No climbing here. . . but a couple of my TacoBrethren were involved in the pre-trip planning process.
SOOOOOOOO . . . .I'm back on TheHolyMont after quite a run of weirdness. . . good weirdness, but weirdness, nonetheless.
If you'll recall, before I left, I was on a quest for an iPod. . . so I could run audio books through my car stereo using one of those cassette tapes that plugs into the device. . . and. . . well. . . I ended up with an iPadMini . . . OhDaddy!
Then on test drive day (down to my Toyota dealer for an overall check-up before a 5K miler). . . my car stereo completely took the chop. SOOOOOO. . . I sat in the waiting room at Toyota, stealing their WiFi, and found a car stereo place in Kalispell and read everything I could about new car stereos.
AND. . . as luck would have it, as I was checking out from Toyota they told me my tires were wearing wrong and needed to be replaced. . . with all of 15K miles on them. . . they were 80K mile tires . . . SOOOOOO. . . it was stereo time. . . then tire replacement time. . . and in order to facilitate that, I had to get a room down there a week later. . .
TickTockTickTock. . .
So. . . with a killer new NAV/Bluetooth car stereo, new tires . . . I was ready to roll.
THEN. . . out of the frikken blue. . . just a measly 3 days before leaving, one of the zones on my irrigation system stuck OPEN. . . dood. . . had that happened while I was gone ? ? ? ? Well. . . it could have flooded my house, burned up the well pump. . . on and on and on. . .
SOOOOOOO. . . Blanchard talked me through the diagnostics and assured me it was NOT a job I could do. . . and I lined up the local irrigation specialist to come out when I got home, shut the system down and hoped and prayed that the weather pattern, of rain through June, would stand true. . . and I hit the road.
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. . . the trip was RAD. . . first day out I drove in serious (skiable) snow for 6 of my 8 hours. . . and got mega coRnfused listening to "Under The Dome" when I inadvertently punched the wrong button on my steering wheel and the book jumped ahead 16 hours. . .
Then on to St. George, UT. . . my traveling pal Joni, from Philly, flew in and we headed to the Desert Pearl in Springdale.
It was Memorial Day Weekend. . . rendering Zion a frikken ZOO! That was cool, though. . . we headed out to a secret spot I knew of and had a blast. . . then drove to the NorthRim of the Grand Canyon where we had a new little cabin on a huge meadow for a couple nights.
WHAT A PLACE!
Then it was on to Moab and up to Colorado National Monument where we stopped at and walked out to every single vista point/trail through the entire monument. What a weird place. . . all this nature just clinging to the edge of a cliff teetering above Grand Junction. . . VERY WEIRD. Seemed almost inconceivable that we should be looking down into a city, nawmean?
Survival told me about a killer sushi place, "NO COAST SUSHI" in GJ. . . so . . . of course we went there.
OH DADDY. . . what a treat. . . . owned by a white guy, classically trained in Japan, whose mom owns a trad sushi place in town. . . and he opened a HIPSTER place. . . we sat in a deep purple room with brightly colored ceiling lamps, next to a huge aquarium, waited on by a DARLING young guy with a bleached blonde MOHAWK.
It was MOHAWK MAY. . . they usually do Moustache May but changed it up. . . and everybody working there (all darling guys) had to have brightly colored mohawks. . . HI-FRIKKEN-LARIOUS!
Really good food. . . and gluten free, for me. . . our waiter actually CARED about that. . . and set it all up!
Then it was on to Thornton (a 'burb of Denver) to stay at my sister's new place (she just moved there from behind the OrangeCurtain).
The drive up (to 10,400 feet) and over Vail (the 70) was INSANE. . . snowed like a mother father. . . blew Joni's mind. . . didn't blow mine. . . since I've only driven the 70 ONCE when it wasn't snowing or running 4 inches deep in snow melt.
THEN. . . it was dinner with my sister and niece, her husband and kid. . . and off to Rocky Mountain NP in the morning.
Lots of touristy jive. . . big wind. . . and an illegal parking place where we all clambered in the back of my car and had lunch out of the wind. That was really fun. . . we just pigged right out of the ice chest!
While we were there, a weird sound started emanating from the back of my car. . . it came and went. . . so I shined it.
Tarbuster and I had sorta kinda planned to meet up at the Carousel of Happiness in Ned, but. . . what was I thinking? Dood. . . three women just don't move that fast. . . and it became painfully obvious that we couldn't spread ourselves any thinner.
Thanks a million for all the pre-trip beta!
A couple days later I took Joni to the airport (a city unto itself) outside Denver and I headed toward Mt Shasta. . . my first day out was a planned 11.5 hour marathon to Elko, NV. . . I've driven between Boulder and Shasta many, many times over the passed decade. . . but haven't taken this route since I was a kid. . . so. . . 2 months prior, I reserved a room there. . . and. . . get this. . . 50 east of town it started sounding like I was pulling a mile of chain link fence behind my car. That room, at the Marriot, didn't come too soon.
