Saturday, July 16, 2011

Big Gay Vacation 2011 Roundup

Welcome back everyone...another "Big Gay Vacation" has come and gone and now its time for me to get back to the real world. I am truly sad it is over because I have had to say goodbye to ten people that I grew very close to over the course of our time together. Along with our family, we were joined by...Gary and his boyfriend Clyde, Sameer and Reid, Scott, Stephen, Jerome, Ryan, Quincey, and our good friend Wolfy. Our time may have been short, but...we made the very best of the time we had.

The river home we rented for the princely sum of $6000 for the week consisted of a two bedroom main home, a detached one bedroom granny unit, and a two bedroom duplex. The grounds had a hot tub (That we made very good use of), a volley ball court, as well as a fantastic wooded property that felt like you were in your own secluded estate. There were mature trees loaded with summer plums and in the evening the setting sun turned all the leaves golden as the swayed in a gentle summer breeze. Additionally it came with easy access to the river for swimming, canoeing, and Kayaking...all things we did a great deal of in our time at the river.

I am not trying to function as free advertising for the property, but to describe a place that will forever live in my memories as a sanctuary from the world. Even though the property may have idyllic and serene...we were often anything but. Allow me to tell you a few of my fonder memories from the "big Gay Vacation house"....

One of our day trips to San Francisco:

Rainbow Cattle Company and the Legacy of Sleazy Steve:
One of the things my husband Jay and I rarely get to do is go out and have a drink in a gay friendly establishment. The nearest one to us happens to be the Rainbow Cattle Company just a hop skip and jump from our vacation house. We had a babysitter for the evening. so we were determined to haul our little crew out to the local watering hole for a drink. Additionally, our friend Gary had recently come out and had never been to a gay bar we HAD to go. No was compulsory.

It was a pretty busy night at the bar which had its usual mix of long time residents and seasonal visitors...most of the leather/bearish variety.Our little crew walked in like Dorothy in OZ...thunderstruck and a little sheepish. However, as couple of drinks and some loud dance music began to take the edge off our nervousness with each other and it wasn't long before our friends Ryan and Scott we doing their own "A to B" dance and trying to get us all to join in. It was in the process of resisting being assimilated into their little alphabet shuffle that they spied a shirtless, muscled, and beautifully hair man circling the bar and soaking up all the attention he could get. By the way he was wandering from group to group we had determined that A) he was blitzed...and B) he enjoyed being ogled and pawed by random strangers. This led to him being dubbed "Sleazy Steve" by one of our vacation mates. of our vacationers, Ryan, asked him what his name was....and was gob smacked when he answered "Steve". Thus began the legend of Sleazy Steve. Which...yes I know is an awful name to call someone...and is likely wasn't his real name either. But it floored poor Ryan and Scott who could not get over it for the rest of the night While they "A to B'd" their way to dance floor infamy.

And if only that were all of Steves legacy that evening...Our friend Stephan was being rather shy that night and hanging back from the action( being the smarter one) and my husband Jay to buy Steve a drink if he would give our friend Stephen a kiss. Now...our friend Stephen is a cutie and I don't think Big Steve needed any encouragement that evening. Nonetheless, he grabbed poor Stephen and and layed a kiss on him that turned him eight shades of red as well as resulted in a face full of Steve slobber. It was quite the going home gift. this night was a lot of fun..even for the wallflowers among us and marked the first that we had all begun to gel as friends.

Hot Tub Conversations and Sasquatch Pictures:

I mentioned that the house we stayed at had a hot tub as well as private river access for swimming and boating. Since Jay and I often took our guests trekking across beaches, parks, cities, and forests, by the time we were all done for the day we all needed a good hot soak in the hot tub. We spent many and evening after the kids went to bed, perched on the edge of the tub talking the evening away and most of our best and deepest conversations happened here. Sadly, one of the rules of the home was that no one could be in the tub after ten due to the neighbors and noise. No one wanted to leave the tub at ten but you learned quick that the neighbors meant business.

It was on one of our first nights there when we were all talking and having a good time When ten o'clock rolled around and no one was ready to give up. So everyone headed down to the river with a box of "meadow cookies"(don't ask...and don't EVER eat them). My husband being the trouble maker he can sometimes be got the wild hair to go skinny dipping and faster than you could see was in the water sans suit. Then, the others one by one followed his example and jumped in the cold night river without so much as a stitch to keep them from hypothermia. All that is accept for yours truly and Stephen who was watching the proceedings with growing horror. Yes they were drinking...yes they were in the river...and the possibility of hypothermia crossed my mind. And SOMEBODY has to be the guy to haul their butts out of the river if it all goes wrong. But then....

They started calling teasing the two of us and..yes...I should have ignored them. But what can I say, one dumb act deserved I gathered up all their clothes and towels while they attempted to throw mud balls at Stephen and me and we hauled their things up to the main house and dropped them right by the door under a very bright light....and then I waited. Of course they did not take my bait right away. They had their "Stand By Me" bonding moment and sang Kum By Ya while slowly realizing that they were going to have to get out of the river at SOME point....hehehe.

