Adventure #24 – Wilderness Shotgun Shooting


Can we pretend for just a moment that THIS ^ is what we looked like in 90 degree, high humidity, Virginia weather while holding our 20 gauge shotgun? Ok, now get up off the floor and stop your laughing, ya’all! Is that how you spell ya’all? We are now all certified country, shotgun toting, don’t step on our property girls!


Through the years I have introduced you to our adventure girls and I hope you have a mental picture of each one of them. Each unique, each strong in their own way and each so wonderful it can astound me. It has been awhile since all 7 of us that live in the area have been together for an adventure. We were once 10 strong, but Tracy moved to TN, Kelly moved to the beach and had a beautiful baby boy and Lisa just recently moved to NC and had a beautiful baby boy, too! Life moves forward and sometimes it stands in the way of things like having fish gnaw away at your dead skin or mixing drinks that taste like toothpaste. I am thankful that #24 brought most of us back together again.

It was Stacy’s turn to plan and she is one of our official bad a%4’%#! She fears no one and like The Onion (Kelly) she is extremely mysterious. She won’t text you back to answer your ridiculous questions so the only way to get in touch with her is by ringing her doorbell. I thought about it a couple of times, but decided I am not that pathetic. Instead, I just showed up at Phil’s (her husband’s) work and traded Stacy secrets for Adventure info. Just Kidding. No, I’m not. Just Kidding. Or am I?

There are a few of us that like to analyze the clues until we are sure there is no possibility that we will actually be doing anything that is adventurous. How hilarious is that? 10 Adventure Girls that are terrified of adventure. Wait, make that 3 or 4 Adventure Girls. I think the rest of them mix courage into their breakfast smoothies. Ok, so when I said 3 or 4 I actually meant 2. Patty and I will text back and forth and try to figure out what is is and how to get out of it. Here is one of our texts after we received the following clues from Stacy. “Complete your morning stretches to ensure maximum movement and flexibility, you will want to be “quick like fox”. Heavy makeup and hair styling is a bonus as it adds to the intrigue and sexiness factor of our adventure.”


Tina is usually the one that talks me down from the ledge and then I pass that pep talk on to Patty. Somehow I have only chickened out of ONE adventure and Patty zero.

We met at Heather’s house in Clifton to find out what Adventure #24 had in store for us. I videotaped Stacy’s reveal and it cracks me up because you can see the intense nervousness on everyone’s face after she tells us we will be shooting at flying objects. As you may recall, we shot handguns in PG County a couple of years ago. I will never forget Tina turning to me after and saying, “this will be the last time I ever shoot a gun.” Her face in this video is priceless. For once, we were all pretty quiet after the reveal.

We made our way to the Bull Run Shooting Range in Centreville, VA. We had to drive in a caravan because some had places they needed to be that afternoon. This is how the caravan of cars rolled. Car One: Stacy and Heather discussing life and kids and politics. Car Two: Me on my phone with Patty freaking out about gun safety and ticks. Car three: Patty on the phone with me freaking out about the flying objects Stacy was talking about. Car Four: Suzy probably listening to music and feeling the warm breeze through her open windows. Car Five: Maryhelen and Tina calling me freaking out about back roads and all things bullet related.

We reach our destination and are surprised to find out for the FIRST time ever that we do not need to sign a waiver. This is shocking to us. I am pretty sure we have never had an adventure where we didn’t sign our life away. I am serious. Even when we jumped on a trampoline we had to sign that we would not sue should we die while performing a hurkee jump. Anyway, I digress. We met our incredible instructor Ken and made our way to the porch for a quick tutorial on shotguns at precisely 8:58 AM. Two minutes later at 9:00 AM one million people opened fire 20 feet away from us. We were all pretty happy we took a pee-pee break before heading out. Precious Ken said, “Well, what did you think it would sound like?” As he spoke we listened intently. All of us, but Patty. She simply could not understand how we were allowed to stand so close to real guns being fired. Ken said, “Ma’am I need you to pay attention.” Maryhelen had her head down, shaking and laughing. Every time we have our tutorial someone can’t keep it together. He explained the kickback to us and said we may have a mark on our shoulder that looks suspicious. I am sure you can guess that I figured out first that he meant it would look similar to a hickey. Sweet flashbacks to 1994.



