Did you know that Summer officially begins in the northern hemisphere on June 20th? Down here in Texas we’ve already had some hot weather, but nothing like what we’re going to see in July and August. So, in the hopes of “less hot” weather, my annual family summer vacation to the Gulf Coast starts on June 14th, and I’m already thinking about which pipes and tobaccos I am going to take with me. You know that you’re a dedicated pipe smoker when that’s the first thing you think about when packing for a vacation trip. I have a backpack that is reserved for my vacation forays and it has plenty of room for the 5 or 6 pipes… well okay, maybe 10 or 20 pipes that I’ll be taking with me. I never have difficulty deciding which pipes to take. Hey, it’s my vacation, so naturally I’m going to load up the backpack with only my best smokers. We go to Port Aransas at least once a year and have a favored beach house that we rent. And I already know exactly where I’m going to store my pipes and tobaccos to keep them safe and ready for action once I get there.
One must always pack plenty of ripe old pipe tobacco to take on vacation. You sure don’t want to run out of pipe weed and discover that your favorite island paradise has a single Walgreens Drug Store and it carries only those one pound bags of bulk no name bargain blends. You know the kind of tobacco that I’m talking about. The stuff that comes in big thick baggies for .99 cents a pound and you usually see them behind the counter at that only Walgreens on the island.
Before leaving on the vacation trip, I make sure to open and dry out all of the tobacco that I plan on taking with me. As I said a moment ago, I will be at the Texas Gulf Coast, and talk about hot and humid weather! Indoors or outside, by the time it takes to pull out the tobacco from your tin or pouch and carefully put it in your pipe, the precious old weed is back to just about the right humidity before you even light it!
I always take flavorful – yet not too heavy on the palate – Virginia and Burley blends with me to the coast. They seem to smoke best in summer weather. And since the weather will be hot and windy a lot of the time, I admit that I do enjoy being inside with the air conditioner going full tilt while I smoke. I discovered years ago that Latakia blends in the beach house are not appreciated and cause for being hastily escorted out to the large and nicely decorated, but stifling hot patio. When that rudely did happen to me, I remained a gentleman and grudgingly sat down in a comfy beach chair, relit my pipe and took a few puffs of that wonderful Latakia blend while feasting my eyes on the ocean, the waves and the waterfowl that I sure don’t see inland. But then, what the heck? Even the seagulls and pelicans beat a hasty retreat, leaving me all alone while smoking and sweating. So, with that unpleasant memory still etched in my mind all these years later I now leave the Latakia at home.