Friday, August 31, 2007

Ketchum or bust

Craters of the Moon, big snore. Even Robert winced a little. I think he was expecting a meteor crater like the one in Arizona. This was more like acres of upturned asphalt. Weird, definitely. While I grilled the park ranger about fire conditions in Ketchum, Robert skimmed the visitors' center to learn the origin of the the "craters." Yawn. Lava field, essentially. Okay, can we go now? Allison was weary and wanted to stay at the tiny RV park at the site, but I fixed that by telling her there were "crater monsters" out there and we should leave right away. Yes, let's go to where there are forest fires instead.

Since we'd come all this way and we were so close to the turnoff to Blaine County, we decided to go for it. The fires were mostly contained we were told and a few phone calls to local RV parks told us that the area was back up and running. We set our sights on making it past Hailey to the Meadows RV park. If we felt uncomfortable with the situation--if the air was too hazy or the locals started looking anxious-we'd circumvent and keep moving. After leaving the lava fields the drive became pretty. The mountains on the approach to Sun Valley were an unusual olive green, or maybe sage green since it was only sage that dotted the hills, and even though the valley floor was green with crops, the soil was bumpy and rocky. The skies were bright blue with masses of puffy white clouds. The whole setting was so pastoral and calming that all my apprehension faded away. Once we hit Hailey the man-made charm began. The main thoroughfare through town was lined with attractive shops and restaurants. We passed under a marquee announcing Bruce Willis' band playing tomorrow night. Darn, we have a seven-year old with us. We'll be walking trails and visiting wagon museums and the Sun Valley Ice Rink. But, Hailey, Idaho is just so darned cute, just like it's name. Try repeating Hailey, Idaho three times in a row. You'll sound like a kindergartner chanting vowels.

There is a faint whiff of wildfire smoke in the air, but for the most part the skies are clear and it appears we have made a lucky move. Many events were canceled and the usual Labor Day weekend crowd is a no-show. All the better for us to discover Hemingway's last haunt.

All the news in Idaho that's unfit to print

Goodbye, Wyoming. What a beautiful state you are. Now, we give Idaho a look-see. Unfortunately, we won't see enough due to the wildfires that have ravaged the central region and taken Sun Valley and Mr. Hemingway off our agenda. None of us has ever visited Idaho before so this is a disappointment. We had planned to drive from Ketchum up towards Salmon along a scenic road that follows the Salmon River. As is stands, we are driving from Idaho Falls to the Craters of the Moon and from there heading north. If possible, we will swing by Salmon if it is safe.

For such a big fire event, we have heard little detailed information about it. Everyone I asked in Yellowstone 0r Jackson had sketchy information. I tried logging into to the U.S. Forestry something-or-other site and discovered little. Robert says, "Let's just go. If it's unsafe there will be signs." So we chugged out of Jackson Hole this morning up a surprising 10% grade to head to poor old Idaho.

What news I've read reports that residents in Ketchum were asked to evacuate earlier this week. A clerk at the convenience store in Swan Valley told me what she knew: that smoldering pine cones were rocketing out from the forest fires to land in people's yards two miles away in Ketchum. That's an image that piqued our interest. Fiery pine cone missiles. Hmmm. No, better not go. Hemingway will have to wait. If there are forest fires you wouldn't know it; all the news out of Idaho is about their fallen senator, Larry Craig, who's naughty transgression in a Salt Lake City restroom is sending the Republicans into panic mode.

We don't care about that. We're just bewildered little tourists looking for a little direction. Hello, Idaho. Got anything nice to show us?

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Here's a combo: Laundry with internet connection. Allison checks on her adopted Webkinz, I update my blog, read my mail, and research our next stop.

Afternoon in the park in Jackson

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greetings from Jackson Hole, Wyoming!

Robert and Allison built a campfire last night outside our trailer. Of course, we roasted marshmallows. We noticed that most other campers had turned in for the night. We really are night owls. But what fun to sit under a full moon and listen to the rushing river in the distance. Other than the river the campground was silent. No radios, no generators, no people talking, even. However, we were startled a bit when we heard a cracking noise in the woods. Something was out there. I ushered Allison to the trailer, Robert close behind. He got a flashlight out and discovered two deer grazing next to the trailer. The light didn't scare them off; they hung around till we went off to bed.

