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Today is the present… be the gift.

Wyoming June 13, 2010

The road to my cousin's Rocky Mountain retreat winds through a deep gourge.

The road to my cousin's Rocky Mountain retreat winds through a deep gourge.

With business attended on Friday, we headed up into the Rocky Mountains. My dear cousin and her kind hubby had, when we visited in Denver, extended the invite for us to overnight with them at their hide-away cabin and we gleefully accepted. Well…

One night turned into two, filled with laughter, lots of catch-up conversations and an excursion of ‘thrift store shopping’ that Shawna said was ‘absolutely the best’ and bought so many clothes (for only $16) that I had to ask just how we were going to pack to get them all home.

My dear kin treated us like royalty, treating us to dinner Friday night at their favorite local restaurant and on Saturday we indulged homemade vegetable beef soup and fresh-baked wheat & rye bread. OMG… what a gastronomic pleasure!!!

Shawna is happy that the rain has ended and that the scenery is changing!

Shawna is happy that the rain has ended and that the scenery is changing!

There was, however, no Internet service which was really rather a treat for me as I am seldom disconnected from this virtual world for more than a day, and so I lavished in the 48-hour vacation <smile>.

Driving across Wyoming.

Driving across Wyoming.

This morning, though we longed to stay forever, we mustered ourselves to pull out early and made it — drenched in rain all the way — north out of Colorado into Wyoming and all the way across that state to the Utah line.

This time, we opted to camp for the night at a Day’s Inn, which has proven to be the best deal on accommodations we’ve gotten so far. The amenities are excellent (pool, hot-tub, spacious comfy double-queen room with refrig and microwave) and the price was well under the $100 per night I’d budgeted for the trip. Given the breakfast they provide is as good as everything else, I shall be a totally happy camper!!!

 

Denver June 11, 2010

Highplains
Driving across the high plains from Kansas to Colorado.

The drive across the high plains of Kansas into Colorado was smooth and uneventful. Miles and miles of miles and miles. 

Checking into the motel, where we’d made reservations to stay in Denver before leaving Limon, was a different story. 

While the MapQuest directions the gracious front desk clerk printed for us were perfect, the program that generated them was ignorant about major road construction in the area and so, for about 20 minutes, though we could see the hotel as we drove by it three times from different directions through a maze of barricades, blocked lanes and busy intersection traffic, we could not figure out how to get there. 

Before abject frustration set in, we opted to do lunch and retreated to the shelter of a Red Lobster which had a driveway we could locate! 

The meal was sumptuous: Linguine with lobster, shrimp and asparagus and a creamy white sauce for Shawna; Fried clams and garlic buttered shrimp with broccoli and a Caesar salad for me. For dessert, we shared some sort of fudge drenched vanilla ice cream and (warm) chocolate chip brownie concoction… which was simply decadent. 

Revived and armed with directions from one of the waitresses, we followed a series of detour signs and finally got where we planned to go, checked-in, unloaded, and called my cousin who immediately invited us over for a famly schmooze. I cannot count nor do I recall all the names of all the (20+) kin-folk Shawna and I met, that my dear cousin had graciously persuaded to come say hello to ‘cousin Chrissy’ (what I was dubbed as a child) and her duaghter, but all were wonderful. As Shawna said, it was like being in a room full of people you already knew and had much in common with.  Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. 

Double-rainbow in the sky southeast of Denver.

Double-rainbow in the sky southeast of Denver.

Driving back to our accommodations, though the sun was blazing bright in one portion of the sky, the portion that was over us let loose with a burst of rain which turned the road and all the traffic into a brilliant (and nearly blinding) mist of sparkling dazzle. 

As we pulled off the Interstate and stopped at the light where we turned to our motel, a double-rainbow arched across the sky. 

This afternoon is the first of my business appointments, up near the Colorado/Wyoming border. Then we will overnight with my cousin and her hubby at their mountain cabin in the Rockies. 

Does it go without saying that we are having a great time! 

 

Day 3 June 10, 2010

We start today in Limon, Colorado. 

Shawna is a good driver.

Shawan is a good driver.

Call it travel-lag (or whatever you wish), but thick-headedness is clogging my brain as I type. Hopefully, the  fresh cup of coffee sitting next to me will clear the arena. 

Yesterday we took a quick tour of the town, which is lovely, and picked-up a few essentials, like milk and an adapter so Shawna can connecte her ipod to the car stereo. Even though we were checked-in to the Comfort Inn by 2pm, the unloading, organizing and provisioning kept us busy until nearly 6pm. Having dined on the left-over steak from our Kansas dinner while we were reorganizing, we took a refreshing dip in the pool and a short soak in the steamy hot tub before retiring.  

I inquired of the mature gentleman who was testing the pool water what it was like to live here year-round. He chatted amicably about the local climate, which he said was great from about March through September; but that October through February brought freezing temps and inclement variables.  

Today we head to Aurora, on the outskirts of Denver, to camp again in middle-class-luxury for the night, visit my cousin and tend to some of the business that part of this trip is about. 

