"It'll be fun," he says, so convincingly.
And I think, "OK. Yeah. Maybe it will be."
"You used to like ATV riding," he tells me now.
And I did, I really did, but it turns out that it wasn't ATV riding that I liked, as much as I liked the Rocky Mountains.
My enjoyment of the Rocky Mountains meant that riding through them on the back of a massive, rumbling mechanical beast was fun. Holding on to my husband for dear life was fun. Feeling the cool air wash over my face was fun.
But ATV riding? As it turns out, I don't like that so much, because in the rest of the country, ATV riding is synonymous with mudding. Their hearts beat as one.
I really should have known better. I mean, this particular event included not just mud pits, but an actual drag strip of mud upon which no mere ATV was to prove their testosterone, but monster trucks would rip and shred.
Yes. That would be monster trucks, a mud racing strip and a country music concert later on in the evening.
And this would be no mere country music, no. This would be the newest thing on the scene- this would be a combination of country music and rap.
It is what people are forced to listen to in hell.
I'm still recovering.
So really, I have no excuse. I should have known.
Still, I went- mostly because I love my husband and he can't eat hamburgers anymore, and that's kind of a big deal around the Indiana household.
Mmm. Mud pit and port-o-johns.
Husband in mud pit.
Me, post mud pit.
That mud, by the way, is one-fourth part water, one half Georgia clay, one-eighth redneck sweat and another eighth engine oil.
I know, because Keith took us in waist deep, and we had to leap off, willy-nilly, into the noxious liquid.
Then I stood on the edge, my clay covered jeans adhering to my skin, while Keith walked the four wheeler out. It floats, by the way.
Our immersion inspired two or three country young uns in string bikinis and cut off jeans to jump into the water on purpose, and to flail about and to giggle self-consciously.
This attracted country boys who then spun and sped through the mud, sending up great, fanning sprays of the yellow stuff, like some kind of exotic mating ritual, many of which I'm sure were consummated after or during the later concert, on the bed of a muddy, lifted truck.
It was just that kind of event.
We ran into plenty of families as well. One such family was all seated inside Daddy's side by side, big brother up front, mom and sisters in back. Uncle made up the rear on his ATV machine, like an outrider on a coach train.
They came upon what we had supposed to be the end of the trail, as it ran on into either barbed wire or a muddy creek.
We had paused there in order for Keith to pose with his beer, which is a necessary rite of ATV riding.
Classic example of Keith, with beer:
What was the end of the trail for us was merely a fun distraction for Frontier Family, who quickly assessed the possibilities and made for the creek.
"We can make it, Daddy," drawled the youngest girl, her feet in their pink flip flops pressed up against the back of the front seat. She snapped her gum and gave us rookies a passing glance. She looked about eight years old.
Her southern accent was so thick that I only understood what she had said fully three seconds after she had said it- the kind of lag in understanding that I remember from being in foreign countries.
I couldn't help but smile. I remember being eight.
And anyway, she was right. They went, rocking and tumbling, crashing and crunching through the underbrush and into the creek, and then proceeded to slowly make their way upriver, where no doubt they would homestead.
I was the only female- age six to sixty- not showing off a goodly amount of leg. In fact, it began to get to me, after a while.
Case in point:
"I have perfectly attractive legs. Why do I have to wear jeans?" I complained to Keith, who insists that I wear them, and shoes when riding.
His response was terse, and thus ended that little bit of vanity.
I guess safety first, and all that. Better to be wearing soaking wet, boiling hot jeans than to run bare legged into the pointy end of an unexpected branch.
Eventually, I couldn't take any more, and had to be ensconced in the air conditioned HD, safely on a towel and unable to move my legs, which felt as if they had been encased in wet concrete.
I drove home listening to the rap version of "Country Road, Take Me Home," about a hundred million times.
I was literally counting the miles home. (There were a little over fifteen of them.)
That's love, right there. Love isn't about not saying you're sorry. That's not love. That's a movie. Love, in the Indiana household, is about listening to country rap.
Keith took a video of me. I have this frozen, vacuous expression on my face. I look like one of the Stepford wives, about to bust a fuse.
Now, I have dried mud swirled all over the wood floors, grit and sand in my washing machine, a sunburn and ruined sneakers.
I really don't like mudding. Maybe I should just let Keith eat ground beef again.
I just don't think this is the kind of hobby that we can showcase on our adoption profile.
Camping, yes. Trail riding on ATVs, yes. Swimming, grilling, country drives with the truck windows down, yet, yes and yes.
Mudding- no. Not so much.