We are cautious because we are in the semi-wilderness. We know that here we are guests of the wildlife. Wildlife. On our walk yesterday, we saw so much animal poop, scat, I think it's called. Of all subjects it is now animal poop that interests us. We have to get a book so we can identify it all! This morning we cranked up the generator for our very first time. Without it, it's hard to make that morning java, and I'm not one for Folger's instant. Robert and I took the standard three-minute shower, which is not as difficult to do as you'd imagine. It's all about conservation. Conservation. We laugh because we know this is not really roughing, how could it be with this awesome Airstream. We are totally comfortable.

My hardest obstacle is internet connection. We drove into Jackson Hole thinking it would be easy to find an internet cafe. I guess I asked all the wrong people because it took forever to find one. Finally, here I am at the Pearl Street Bagel perched in the corner under a scratchy speaker blaring Hootie and the Blowfish. It's hard to concentrate.

Jackson Hole is a bit like Aspen, Colorado in it's upscale tone. Great fine art galleries and restaurants. Allison was able to locate a Webkinz pony so she is thrilled. Tomorrow we plan to visit the fish hatchery and an art museum on the hill outside of town. We'd like to ride horses somewhere, as well as do a little fishing--that is, if the moose doesn't mind.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Role Reversal

Besides being the designated driver, Robert likes to play in the kitchen, too. I say, "Go for it!" In our short time on the road we have already acquired roles: He does all the driving, parking, hooking up, and waste management. I navigate, (taking blame for wrong turns,) manage the trailer's interior, laundry, grocery shopping, and Allison's schoolwork. I decide the routes we'll take and where we'll stay which means I get to do all the research, usually on the fly. So far this has worked out quite well for us. I've steered us towards rv parks where I can get internet connections, though in Yellowstone this has been impossible. We left there this morning and landed near Jackson Hole where I am back in touch again, though barely.

We have only stayed thus far, in top-notch, full hook-up campsites. Until last night we never used our own shower. These nicer facilities have laundry rooms, shower houses, and general stores, and sometimes even cable hook-up. In Yellowstone we stayed at the only full hook-up campsite, Fishing Bridge. It was adequate, but cramped. We only stayed two nights. There is no cellular service or internet connection in all Yellowstone that we could find. I guess that's the point--to be out of touch with the rest of the world.

During the day we were all over Yellowstone seeing the usual sites--Old Faithful, the hot springs, the mud-pots. We attended a couple of Ranger lectures which were very worthwhile. We learned that ravens have large brains for their bodies and they mate for life (so how smart can they be, really?) One of the best features of the park is the employees. Most of them are retirees there for the summer season. They just seem to be so thrilled to be there. We met a foursome that were great friends that came together to work at the Hamilton store next to Old Faithful. When the summer is over they've head back to their homes in Arizona.

We left this morning to head south to the Grand Tetons. We found a campsite very close to Jackson Hole, our first with no hook-ups. We are dry camping for the very first time. The site is just yards from the Gros Ventre River in a grove of Cottonwoods. The campsites are rustic and spaced far apart which is so nice. We set up camp and then took a walk along the stream where we came across a huge moose taking a long drink. In the camp we see deer and a buffalo across the field. I think we are going to like this kind of camping the best.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cody Nite Rodeo!

What a blast! Cody Nite Rodeo. I didn't capture everything on video, but did manage to get a few clips of bronco riding and calf chasing. At one point the rodeo clowns invited all children under 12 to compete to pull a ribbon off the tail of a calf. Allie tried her best, but her boots encumbered her. "These boots are for walking. These boots are for stomping--but these boots are not for running," she explained later. We may go again tonight and give her another shot at it.

We spent the entire day at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. There are five museums within the center, all of them top-notch. The Plains Indians Museum had better artifacts and exhibits than I've seen anywhere else. In the Buffalo Bill Museum it was fun to see his personal items: gifts from foreign nobilities, guns, buckskin coats, letters.
In the Western Art museum I came across a favorite, an image I've used in my blog: the Madonna of the Prairie, by W.H.D. Koerner.