We moved on to the course. The course is 15 stations with wood platforms where we would take turns shooting at clay pigeons. Each station is a little different with the targets coming at you from different angles and different speeds. Some were shaded and some were not. Suzy’s hair would tell you that story. As we were standing at station one Tina turned to us and in her sweet, adorable voice said, “Yeah, I am not going to do this one, guys.” I had a feeling recalling that convo in PG County, but we all did our best to try to convince her to take a turn. Once we realized Tina was sure of her decision we respected it. I know that each of us will come face to face with an adventure that is just not going to happen. For me, it was tandem hangliding. For Stacy, it was frisky horses. For Tina, it was shotguns. The great thing is we just don’t care. We are happy to be with one another and conquer as many fears as our heart will allow. That being said, I am pretty sure Heather will never turn away from anything because a minute after that conversation, she put on her gun vest, hoisted that gun on her shoulder and POW! POW! That girl is crazy.

Heather "Pow-Pow"

Heather “Pow-Pow”

One by one, we took turns getting advice from Ken. He is pretty legendary. People were coming up to shake his hand all day. He was an amazing instructor and eventually every single one of us broke apart a clay pigeon. What a rush! He made it fun, engaging and I think we all feel much more confident holding and firing a shotgun.  He even has his own golf cart to get him around the course….while the rookies walked. It took me back to our surfing adventure in Delaware.

Laid back with my mind on my money and my money on my mind...

Laid back with my mind on my money and my money on my mind…

Ken patiently instructing MH.

Ken patiently instructing MH.

Maryhelen is usually in the middle of the most hilarious moments of the adventure and today was no exception. She was near the end of line for the first station. When she returned to the group she asked if Ken had asked any of us if we had any medical conditions. One by one we laughed and said no. We knew where this was going. She explained to us that Ken first asked Maryhelen if she knew where her earplugs were so she felt her ears and realized they weren’t in. She then watched Ken look down a bit and she followed his gaze. She had tucked them into the top of her sports bra and they were peaking out of her tank top. He said, “I have never seen anyone put them there.” Followed by, “Do you have any medical conditions I should be aware of?” Oh my word. I am laughing so hard right now just remembering her walking off the platform and telling us what just happened. Here she is with her booby plugs. Bless her heart.

You put your ear plugs where?

You put your ear plugs where?


We saw a lot on that course.  Most of the people we saw were not dressed like us.  Remember Stacy’s clue to wear lipstick and have big, sexy hair.  We did not fit in at all.  We will pretend the stares we got from everyone were stares of complete and utter lust and not of the “just who do these chicks think they are?” variety.

Big hair, pink lips and workout gear.  We fit right in....

Big hair, pink lips and workout gear. We fit right in….


The best thing we saw on the course was the gun stroller.  Who invented this thing?  We couldn’t get enough of it.  We knew that people loved their guns, but to treat it like a baby?  I think I am going to get working on some gun stroller mobiles.  The guns looked like they needed some entertainment.  Maybe it could play theme music from Gunsmoke, The Godfather and The Sopranos instead of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?  Who is with me? Trust.  It will make money.

Tupac with the gun stroller

Tupac with the gun stroller


We had a great time and decided after 5 stations that we could call it a day.  Actually we had to as our 2 hour lesson time expired.  We are slow to learn, but I hope we gave Ken a few good stories to tell around the campfire that night.   Thank you, Tupac Stacy!  Up next is Heather’s choice.  It is an all day affair and she says it is something she is extremely nervous to do.  That is scary, folks.

I would like to introduce you to the Annie Oakleys of this generation!

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Heather "Pow-Pow"


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