIL asked them why they came all this way instead of staying North, on the Interstate.  The lady bursted out, “I hate Chicago!”  We all laughed because they had taken a considerable detour just to avoid Chicago and pick up an archery shoot along the way.

Speaking of bugs, there weren’t many out.  Not as many as I had expected, at any rate.  We opted not to put any bug spray on, for which I was thankful.  That stuff smells nasty and I always end up touching some part of my body and then inadvertently getting it in my mouth.  Although there were some mosquitoes and bees, they were small in number.  The wildlife all together was scarce; people were making too much noise for them to come anywhere near that area.  Still, we saw some interesting plants and, at one point, what looked to be a sculpture made out of logs.  Pretty cool.

At the last loop of targets, we met up with another interesting person.  He had come from about 4 hours away, by himself, to take part in the annual shoot.  He and FIL got to talking and they had a lot in common.  They both hated Obama’s Administration for doing things like Obamacare and new gun legislation.  They talked forever about how they both shot and were afraid of what the new gun leg would do to their rights.  It was actually nice to hear two people talking about this instead of just one going on and on.  The guy said he used to shoot a compound bow, but got tired of all the tech.  He lost his connection to bow shooting so he went back to the recurve bow.  This made my FIL glad because he would start complaining about compound bows as soon as he saw someone shooting with them.  Hubby was the only one in the group shooting with a long bow. His bow was actually less poundage than the others, but made up for it in shape.  It was harder for me to pull back on the longbow than on the recurve.

Of course, not everyone we met were so nice.  We were standing in line, waiting for the next target when a couple of younger guys walked in from a different trail (the trails were marked so they were following an unmarked path) and cut in line in front of us.  This got me rearin’ to go, but FIL told me it wasn’t worth it.  To top it all off, the guy in bright orange started smoking a cigarette.  Yea, there’s nothing in the woods that can catch on fire from your ashes and butt.  Speaking of butt, they were big butt-heads. Thankfully the shoot was almost over.

By the end of the game, we had taken a nice, long trek through the woods, met some interesting people, and the fellas practiced their bow shooting skills.  All in all, a good day.  The best part? We stopped at Wendy’s on the way home.  Mmm, Frosty.

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