When they finally did summon the courage to slink back up towards the house, I tried to sneak around them to get a cell phone picture...because you need insurance against retaliation when you steal someones clothes while they skinny dip. It was dastardly, but necessary. and totally stupid because I ended up sliding down a blackberry brush covered hillside and scraping myself up pretty good...but I got the shot. That night I slept with one eye open and waited for the revenge I was sure was going to come. Thankfully it did not. In the morning I checked my phone only to find  a blurry snapshot that was all black background and white the many photos of Bigfoot you see online where you can't actually see anything. It was a blessing in disguise for us all and allowed us to laugh at everything that happened during our one night of absolute stupidity and total fun.

The Precious and Mount Gay(aka Big Gay Rock):
All of us spent alot of time swimming in the river expect for those of us who feared getting some sort of brain eating parasite from the water. We swam/canoed out to a giant rock that became known as Mount Gay and it became kind of a rite of passage to get to it because it was quite a challenging swim. It was scary to jump off the rock into the river but we all managed to do it at least once.

While no one was hurt jumping off the rock, the river did almost claim my wedding ring. As I was swimming it just slipped off and I froze in place knowing that if I moved I would never find the spot where it fell again. It took four people, two scuba masks, a Pyrex dish, and a waterproof flashlight. I have to say that I owe a Wookiee life debt to Scott Rosenquist and Ryan Lill for finding it by literally holding each other under water so they could crawl along the river bottom until they found it. Thanks guys!

Strangers to Friends:
I know that it may sound like we did alot of dumb things on this trip I have to say that nothing bad or truly risky ever happened. In fact, every moment helped bring us that much closer together. When the twelve of us first got to the house no one really knew how to talk to each other. And when you know someone from online, meeting them in person can be a whole different experience. We had an awkward first couple of days. Jay and I took everyone to the ocean, wine tasting, Fort Ross, and Armstrong Woods, Chinatown and all over the North Bay, we never knew if anyone was quite having fun or not. It was these moments and filming a special surprise music video(details later) that helped us get over our fears of each other and turn a group of twelve random strangers into good friends.

It is why I write this with a heavy heart. It was truly hard to say goodbye to everyone. I wished we all could have stayed there forever in that special stolen moment of time. I have determined that I will not say goodbye only "until later".

If you were patient enough to read all the way to the end of this post than I truly thank you for indulging me in reliving the adventures...and scandals...of this years Big Gay Vacation....Maybe next year we'll see you there?

Until next time dear readers...


  1. It sounds like everyone had a good time. Hope the English lad doesn't think that all American are nuts/crazy/daff.

  2. really was one of the best vacations I've had. I was truley sad when I left guerneville then sad again when I left you guys in SF.

  3. I read it and I liked especially the part of the swim and you loosing your wedding ring, and still getting it back : I love miracles. :)
    Steven of Holebis ♥♂♂,♀♀♥

  4. skinny dipping.....WOOF

    Kenny IN SA

  5. I think he does think Americans are daft...but I also think he likes it :D

  6. Our Garry certainly has come a long way in one year. It was just last August that he pulled up in his big white truck at our camping trip in Pennsylvania. He had never talked about his sexuality in person with anyone. He texted me the day after you guys went to the bar and said he had a smile on his face that lasted all night. I am so happy for him. We are going back to the forest in PA in two weeks for another camping weekend. I wish you were coming too.
    Thanks for helping OUR friend!

  7. Great reading Bry:) Such description that I could see it all clearly (maybe too much so with the "Sleazy Steve" recollection. Poor Stephan! LOL! What a fantastic experience. Memories to last a lifetime and friends to love always... Thank you for sharing. And I have seen the youtube "movie" short and Ryan is quite the talent. I'm going to have to get his album for sure! Glad your wedding ring was recued. I have lost many an article of jewelry and clothing in the great Russian River over the course of my younger, wilder and much bolder days. What a great vacation! -Blessings to you and yours.- Tammy

  8. Hey, this is a beautiful blog, and sounds like your vacation was a true delight. I would love to be able to escape time like that and baske in the beauty of summer for a week. Thank you for sharing this!

    I would like to introduce you to my blog, because I too am writing about being a gay parent. I'm brand new, but growing. And while we have much different between us, a great deal in common. My name is Kelly, and I'm a single lesbian momma. I hope you come. Your family is really beautiful.

  9. Sounds like this was a whole barrel and a half of fun. You must post the Sasquatch Pic", just so people can stare intently at the bright blobs, trying to figure out who is who and what is what. LOL!

  10. Well, I always seem to be the last to read your posts, but I always eventually get there! Wow Bryan, you can convey things, I'm telling ya. You literally feel and experience the fun when you read this. I couldn't help giggling. Skinny-dipping all together? I take my hat off. :) Now who dares to say that 30- and 40-somethings are boring couch potatoes?! lol
    P.S.: I should start saving money for the flight to CA.

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