Currently Wandering » Outdoor Family, Adventure Travel, Simple Living - Family of 5 Traveling the United States in an Airstream.

Road Story: Emergency Rations, Rain, and… Raccoons!?!

We recently experienced a massive wandering failure. I pray that sharing it will somehow prevent something this awful from ever happening again.

It had been raining for the last week or two, and we had a clear, sunny day. I decided it was a perfect time to dry out (and clean out) the back of the truck. Our truck functions as a garage for us. I have a locking, roll top cover that keeps the rain off, and we have normal garage stuff in there: Chairs, bbq, generator, etc.

Our site at Cape Disappointment State Park had some room to empty the entire bed of the truck. I laid the damp stuff out to dry and collected things that we no longer needed. After a leisurely stop at the beach, I loaded stuff back into the truck. We decided to rearrange a few things. In particular, I moved our box full of emergency freeze dried food to the back, to make it easier to access pending the purchase of an appropriately sized tub. As it was going to rain the next day (again…) I headed out before bed and pulled in the awnings and put everything away.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself when I stepped outside the following morning, having prepared for rain so well the night before. It had been drizzling, and everything was pretty wet. I looked around, planning what I needed to do to hitch up and drive, as we were moving today. As I approached the truck, I realized with a bit of horror that I had not completely closed the roll-top cover, leaving a section of the bed exposed. Smugness dashed, I looked in the back of the truck to evaluate how wet things were. I was both emotionally and physically unprepared for the results.

Stuff was wet all right, but the condition of the truck was way worse. Remember the freeze dried emergency food I moved? The box had been thoroughly soaked by the rain.


I suddenly realized with horror that the powdery stuff I had seen all over the truck was not litter-fall from the trees, but the powdered contents of our emergency freeze dried food. Every single vacuum-packed bag had been extracted from the now obliterated box and ripped open. The contents were strewn all over the back of the truck.

Imagine for a moment what eating un-rehydrated freeze dried food would do to your digestive system. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t kind to the racoons, who appeared to have vomited and pooped repeatedly during their freeze-dried buffet. Obviously pre-occupied with their feast, they had given little care what they soiled. They left horrific messes in my toolbag, on our outdoor mat, and all over the small tubs we have in the back of the truck.

I was too horrified to fully process the experience. Jess came out to help me clean up.


We pulled everything out that had been, well, messed upon. Feeling grateful to have a water hookup, I attached our hose sprayer and we began washing everything off into the grass. The carnage hadn’t spread very far back into the truck, so much of the contents didn’t even need to be removed.

It took us an hour to complete the cleanup. Though all of our stuff was now wet from being washed (and being rained on…) it was now clean. We reloaded the truck and cleaned up our cleaning mess.

The rest of our day turned out great, but in comparison to our morning, just about anything would have been awesome. Lesson learned.

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  • Christie Scott - Oh my gosh. Brian’s mouth was hanging open as I read this to him. Yikes!!!! We feel for you. Glad it all turned out ok.ReplyCancel

  • Michael Grace - Oh wow! You guys do a great job handling these bumps in the road. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Mellissa - Oh. My. Gosh. What a total nightmare! Thank you for sharing this! I hope it helps prevent this for others!!! AH!ReplyCancel

  • Gail Wasden - Two weeks ago, I went out in in our garage in the morning and discovered that there were a number of things that weren’t where they were supposed to be. Some things had fallen down and were spread out in a funny way. I put things back and looked around but couldn’t discover what the cause might have been. This happened the next day and the next with pretty much the same stuff. But David also noticed that a partial roll of chicken wire that had been in the rafters overhead had fallen down on the garage floor, and when I went to investigate, I pointed out that it had fallen on the front bumper of his prize Porsche, which now had a patch of cross-hatch scratches about a foot wide and 8 inches high. So that night, I came out into the garage when it was dark and with only a flashlight and I discover a medium sized possum scrounging around. Needless to say he/she isn’t around anymore and we are careful to keep the car covered! As I think you found out, you can’t be too careful and you have to make sure everything is secured!ReplyCancel

  • Christie Scott - So I have a few questions and I am wondering if you could email me when you have time!! I am wondering how you got facebook so intergrated into your blog that you can even post through facebook on it? I am loving that. Your blog is so beautifully done in general and I would love some pointers. Also tomorrow we are heading southlike and will be really close to where you guys are for a couple days, would LOVE to meet up if you guys are able?! I am at 🙂ReplyCancel

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