Ed & Marilyn 'The Happy Wanderers' travel blog

Last evening we watched from the window as our friend and neighbor, Jason, built a large campfire in the firepit in his back yard. It reminded me of an adventure I experienced nearly nine years ago when we were camped at Mountaindale RV Resort near Colorado Springs.

They have these “Fire Log” things which are really nothing more than an artificial log for burning in your fireplace, or in our case, in your fire pit outdoors. You’ve probably seen them! Innocent looking little rectangular things.

They are supposed to be easy to light, burn for several hours, emit very little smoke, etc,

I bought a box of small fire logs to use outdoors. The ones I chose are small because they are supposed to burn for only two hours. The ambience is welcome as we sit around the campfire in the early morning, sharing our coffee while staring at the dancing flames. It's wonderful! It's also far from reality!

Now that I have set the background, let me tell you about this morning.

We were up early and I went outdoors to start the fire and set up the lawn chairs, while Marilyn prepared a pot of coffee.

I took the small fire log and placed it carefully on several small rocks in the fire pit. I then lit the paper wrapper at the designated spots.

Aha! It burned brightly! Just long enough to allow me to begin to feel a bit smug about this fire starting business.

Then, as I stared in horror, the flames diminished to a wisp of smoke!

Marilyn arrived carrying two cups of steaming hot coffee.

“Where’s your fire”, she asked.

I placed my cup of coffee on the table beside my chair and stared at the fire log. It still had half of the paper wrapper intact! No flames!

“Fire” log is a misnomer!

It could more accurately be described as a smoke log, or an irritant log, or other words I can think of but will not write in this journal.

I walked down the path to a spot under a pine tree and picked up small pine cones. They are frequently used as fuel to get a fire started and I knew they would do the job.

I piled them around my “Fire” log, put a folded paper towel in with them and lit the paper, expecting to see a burst of flame.

Voila! A small flame erupted, then turned into an even smaller flame followed by another wisp of smoke.

I stared at the wisp of smoke and finished a cup of coffee which was now only lukewarm.

I went inside for a coffee refill, mumbling to myself.

That little wisp of smoke continued to torment me, so I gathered a large pile of pine cones, placed paper under a stack of pine cones, and lit the stack.


I allowed the pine cones to get started and as they burned brightly, I placed the “Fire log on top of the flames.

The flames diminished but continued to burn brightly at one end of the fire log. It resembled a cigar, lit at one end.

I went inside the RV and poured the last bit of coffee into my cup, then returned to my chair.

The small flame and an equal amount of smoke tormented me until my coffee was gone and then that $%&&& "Fire" Log burst into flame and burned nicely.

Of Course!

Jackie and Marilyn went for a walk, leaving me to stare at that nice little campfire which now burned brightly.

Jean walked over to join me. She may have mentioned what a nice little fire I had, but if she did, I didn’t hear her as I had thoughts of my own about that now brightly burning log.

I had an appointment for a haircut in town and had to leave. It was with great delight that I poured water on that brightly burning flame. Ha! "Take That" I said to the fire as it hissed back at me and became nothing more than a cloud of smoke.

That irritating little wisp of smoke continued to rise from the soaking wet ashes, just to aggravate me as I drove into town.

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