Cody, Wyoming has been a real treat. I would have missed it if we had not planned this Airstream adventure to Yellowstone. It is very small and friendly. I notice things like young people who say "excuse me" when they cross in front of you. At the rodeo, a little boy in cowboy garb ( including the hat and giant silver belt buckle) startled me when he blurted out, "Where you from?" His name was Tyler, or Tanner, or some cowboy name, and he told me his big brother was riding a bull tonight. And yes, he was! Skyler Erickson, not more than 10 years old was indeed on top of a small bull later that evening. He won. I love the names of rodeo kids. Catchy western-flavored names like Chaz and Cole, Chance, Cade, Shain, Logan, Trapper, and his sister, Feather. I want a cowboy name. Or an Indian name. Any ideas?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Greetings from Cody, Wyoming!

On our way out of Deadwood we drove through beautiful Spearfish Canyon. We didn't stop to walk to the waterfalls since we were tired of trekking. Instead we headed straight for Cody, Wyoming. It took a lot longer than I estimated mostly because we had to cross the Bighorn Mountains where the ascent was non-stop, relentless. The transmission began heating up as we chugged slowly up the grade. Then it began to rain so we had to be extra cautious. Plus, there were deer to watch for; they cross the highway often. After leaving the mountains we came into a long desert-like plateau that went on for miles until we got closer to Meeteese.A few miles more and we were finally in Cody. We found an RV park close to the Buffalo Bill Museum and pulled in right at dark.

Overall, the Airstream pulls nicely behind our Tahoe. Robert is very careful which means we go slow and let people pass us. We're in no hurry. We get such a kick out of pulling over for a break. We unlock the Airstream, make a sandwich, sit on the sofa for awhile. So far, we love pulling our house with us. It's so cool!

Ponderosa Campground is nice enough though the Internet connection is puny. I find myself parked outside the Beta Coffeehouse after hours so to get on their Wi-Fi. I'd gladly patronize the place if it had realistic hours, but everything in Cody seems to go to sleep after 7:00 p.m. Except, the Rodeo. Good thing we didn't choose tonight to go; it is raining. As much of the country is in a terrible heat wave, we seem to have escaped to perfect temperatures. Nights in South Dakota and Wyoming are cool; days are usually sunny and mild. We are seeing these regions at their best.

Today we rode the exceptional Cody Trolley Tour though town. Our guides were a cheerful married couple, locals, I think. Margie dresses like Annie Oakley. Their claim is this: "Give us an hour and we'll give you a hundred years." They did know their Buffalo Bill Cody history.

Tomorrow we plan to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum then head to the rodeo in the evening.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sights and signage in Deadwood

Kangaroos in Deadwood

We started out the day with lunch at Cheyenne Crossing, a terrific restaurant that used to be the stage coach stop outside of Lead, South Dakota. Next we looked for a print shop in Deadwood to have some business cards made. The shop is housed in an early 1900's building that sells grave markers. When I opened the door and got a look at all the gravestones I'd thought I'd entered the wrong building, but the print shop was further inside.

The owner, Bruce Oberlander, happened to be free to help me design business cards for my weblog. It happens that he was once the mayor of Deadwood so he shared some interesting insights. His wife is descended from early immigrants to Deadwood dating back to before 1900. They had operated the same granite and marble works that exists today. When I shared this all with Robert he slyly remarked that considering the lawless and violent past of Deadwood, a tombstone maker would be the smartest trade to be in.

Next we visited Roo Ranch, home to kangaroos and wallabies. It is a new business, one that will surely flourish with all the tourism. Kids need attractions that casinos can't offer. Allison was in kangaroo heaven. For Robert and me that was the first occasion of our ever petting and playing with a kangaroo. Allie and I went to work hugging and rubbing their ears; Robert tried to wrestle one. Thank goodness they are so tame and tolerant.

After our fill of marsupials we headed to Kevin Costner's Tatanka. It is an interpretative center focused on the buffalo's significance to the Plains Indians. I would recommend seeing it. The sculptures of Indians chasing buffalo over a cliff is very good.

