At long last it finally happened ~ Ship 25 received a
coveted invitation to attend the annual Troop 25 Turkey Cook-Off at Camp
Rodney on the Elk Neck Peninsula, Maryland. We arrived Friday night in
a pouring rain. Since Sea Scouts are resourceful, it didn't take our
guys long to figure out that if we put some stacked tent platforms on the
ground first, we'd be elevated above the mud. Also, if we pitched our
dome tent under CJ's canopy, we'd be really dry. And so it was....
The rain stopped during the night, so Saturday morning we
were able to set up everything properly. The Skipper mandated a
massive cleaning of all cooking and eating utensils, as they had not been
put away from the last trip in the best of condition.
The whole point of the turkey cook-off is to prepare an
elaborate Thanksgiving meal in the field. Here, our Turkey veterans of
past cook-offs (back when they were land Scouts), Zach and Drew, start
charcoal in a pit. Our turkey, which we named Rodney, will be placed
on top of the coals, and covered with a cardboard box lined with tin foil to
reflect the heat.
Alex whips up some bacon and pancakes for breakfast while
Zack prepares the tin-foil lined cardboard box for Rodney.
CJ, in red hat, surveys the scene while Drew does a gargoyle
imitation from the top of the pile of tent platforms.
Matt offers advice to Alex, while at the next site over,
Steve Willich and Jim Walters relax and watch the frenetic activity of the
Drew and Zach, our turkey experts, place Rodney the Turkey
wrapped in his tin foil pan, on top of the coals. Drew's younger
brother Kyle (a Ship's cabin boy), cruises by on his mountain bike to watch
the pros at work.
The "Pleasure Dome", aka the Ship 25 tent,
properly erected in the sunshine at last. At right, the Ark tows the
trailer in search of firewood for the Saturday night campfire.
End view of the Ship's site. At right, the central
area of the land Scout site with it's excellent view of the head of the
Chesapeake Bay. Our Ship had originally thought about arriving by
water, but the rain and the anticipated difficulty of ferrying all our
materials to shore dictated our ultimate decision to come by land instead.
At left, one of the land Scout patrol sites. At right,
examples of some elaborate Troop 25 cardboard ovens, complete with
thermometers. This is really high tech stuff.
The Black Hawk patrol, Troop 25's newest and, obviously,
most energetic land Scouts. The Ship predicts these Black Hawks will
be a vital force for fun in the Troop. Who knows, some of them may
even become Sea Scouts some day. At right, older land Scouts
"play it cool."
Zach, Phil, and Matt discuss the progress of the
turkey: in at 1000, out at 1600. At right, Skipper (seldom
without his computer and printer) prepares the official Ship meal menu card
to enhance the Ship's "ambiance" quotient.
The Ship's site at mid-day. At right, Matt, Drew, and
Zach in cammo (The cammo trio).
Zach and Drew check on Rodney the Turkey. At right,
CJ, Phil, Skipper, Alex, Matt, Drew, and Zach pose for a photo op with
Matt, Drew, and Zach put their best face forward for the
camera. At right, an impromptu ball game for the land Scouts.
Strike One! (note brown ball going past the batter's knees over the
An enthusiastic crowd fills the bleachers for the ball game,
while upcoming batters warm up in the bull pen. At right, the catcher
gives a few pointers to the batter.
Looks like this runner just slid home on his butt. On
wet, muddy ground, that's Scout spirit for you! At right, Zach rests
from his labors on top of one of the Ship's benches.
It's almost Turkey time, and Phil is busy making final
preparations for the stuffing. For a view of the Ship's actual meal,
see the top photo on this page. At right, a land Scout patrol sits
down to it's dinner.
At left, the Black Hawk patrol shows fine form with matching
plates, bowls, glasses, and utensils. The Skipper, as a
"celebrity judge", rated the Black Hawks tops for ambience and
Scout spirit. At right, the Flaming Arrow patrol, veterans of many a
cook-off, show the style that has made them legendary: Turkey AND crawdads,
plus THREE kinds of desert.
Kyle's patrol had wall decorations and sparkling grape juice
to supplement their meal. At right, what Scout camping trip would be
complete without a roaring camp fire?
At left, two potential Ship 25 recruits when they are
otherwise ready. At right, taking down CJ's tarp on Sunday morning.
The Ship set a new record of 2 minutes 31 seconds.
The Ship finishes its record-breaking disassembly of the
tarp. Soon Camp Rodney was disappearing in the Ark's side
mirror. We all look back on this weekend as a really fun event.
Ship 25 thanks Troop 25 for inviting us, and expresses the
hope that we'll be invited back next year.