Friday, June 29, 2007

Road Trip With "Little" Brother

Several weeks ago when I posted plans about my Wyoming trip, I got a call from my "little" brother, #4. He commented that he had some vacation time coming up and wouldn't mind a road trip if I had space available. The Wyoming trip wasn't possible with him because of the dates I had planned but I told him I was doing another week long "training session" in July and this one would be in the mountains of Colorado. That suited him, so I got to planning.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have three brothers, two of which are younger and I have one older brother. We now are scattered throughout the US and Canada and consequently don't see each other too much. #4 and I probably have seen more of each other over the years than the rest of the brothers. That's because for a while we both lived in Texas and then for a 10 year stretch we both lived in Georgia and saw one another periodically. As brothers go we get along famously.... probably in part because there is an 8 year age difference and I was out of the house, on my own during his "formative" years. The picture above is of #4 and me in about 1969, which is obviously in #4's "formative" years. You can see why I use quotation marks around the term little when I refer to him.

So that's an introduction to #4. I will admit that he's less geeky now and I'm not ashamed to be seen on the street with him anymore. Besides that he
's a fantastic cook and if I play my cards right on this trip I won't have to bring that extra case of Beanie Weanie's that I normally take when I want to eat high on the hog. You'll hear more about him in later posts.

Here's the short plan for the trip.........

Day #1 - Drive from Denver Metro area to the vicinity of Marble, CO

Day #2 - Go from Marble to the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Day #3 & #4 - Soak up the Colorado high country at a campsite at 9300' elevation in the general vicinity of Creede, Co

Day #5 - Drive to and spend the night at Cottonwood Lake. This particular spot was a favorite of our parents when we lived here in the mid 1960's and we camped here as a family many times. I don't think #4 has been back to this place since we left Colorado in 1965 so it will be interesting to see if he remembers anything about the place after he sees it again.

Day #6 - Darnit we gotta go home!

We leave in eight days!

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Think I've Been Snatched by Aliens?

Last night even though I slept well, I woke up with an odd feeling. It wasn't something that I could pinpoint. I felt fine physically. Everything looked normal in my home and outside, but I had this odd indescribable feeling.

Sometime in mid morning I decided to check out the local news web site on my computer and that's when it all became clear to me. I've been snatched by aliens! Snatched and transported to another a shadow world. Everything appears to be the same as in my old world but there are little details that give everything away.

I think the aliens have put me on the planet Leftus Liberalus in the galaxy of Bleeding Heartus Major. From what I can deduce this planet is populated by a civilization called "Can't We All Just Get Along" and it's obvious that the civilization is in BIG trouble. That must be why they snatched me? I haven't had much of a chance to look around yet but it's dollars to donuts that they are stacking me on the right side of the planet, trying to correct the tilt a little bit.

Unbelievable you say? That's what I thought at first but I'm sure of it. Only on a different planet would someone be given a ticket for killing a rattlesnake that just bit someone!

I can hear you whispering, "His-Self really needs to retire!" and I'll have you know that while that may be true it has nothing to do with this. The local news station on this planet has reported that a young boy was bitten inside a garage by a rattlesnake. The snake was killed and taken to the emergency room with the boy and ....well don't take my word for it...

"The snake was killed and put into a plastic gallon milk jug. Greg says he learned a valuable lesson about what to do with a rattlesnake when it attacks. "We were informed that any time you're bitten by a snake, you're not to act on it (kill it)," said Greg. He says Larimer County Animal Control came to the emergency room to write a citation for cruelty to animals. Ditus explained the story, saying they had not tortured the snake, and was let off with only a warning. "

I don't know if your computer can pick up signals from this planet but if it can read the whole story here.

I don't know if I'll make it out of here alive.....Wait a minute, that's stupid. If people get in trouble for killing rattlesnakes after they've bitten people I certainly don't have to worry about dying... only about getting out of here....

Someone please call The Bride and tell her I'll be late for dinner!!