Lastly, we walked historic main street and witnessed a mock shoot-out. Robert had a shot of whiskey in the bar where Wild Bill Hickok was killed. I sipped on a shot of his Southern Comfort which I liked more than I imagined I would. The bartender suggested I might really like what's called an "Old Fashioned." I told her I'd be back, but it didn't happen. We ate bad food at another casino restaurant and then went home to our RV park so I could do wash and let Allison watch Disney Channel on the tv in the laundry facility.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Another run through Custer Park today. We tried to find the walking trail to Prairie Dog Town, but missed it. Instead we settled on Lover's Leap, a three-mile loop across from the Norbeck Visitor's Center. It turned out to be a killer ascent up to the mountain cropping where legend says two Indian lovers jumped to their deaths.

Allison kept puzzling over why anybody would willingly jump off a cliff. Hard concept for a happy little girl to grasp. The ledge is barely marked and it's approach-at-your-own-risk, though there's no written warning to do so. In fact, I think overall, that Custer Park, is pretty lax in its safe-guarding. Surprising really, in this age of acute public caution. The Park rangers are extremely mellow. We saw one wearing flip flops. They do tell you to stay away from the buffalo, at least. The trail we hiked was hard to find. We had to ask for help at the visitor's center. It's like they don't care if you find it or not. Maybe they hope you don't because of the potential for harm. Our three-mile trek took us up steep inclines and through masses of poison ivy-lined trails. We had to cross the creek eight times over slimy stones. The trail end leaves you to trek through a little RV park before finding the main road back to your car. I'm not complaining, just saying, "HOW ABOUT A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION AT THE START-UP?"

After our excursion up the mountain we plopped back into the Tahoe to find Iron Mountain Road out of Custer Park. We were pulling the trailer (I forgot to mention) since we were heading straight for Deadwood after our park visit. Iron Mountain is a scenic drive that also takes a high ascent through narrow roads and three tiny tunnels. Somehow, Robert managed to get us through there safely, but not without wear and tear on his nerves. I hadn't realized it till we reached an RV park in Deadwood; he was tired and bugged by the troubles inherent in setting up camp. Missing items, leaky hose, parking difficulties.

He gouged his finger helping Allison unfold her scooter. I made matters worse by being too picky about where to eat. I didn't realize the whole town was casinos with their hospital-like food. We had the worst meal ever at Deadwood Gulch Casino. You enter through the slot-machine lobby, naturally. Allison whispered to me how sad it was to see all those old people gambling. She'd overheard us sometime discussing the dark side of gambling and had the notion that these old people were fallen souls. She said, "They should be home in rocking chairs, knitting like grandmas should." What grandma knits these days?, I ask.

Deadwood looks mysterious by night. The mountains are close-in, dark and cupping. It really is just a gulch cut through the mountains, so the town seems to fold in on itself. The lights twinkle in the hills above the low historic main street, giving a feeling of being watched from all angles. Knowing a little about the racy and lawless history of Deadwood (via the HBO series Deadwood,) probably influences my perceptions a bit. Let's see what the morning light does to wash away the naughty allure of a town built on greed.

Custer Park rocks!

Lunch at the Cattleman's Restaurant in Custer followed by a tour of the Custer County Museum at the old courthouse. Then on the Custer State Park, which is basically a huge hunk of land you can drive a loop through. Everywhere there is wildlife: antelope, deer, bison, turkeys. The upper region is rocky and thick with Ponderosa pines. Erosion has formed the rocks into strange designs. The most notable is Needle rock, which indeed looks like a giant sewing needle.

Here we are driving through a tunnel formed between rock spires. The passageway is just large enough for a single car to fit through, though from this shot it's difficult to imagine anything slipping through.

Along the way we encountered herds of buffalo, some crossing the road. Turkey families darted through the brush. Donkeys stopped traffic to beg for snacks. Park rules say don't feed them, but we weren't the first, obviously, since they seemed very comfortable with leaning into the car window sniffing for food.

At the Blue Bell Lodge we stopped for coffee and apple pie. Bad apple pie. Still searching...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Getting comfortable

Big Pine Campground in Custer, South Dakota marks our first camp experience in the Airstream. Good choice, I say. The place is practically empty and the few campers here are so friendly and helpful. Robert's been in counsel all morning with the fellow parked next to us. Our neighbor is all too happy to share his trailer knowledge with a willing listener.

