Friday, August 29, 2008

98 degrees in the shade

Green River, UT. Rolled into the koakampground at 1600h, stepped out of the vehicle and almost had to sit down. It's been a long time since I dealt with 98 degrees F in the shade. The host was really concerned that I might want to nap in the car right away. I was more concerned that they had no cold beer for sale.

This is spectacularly stark and spacious country. I think I will be getting up early to see the light on the edges. I kept thinking this town was much bigger as the cliffs on the west look like apartment buildings from a distance. The colours are everything from dried blood to platinum with hits of green at every little damp spot. I am "camped" near the Green River and hope that the mosquitoes will not be a trouble.

I am taking my time and stopping often. I have dipped my hand into the Colorado River in Colorado and watched the swallows swoop from their mud nests under the bridge at the rest stop where I did that. Also took a picture of a family that was driving non-stop from Louisiana to BYU to take their son (almost typed sun) to start school - they wanted as much of the background of Utah in it as possible. Mother was worried about how they looked as they had been 27 hours on the road. Father wasn't too concerned as they only had another 4 to go. The Brits from the rally would have been impressed!!!! I thought they were nuts.

Time to see if there is beer in this town. Richfield tomorrow, perhaps. There's a music festival at Moab and I may go there instead. Stay tuned but don't expect much 'til Tuesday as it's the long weekend.

Still breathing

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday report

The last day of the rally and most everyone is off on a steam train ride that I decided not to take. I know that makes me some kind of a Philistine but after several days of motorcycle talk (when we are only 30 miles from the Democratic convention, I ask you??) I wasn't up for some hours of train talk, too. Besides, I needed to re-pack and re-think and re-cue myself for the next stage. After these days of a lot of people around me, I am ready to be on my own again for a bit.

The Inadvertent Potluck was so successful that a mini-version ran again last night complete with meat, beans, and beer that was rescued from the laid on BBQ lunch. Funny how there was no cake left over. The 'Muricans surely do l0o0ve their sweets! And it seems that we are getting older: we were all in bed by 2200h!!

Yesterday's adventure was driving to the end of the highest paved road in 'Murica: 14,130 feet. Yes, it was narrow, yes, it was winding, and yes, it was right some windy on the top. I travelled with dear friends from the UK who had taken The Sr Boy and I walking over the moors when we stayed with them and he kept exclaiming about how beautiful and magnificent it all was. She was more interested in the wildlife: mountain sheep, mountain goat, and marmots. I was most interested in the gaggle of bicycle riders who were right behind us at the park gate and some of whom arrived in the parking area at the top (14 miles of uphill) before we left! (We had been stopping for numerous photo ops - just like travelling with The Sr Boy!!) A few of them got away before we did and the downhill coast must have been amazing!!

Weather continues lovely: sunny with breezy days which trick one into believing that it is ok to go out without sunscreen (once) and cloud spattered canyon sunsets followed by stars that could almost be walked upon. I haven't checked the weather on the other side of the mountains yet. Fingers crossed for more of the same.

The "plans" for the next few days are a drive to places in Utah that both Sr and Jr Boys have been to and liked very much. It'll be koakamping for several nights with a blowout special treat at a lodge for one or two nights. The Sr Boy didn't get all that excited about accommodations but he brought home a brochure from this place from 2005's trip and they have space for me. I'm looking forward to a bit of sightseeing and some big sky.

Still breathing....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Colorado High

Despite the way the topo map looks, I am firmly convinced that Colorado is rocky and mountainous, and, where I am, very high up. High enough that some people at this gathering are having a bit of trouble. I figured out that my brain and breathing weren't in synch this morning when I also figured out that my water intake was limited because it is also lovely and breezy. Didn't know I could drink 1.5 litres of water over an hour and still feel thirsty.

The journey has been "interesting". Due to a variety of circumstances (details for those of you who care when I get home), I ended up connecting last Friday with my friends who left a day behind me and travelling with them. What I thought was going to be my solo journey has become an adventure in living and travelling and sharing with others who have always been good acquaintends (that's the stage between acquaintances and friends) and with whom I am learning about some new definitions of friends and the ship they variously come in. We have discovered that food prepared together is always more tasty and that both G&T and beer (especially Bitch Creek from Idaho) tastes better when poured in company. What was going to be has been redefined and it is good.

The rally is well-organized (what else from an RO who is also a pilot for a major airline??) and there are lots of people here who know me and knew The Sr Boy. I am warmly welcomed and am collecting my year's supply of guy-hugs. Deciding to come and then getting here has been a good thing.