I recall thinking yesterday that Shawna is a very good driver, but Arkansas has definitely stilted her comprehension of road signs and navigating multi-lane intersections with 3 sets of traffic lights <smile>. In our hometown, there is only one stop light and directions involve things like: Turn left on the gravel road next to 5 mailboxes…. <smile>

 

Kansas June 9, 2010

Unlike Dorothy, we have not been to Kansas before. At least this is Shawna’s first visit to the state with Wizard of Oz fame and to the best of my recollection, mine too. Though my mom and I might have passed through when we traveled together toward Colorado nearly half a century ago.

I do not know/remember what Kansas looked like back then, but it is velvet green now. Acres and acres of softly rolling pasture, lush with grasses upon which cattle feast, making for delicious steaks.

One of which I indulged last night with a beer on tap… what a treat… the part of Arkansas we live in is ‘dry’… no booze for miles in any direction. Not that I’m a drunkard, but there is nothing that goes with a burger or T-bone or bratwurst better  than a nice cold beer.

We had somewhat planned to overnight in Topeka, where we arrived about 4pm, having made good time without hurrying. The weather was threatening tornadoes, however, and so we pushed on. Personally, I would rather be on the run in our chariot than taking cover in a motel.

Thankfully, by the time we got to Junction City, which is roughly half-way between our home in Clinton and Denver, the storm front was behind us and traveling away from us. Still, we were pooped and a bit too eager to eat and stretch out… thus we could have done a better job finding a motel.

The place is clean and perfunctory. Nothing to complain about. Just nothing to rave over. WiFi, comfy beds a hot shower and a restaurant next door. At the end of 9 hours on the road, heaven on earth.

 

Lift-off June 8, 2010

The moment has arrived <smile>. All things that I know of are packed and stacked on that old couch I mentioned, ready to be organized into our sweet ride.

My middle son, Josh, who will turn 19 while we’re on the road and is heading into the Navy in September, is on his way over for a ‘group hug’ before we pull out.

The fridge is cleaned out (bless Adam, but the lettuce could melt into a pile of goop and he’d be oblivious), the beds are changed — I mean really, who would want to come home,  possibly late at night and tired, and not want to crawl into clean sheets!!!

The weather is being minimally cooperative in that it is not raining… though in general I love the rain, but for driving I like things dry, fair, sunny and comfortably cool. Thus on my scale of optimum today is so far about a 5.0 on a scale of 10.

And so it is now time for me to shut this ‘puter off, check the lights, set the thermostat, make sure the doors are locked and the dogs are fed, give Josh a hug and head out…

 

T-24 June 7, 2010

Our 2006 Hyundai Tuscon, chariot for our trip!

Our 2006 Hyundai Tuscon, the chariot for our road-trip!!!

Yesterday — that was Sunday — went to utility.

Major to the to-do list was my participation with the regular monthly meeting of Arkansans for Medical Cannabis. (Please feel free to join us on Facebook!)

Also laundry, cleaning, organizing and check-listing — none of which amounts to a ‘day of rest’ by standard definition, yet was in its own way restful as I always feel energized and refreshed by the activity of getting things done.

Still, maintaining too heady a pace is wearying and so we are planning to pragmatically pace ourselves, aiming to travel 300 miles each day that we are on the road and planning for several stop-over days along the way.

At the moment, Shawna is doing a marvelous job of cleaning the kitchen and laundry room. We both like the idea of coming home to a clean house , however — my dear-darling eldest son, Adam, who is a heavy equipment operator in the mining industry (aka: comes home drenched in dirt, sweat, and industrial grim every day), will be in residence during our absence so the odds of us actually coming home to a neat & tidy domicile — no matter how pristine we leave it — are slim to none !!!

Still, he is a dear lad and we love him. I just pray that he remembers to water my garden and houseplants!!!

The old (circa 1920) divan that sits along the wall of the hallway which connects our entry-parlor to our den while it waits patiently for me to find the time to reupholster it, has become our staging ground. It is there that we have been amalgamating the suitcases, snack-boxes, technology and other accoutrements which shall accompany us.

Once inventoried and catalogued to confirm that we have everything we can think of that we may want or need, these useful items will, before we sleep tonight, be organized into our chariot, ready for bon voyage in the morning.

Beyond that I must get my hair done and a manicure <smile>. And so for now I’d better scoot!

 

Details June 5, 2010

The London Frontier Theatre, Magdalena, NM, presents: Hard Times and Hope.

The London Frontier Theatre, Magdalena, NM, presents: Hard Times and Hope.

T-minus 72 hours until the journey begins, and life is now a maze of tiny-tweaky details which must be attended in short space.  Though predictable and unavoidable — at least in context of my personal standards — the time now evaporates in pursuit of packing, organizing and strategizing so we can do everything we wish to do over the course of the coming weeks.

I was thrilled to get a phone call from a dear cousin yesterday, in response to a call I placed to her a couple of days before that. We have not been directly in-touch for decades, and now we will be visiting in-the-flesh next week!

And the ‘computer & camera’ set-up project is nearly complete. Shawna managed to upload a video clip and a couple of photos to her Facebook page,  so we are good to go with that. Just have two more programs to install… my Skype line and PhotoShop. Then everything should be ready to rock and roll!!!

Have also confimed permission to do a very special interview/feature article with the folks at London Frontier Theatre in Magdalena, NM.  Watch for more about this toward the end of this month. ~~~