We have yet to shower in in our Airstream; we use the camp shower house which is clean, roomy, and just steps away. We have used the oven to bake cinnamon rolls and the stove top for scrambled eggs. Robert hung a clothesline between two pines. With our bath towels drying in the breeze I feel closer to being trailer trash. I like it.

Mt. Rushmore, I presume?

Mount Rushmore--Still impressive after all these years. Our first and only visit was in August of 1992. Today, the grounds have been all updated. There are museums and gift shops and a restaurant not there before.

But the biggest difference to us is that this time we bring our little girl where before it was our little boys

She read to us little factoids from the park brochure. We count that towards her "schooling." And though the presidents in granite impressed, she was maybe more taken with the museum and its exhibit that simulates exploding the mountainside with dynamite. One presses the chosen target in the rock then pushes the plunger. Boom! Kids love that stuff--that and pressing pennies through a souvenir machine which would seem a no-no in a federal park. Maybe a penny isn't considered protected legal tender these days.

A picture so pretty I had to post twice

Yes, I took this. Thank the natural beauty of Wyoming and a little added saturation via Photoshop. And, the subject matter being the splendidly sleek and shiny Airstream.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Free at Last

We took the advice of another Airstreamer and took the scenic roads out of Colorado rather than I-25 out of Denver. We were so glad we did. We headed up Highway 9 stopping in Kremmling to eat lunch at a cute diner/bakery called My Family Restaurant. The glazed donut I had was so good that I made Robert buy a whole apple pie for later. I have this notion that on this trip I will uncover the place that bakes the best apple pie. (However, we discovered later that MFR may have the worst.)

From Highway 9 we headed north toward Steamboat Springs, a town we'd visited years ago when Ryan had a baseball tournament there. I remember Robert declaring then he was going to find a stuffed buffalo head to bring home as a souvenir and we joked about where we'd hang it. Then he discovered how pricey they were and from then on we were eyeing every buffalo head in every restaurant wondering if it could be had for less. We are still on the lookout for "the deal."

Anyway, we skipped Steamboat and took more back roads to get to Laramie, Wyoming. In Laramie, we were given excellent directions by an employee outside an auto parts store for the best route to Custer, South Dakota. In wonderful Wyoming vernacular he said: I will forewarn you that 32 starts out all nice and straight but turns real twisty-like, but I believe it is the faster route." Once again we took someone's advice to forgo the Interstate and we were glad we did. If his recommended route was indeed quicker it wouldn't have mattered to us anyway--so beautiful was this road. We were alone for most portions and surrounded by 360 views of landscape and sky so stretching and vast that but for the highway and some utility lines the year could have been 1807 , not 2007. Beautiful, beautiful Wyoming!

We arrived in Custer after dark pulling into Big Pine Campgrounds where the manager had tacked our campsite info to the bulletin board outside the closed office. Robert managed to get us parked and hooked up before falling into bed. Allison and I stayed up watch Born Free on the DVD player. I think I was 10 when I first saw this movie and in my memory it was a glorious, touching tale of fuzzy lion cubs. Watching it with my daughter I was struck with how stiff and sappy and sexist it was-- the woman always resorting to near-hysterics to make a point and her husband always bossing her around, telling her to "Go to bed!" Forget the cubs woman--free yourself! Let Andy Williams and his Academy-award-winning song be the soundtrack for your escape. Run or toughen up!

30+ years later I finally get it: This film was propaganda for the feminist movement. Aha! I see now. What subversiveness! Born Free was not really about the lion cubs, but the cry against domination and manipulation in marriage. But of course, the message was lost on my young self. What else did I miss?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not a good idea after all

Robert hitched up the Airstream and took it to the welder to have a platform added for stowing the generator. While he was away I found that fellow Airstreamers from Airstream Forum had written to warn us not to add that platform. I went on to read a pile of admonitions against adding any weight to the back end of the trailer and they all sounded reasonable and even alarming ("You'll ruin your trailer.") So--I shared this with Robert who all along did not want to add the platform, but was doing so because I insisted on not having the generator ride along with us in the Tahoe. Now I was informing him that we should abort this effort. Of course, he was irritated at me for all the trouble this event caused, but glad in a sense to avoid the expense.