Yesterday was all about the marque being seen on the main street of another town about 8 miles away and a further 1,000 feet up. The winter population of Central City is about 300, the summer resident pop is almost doubled by the opera company that starts its season on 10 June and finishes on 10 August. The lady in the museum said if people didn't make their money then, it was a loooonnnnggg slog until the next June! The opera house seats over 500 and they sold out every performance of Bernstein's "West Side Story" and many of Britten's "The Rape of Lucretia" and ???'s "Susannah". Bus companies run opera specific tours. To Central City, CO. Who knew??

The show was followed by a run down to Clive Cussler's car museum on some lovely m/c roads. I am not going to bother with the linkage as you either know about him or don't care. The restoration work was amazing and, of course, not being in the habit, I'd left the camera behind. Mr. C. himself arrived late in the afternoon in a very nice E-type Jaguar and chatted with a few of the owners. At least, I think it was him: the face looked like all the dust jackets but the tummy was a bit unexpected!! My best moment, though, was when one of the restoration team came out to look over the bikes and quietly said to me that his favourite was the one that "looked like it had been used and ridden." I think our friend Bill has ridden that bike all over North America, Australia (twice?), New Zealand, and Europe. Despite being the most unassuming and laid-back fellow, he was tickled when I passed on the comment.

Today is a bit quieter right up until about 1700h when the ramp up for the Inadvertent Vancouver Section Potluck Dinner will begin. We were going to have only the Brits but apparently the Brits think that they won the War of Independence and we have gone from a "nice group" of about 15 to a group of ???. I have resorted to telling anyone who asks me about the shindig: "If you are male, you are responsible for a protein main course. If you are another sex, bring salad or dessert. Booze does not count as protein!" (These handy Potluck Planning Tips are provided by Yours Truly as organizer of several of these impromptu events - what is it about some motorcycling men that they think that food will magickly fall onto their plates if all they do is show up???) Ahem.....

And as for those guys who think it is OK to roll their bikes down from the hotel parking lot to the campground to start them before 0800??? You get membership in the EMAC*!!

Quick weather report: mostly sunny during the day with late afternoon thunderclouds piling up with occasional blasts of rain. Apparently, there have been snow flurries already and the pass from Denver west to Idaho Springs has a sign advising truckers to carry chains from September to May. Doesn't leave much time for wear and tear on the summer tires, eh??

That's where things are at the moment. I am writing this in the lovely library in the children's section. My life is so boring that all of the sites I wanted to look at were allowed! I am off to check out the TommyKnocker Brew Pub for a possible tour and tasting and then a siesta before the onslaught.

Still breathing and drinking lots of water.

* Early Morning Arses Club

One more thing: is it wrong that I want to dig up the plants in the rest areas that are growing wild and that cost me $5.00/pot at the nursery?

And another thing: antelope really do play!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Monday is a good day to get started (again). To update: I made it home with my badly bruised foot and have spent about a week of hobbling about alternated with sitting (with foot elevated) knitting and not dealing with the accumulated detritus of the years (sounds very impressive, no?) which was what I was supposed to be doing before gadding off. So today is the restart which so far involves swigging down 1.5 espressos from the machine of Christmas '96??, continuing knitting on the "can I invent a pattern for a tank and get it finished by this weekend?" and working out one Sudoku and a bit of the weekend cryptic. Not too promising on the dejunking but there is a subtle plan and there are empty boxes.

The gadding? Two parts: Part One: Driving to Colorado solo. About 5,000 km round-trip when the side trips are figured in. Taking in the Vincent North American Rally and seeing some dear friends. Driving long distances to places The Sr Boy loved and wanted to show me and going to an event we would have gone to together so there will be a lot of "how are you doing?" which I am getting better at answering. (Have misplaced my Summer of '06 t-shirt design the children promised to make me that was to say "How the f&*% do you think I'm doing???". They didn't get their "Dead Dad's Club Member" shirts done either.) The lovely thing about motorcyclists is that they use real language ("What a bugger!" comes to mind) for this continued unreality.

Part Two: Return to Italy. Lots more km round-trip and seeing places I loved and wanted to show The Sr Boy. An anniversary trip. No t-shirts, maybe something leather again. Never occurred to us that the separate celebrations in '05 were actually the first of the rest of them. Venice for sure, Florence for maybe. Open to accommodation suggestions and possible companions. Any takers? Of course, I have to get some flights booked and other mundane details but October looks good.

Meanwhile, there is the siren call of empty boxes and garbage day.

Still breathing.

Poppa's raccoons? Still digging up the grass but now the owl is back and the balance of nature may be re-establishing itself. The kit was re-located and the trap put into the storage shed. Neither of us could stand that squalling again.