Thinking something had to be wrong with my new tires, I took my car to Les Schwab the next morning. . . only to be told to take her to the Toyota dealer. . . where they found that the left rear wheel bearings were dying. . . get this. . . from the ice melt chemicals CA and MT use on the roads = magnesium chloride.
Now the good part . . . the biggest cultural event of the year was about to happen in town. . . and. . . I could have my room for ONE MORE NIGHT. . . and the Toyota dealer from HellKo needed 3 days to get the parts and do the work. . . then charge me over TWICE what the dealer in Reno would have (same with my dealer here. . . they told me that HellKo had given me the "Out of Towner Special!") (all is not lost, corporate Toyota is dealing with it for me.)
SOOOOOOOOOO. . . there I was. . . frikken destined to being on the streets.
I actually thought I'd take a taxi to the local hospital and would just hang out in their waiting room for a couple days. . . or maybe call the cops and see if I could hang out in one of their off duty cruisers.
Ten years ago this wouldn't have fazed me. . . but. . . apparently, I've become I've become lily livered in my old age!
BUT. . . there was this bitchen lady at the front desk of the Marriot who took me under her wing. . . and although the entire town was booked for "THE MINING EXPO" (Elko's #1 employer is gold mining, if you're ready for that.) . . . she offered me the number to the manager of her TRAILER PARK . . . hopefully he'd have a trailer I could stay in for a couple days.
Then. . .out of the blue. . . she called my room and said she'd been able to move a bunch of stuff around and I could keep my room. . . it almost TRIPLED in price. . . but. . . at that point, what's another couple hundie or four?
SOOOOOOOOOOOOO. . . when my car was finally done. . . I fired to Shasta, hooked a UHAUL trailer to it, loaded my garbellion into it - in 97F heat - almost fainted once, had to get low to regain my vision, got a 911 nose bleed from the dryness and rolled, with the AC set on MEAT LOCKER, to Bend, Oregon. . . where I checked into the Shilo (old but very cool place, there) took a COLD SHOWER. . . ate out of the frikken ice chest, again, and slept like the proverbial bag of hammers!
The rest of the drive went beautifully!
And. . . the GreatGoddessOfUHAUL granted me the great fortune of being able to return the trailer here instead of driving it an hour south. (initial plan was to return it down there and do a CostCo run). . . but they were very nice and let me return it here. . . for no additional fees!
HOW COOL IS THAT!
So. . . all that garbellion is in the garage. . . screaming at me to be put away. . . and the first thing on the
"SERIOUSLY, DO NOW"
list was to get the irrigation fixed.
Well. . . this dad who came out is somebody we've done business with for 11 years. . . and he's DARLING. . . big, strong, mellow and obviously hatched out on the same rock as Blanchard. . . man. . . watching this dad was like taking in a beautifully choreographed dance. . . dood. . . he waltzed through it. . . fixed it. . . and was rollin' downhill in less than 30 minutes!
OK. . . it was water like hell. . . (it had been off for almost 3 weeks). . . then MOW. . .
OK. . . here it comes. . .
THE MOWER'S BLADES STOPPED TURNING.
Our 1960 Montgomery Wards tractor:
finally gave up the ghost. . . Blanchard talked me through the diagonostics over the phone. . . and. . . well. . . that sucker wasn't going to cut grass again til somebody fixed it (if it's fixable, that is). . . and that somebody wasn't gonna be me. . . and Blanchard isn't coming up til September.
SOOOOOOOOOOO. . . the ONLY place in town that does that kind of work is so totally booked they can't do "House Calls". . .
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. . . we decided to just hire a lawn care company til September. . . are you sitting down? ? ? ?
THEY ARE ALL BOOKED!
Seems the onslaught of oil rich Calgarians building new places and planting new lawns has overtaxed this tiny community's lawn care businesses.
Isn't he BEAUTIFUL?
Who in the SamHill could have seen this coming?
SOOOOOOOOOOO. . . now. . . we're running a new Husqvarna (back when I was racing motocross, we called them HunkVarnas). . . mower and a new Stihl string trimmer. . . and I'm the designated driver. . . hell. . . maybe I should start a lawn care service. . .
I'll call it:
What a ride.
Ya know. . . I think it was Nietzsche who said:
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
To that, I say. . . in a heavy Long Island accent:
P.S. Blanchard says he's going to take the mowing deck off the old machine and we'll use it for the heavy lifting around here. . . like pulling the yard trailer and hauling logs. . . rocks. . . weeds. . . whew. . . when you own a forest, you look at heavy lifting a little different than the way you did when you just lived in one!