So, now we had to go retrieve our trailer, bring it back up the hill, and park it right back in the drive. We had to pay the welder a fee for his trouble--the trip he took to take a look at the trailer, and whatever else he did. A foolish adventure all around. And especially rotten for me, since the whole thing had been my idea.

My solace is in this fact: The both of us are complete novices in Airstreamology. We'll surely be taking turns at making mistakes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Deadwood on my mind

Tomorrow morning Airstream Abby gets a platform welded on her back-end so to tote the generator--Robert's department, so I don't know the exact details. We should be on the road to South Dakota by Friday morning. Hopefully, we'll make it to Custer in one day. We'll go north on 25 from Denver to Cheyenne then cross over to the Black Hills. I almost cut this trip out of our itinerary since it requires making a big loop eastward. Our general direction is straight north so to hit Calgary and Banff to visit friends there in early September. But it would be a shame to forsake the rich sights of South Dakota: the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood. Especially, Deadwood, since I now have an intense desire to check it out.

Actually the HBO series, Deadwood, is motivation enough to head to the Black Hills. Since I rented the first episode Robert and I have become hooked. In just three days we've watched the entire two seasons. We've become Deadwood heads! I'm embarrassed to admit to the hours we've wasted in front of the television. My back is stiff and Robert complains of a nagging headache, but God, I love that show.

The Airstream has become our movie theater since Deadwood is so vile and brimming with profanity that we have to hide it from Allison. We tried watching it in the condo but we were turning into rotten parents always saying, "Allie, get back to the basement!" What a joke that we haven't even camped yet. So far, our chic and shiny camper has served only as an expensive hideaway den.

That will all change soon enough.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Excuse me sir, but keeping your travel trailer in the parking lot violates the covenants of our homeowners association.

It was only a matter of time before someone came after us. A trailer in the drive is a no-no even if it is a shiny new Airstream. Robert managed to avoid a fine or tow and somehow convinced the property manager to allow us a few more days. Nothing he manages ever surprises me--I just duck out of sight and let him negotiate.

We are here until Friday.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I wore pink flip-flops to the Rodeo

We left the Airstream parked outside the condo and took a long drive. We went through Winter Park and Granby ending up in Kremmling, a cowboy town about 30 minutes north of Silverthorne. Robert discovered a rodeo was in progress. I wasn't prepared--I didn't have my telephoto lens or my boots, but that didn't stop me from crawling under the fence to get closer to the action. We saw the last two events: ladies barrel racing, and bull riding. One 12-year-old bull named Duster was such an old pro; he knocked-off his rider in less than one second then promptly trotted to the pen. Nobody got gored which took some of the fun out of the event for me.

All cowboy hats, boots, spurs, and tractor trailers--then somebody has to spoil the authenticity of the scene with their corporate jet!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Leveling Airstream Abby

For the week we've been parked in front of our condo in Silverthorne we have been unlevel. Every day I ask Robert to right us. Today he finally did. All it amounted to was hitching the trailer to the Tahoe and piling some plastic blocks to to run the Airstream wheels atop of. This, so far, has been the most taxing thing we've had to do. If there was an automatic leveler we didn't get it with the Airstream. We have to rely on old-fashioned eye-balling and checking the bathroom door to see it stops opening.

In the clouds

Allie and her daddy ride the chair lift for the Alpine Slide in Breckenridge.

Deep and Wide

The rain has gone and Summit County is once again the best place to be in summer. We hear that back home a heat wave is creating 100+ temps. Awwhhh.

We drove nearly two hours to Royal Gorge to see the world's highest suspension bridge. We weren't aware that it would cost over 20 dollars an adult to cross it. An "amusement" park of sorts surrounds the bridge. Overall, we weren't too impressed and even resentful of the strategically-placed gift shops we had to traverse through. Still, the site was interesting. The bridge sits about 1500 feet over the Arkansas River. I never found out why it was necessary to build or what lies on the other side. It seemed to end at another gift shop.

