Real-life camping horror stories

Camping is no laughing matter for these comedians. Gathered by Lisa Freedman

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A true story by Andy Kindler
During the gas crisis in the late '70s my girlfriend at the time and I decided to go camping at Henry Cowell Redwoods in Santa Cruz. The crisis meant you could only get gas on certain days depending on your license plate number. I was driving a 1972 Ford Country Squire station wagon, which sounds like a punch line to a joke but it was my actual car. It was an eight-cylinder gas guzzler. The back window was electronic—but it was broken so it was down all the time. Very often, the car would get flooded and I'd have to bail it out. There were cockroaches at one point and I had to set up a bug bomb. It was just a terrible vehicle.

We drove up on a day that was not a fill-up day for us and we just made it to the campgrounds. I looked a little disgruntled then—kind of a hippie, but you could tell I wasn't committed to the hippie look. Anyway, we pull into camp, set up a fire near the car and cook up some linguine with red clam sauce. All of a sudden a cop pulls up and I'm thinking I'm in trouble. It's the '70s so we probably had some marijuana and we may have had the mushrooms that don't go in pasta. We're scared to death and we have the weed and mushrooms in the car. He asks what's going on and I'm thinking, Yeah, we look like big trouble with our linguine and clams."

He asks if he can look in my car so I tell him that I preferred if he didn't. So he starts asking if we had something to hide. I said no, but of course I'm sweating badly. He tells us that the cops heard there were people in the park with guns and they're checking it out. But I'm thinking, There are people with guns and this is your first lead? The couple eating linguine with clams? He asked if we had drugs in the car and we said no. He starts checking the car and I'm thinking my life is over and I'm going to be in jail. And then he gets something on his radio that they had a problem with the actual people with the guns. So he has to run and I'm so relieved. So we dodged that bullet.

To remind you, the car is completely empty on gas. We had to wait till the next morning to refuel. It's about one in the morning, don't forget the back window is down, and I'm complete naked. My girlfriend is fully clothed because that's what she preferred. All of a sudden it sounds like my car is about to be attacked by 100 people. And they're coming towards the car. So obviously, whoever had the guns in the park is still in the park. I didn't know what to do so I hop into the front seat, completely naked. I turn onthe lights and the people are literally like Night of the Living Dead about to descend upon the car. So I start the car—it did start—I drove out of there. Naked. They're chasing us. We get out of the park and for the rest of the night we had to park on various streets until cops came and told us to move. We moved three or four times until daybreak came and I was able to get in line for gas. I don't camp anymore.

Andy Kindler is a regular correspondent for The Late Show with David Letterman

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