I enjoyed spying on this group of Mennonite (I think) women as they watched someone they knew ride the Rip-cord over the Gorge. The plain people fascinate me. How they reconcile themselves to the larger culture; how they protect their own--this fascinates me. I can't help staring, looking for cracks in their resolve. Are those Nike sneakers they're wearing? Is it okay that they eat a Big Mac?

Once, in Las Vegas, I saw a gaggle of them following their bearded man-leader through the buffet at a casino. Were they here to gamble? See Sodom up close? Would they turn to salt? Was that a cell phone hooked to her elastic waistband? And once, while having my latte at Starbucks in Kansas City, I looked up to see two young plain women carrying pink bling-bling handbags fashioned with sequined initials. Little concessions, little cracks. I worry for them. I want them to stay quaint and untainted. But they are women, so it's only a matter of time before they go bad like the rest of us. The day I see one in Pucci print I'll know the end in near.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Can't beat McQueen for cool

Charming as the constant rainfall has been it has put a damper on our outdoor plans like taking the kids hiking, or to the Superslide in Breckenridge. We did get one hike up Lily Pad Trail before the rain moved in. Sara informed me that she and I will hike Buffalo Mountain this time. I hope we get to. She is all buff and in-shape these days and I pray I can keep up with her.

What else do you do when it rains but have a movie marathon? We removed the framed art prints from the condo living room wall and Luke and I set up my projector. We put the girls in the Airstream to watch a movie with less-adult content. Today, Allison recounted the movie for me. "My Big Fat Jew Wedding" she called it and I bit my lip. Jew, Greek, what's the difference to her? It was a heck of a funny movie. We adults struck out more than once with our picks. I want my wasted hours back! Well, actually, tonight we watched the latest ROCKY movie which I thought was so so sweet and tender, as much as possible for a movie with boxing in it. But the best movie of all was the 20 minutes or so Robert and I watched on the bar television at Briar Rose in Breckenridge of the marvelous Steve McQueen racing through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt. Every flannel-clad patron at the bar was cheering for McQueen, the icon of 60's cool. Where are those stars today? Or those cars? Is that a cell phone in his bag?

While the kids were off with Sara and Ed, and while I dipped into a clothing store "just to look," Robert found a cozy spot at the westernized-Victorian style, Briar Rose, where the walls are painted blood red and accented with paintings of reclining naked ladies. The Briar Rose was a boarding house for silver miners back in the late 1800's. It still retains the flavor of those days even if now you can get a Heineken with your buffalo steak.

Oh, the euphoric smell of new

We are still parked out front of and plugged into the condo in Silverthorne. I cancelled our reservations for the campsite at Lake Dillon since this current situation is just too cozy. We shower and launder, cook and loiter in the condo saving the Airstream from any misuse. I aim to keep it in a perpetual state of pristine for as long as possible: I want the euphoria to last. Impossible, I know.

I'm after everyone to remove their shoes, put away their clothes, and replace everything to its proper place. If they don't comply I will turn into a wicked witch with the new O-Cedar broom I keep stored in the shower. I feel so clever at my organization of our 200-something square feet of domicile. I managed to neatly tuck our stuff into a sensible order, careful not to overstuff or to underthink the logic of placement. Allie's stuff goes in the bins below the sofa and the overhead cabinet. My camera stuff has its bin; bug spray and first aid items go in the cabinet by the door. Our seasonal clothing is in space bags and Rubbermaid containers left in the car. The Yamaha generator sitting currently in the condo garage needs a spot. Robert wants to have a hitch/platform thing added to the back of the trailer and I say, "Good idea," since the thought of carting it around in the Tahoe is unpleasant as is stowing it in the Airstream while in motion.

I've decided it's actually nicer to keep the dining table-top retracted in favor of the sofa arrangement/Allison's bed. With the table down we have a large "L" sofa which is especially cozy. However, Allison, being a child, finds it fun to make a fort with the pillows. I figure any harmless amusement she invents is okay seeing we allowed her only a tiny bag of her "toys" from home. Right now, the Airstream seems to all of us like a super-chic playhouse. We have yet to camp. Maybe this is the very best way to begin. Just like dipping a big toe in the water, we are slowly getting a feel for what we are about to dive in to.