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tools of the Trade

After considering my last post, the thought occurred to me that readers might think that I was not REALLY serious in describing my training session yesterday? I need to assure you that I was indeed. After all, retirement will hopefully last as long or nearly as long as my working career. I went to high school and college to prepare myself for the working world but unfortunately there is no formal training for retirement. Quite the opposite. I have found that the business community in general has a rather poor view of retirement and certainly doesn't make it easy for the average person to achieve that status much less be knowledgeable about it when the time comes. People who want to succeed in retirement need to take matters into their own hands and self train to be prepared.

Realizing the amount of time that I could devote to the hammock, it is reasonable to make sure that my knowledge level of this apparatus is adequate to serve my needs.....and since it's blistering hot outside and I'm not gonna do any of that "catch up" stuff that was on my list....I thought that I might like to share with you some "Tools of the Trade".

Used to be, I thought a hammock was a hammock. I was young and immature, without a clear vision of the future, so what did it matter to me? As I grew older I began to realize that this was a wonderful device and there were a multitude of different types of hammocks. I certainly didn't want to be a "jack of all and master of none" type so in recent years I have decided to focus my efforts on two basic types. I just don't have time enough to master all of them!

I have narrowed down the types of hammocks that I use to two. The first, is one of the most common of types in North America. It's the one I have used for years and am still training on and is referred to as a Pawley's Island hammock. The name comes from the small coastal island in South Carolina where this design originated. It is constructed of knotted rope and has wooden stretchers on either end to provide a relatively flat and stable bearing surface. While the learning curve is not terribly steep on this model it can still take years of practice to master all of the intricacies of this versatile design.

Some common accessory items are a pillow....and on the really expensive models, an automatic cold beverage delivery device, sometimes referred to as a wif

Some of the less desirable features are that it is a pretty static platform. That is, it needs a couple of posts or trees or something to support it and the associated hardware to attach to the support devices. The cold beverage delivery device requires a TON of maintenance and is very expensive but that's true for any type of hammock that has this accessory.

The Pawley's Island hammock is not really very portable and for that reason, I employ one other type of hammock. This hammock was designed to travel. It has with it, it's own support system and can be set up in less than a minute. It doesn't have the wooden stretchers and is a little more unstable as a weight distribution platform. That negative is balanced by the fact that it is much lower to the ground and chances of injury due to falling is m
uch less.

One other important point is that the portable
hammock has a continuous platform, a piece of fabric, and does not have the integral cooling or drainage holes that the knotted design of the Pawley's Island design offers. This can be a big negative if the user is not able to handle platform manipulation and a beverage at the same time. A spilled hot or cold drink does not drain automatically as on the Pawley's Island design but rather accumulates at the low point of the occupied platform....and you know where that is!

I'll quickly comment on two other hammock designs with which I have some experience..... Fortunately my experience with the jungle hammock is somewhat limited but I could never really get the hang of this device.... I suppose it was the snakes or the bugs or the fact that every time I was in a position to sleep in this contraption there was always someone in the vicinity trying to kill me.

The final hammock is the chair hammock... and the only comment I have on this design is... "What's the point?"

I hope this information is helpful to those who may be in or near the position of retirement. I also hope that
my friends and acquaintances can now see why it is that I am so serious about this matter?

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Making The Best Of It

The weekend finds me here at home and not traveling the roads with Bivouac. Since there are still 769 days until complete freedom I guess I can't complain too much....Besides I have another trip planned which I'll tell you about a little later. This day was payback for my Wyoming trip. There was grass to mow, trimming to be done and a lot of general cleanup and maintenance work.
Since I was home, I took The Emmer to work this morning at 6am. The Emmer, by the way, has decided to try for her driver's license once more towards the end of July. She has passed the written test and only needs to pass the actual driving test. We will double up on her practice driving to help her get ready. We all look forward to the freedom she will have once she gets that license!

Even though this was a "payback weekend" I still needed to be vigilant and train for my days of retirement. With this in mind, after a full day of chores, I broke out the hammock for another training session.
Hammocks can be dangerous things and they need to be treated with respect. I have a friend who suffered serious, though gratefully not fatal, grass burns as a result of a lack of respect for this complex weight distribution apparatus. There is a technique to the proper utilization of a hammock that can take years to master. I have vowed to be a master by the time I retire so practice is important.

Look at the picture above. This is the basic "on your back with feet uncrossed" position. Note the tilt of the hammock cross bar....pitiful. I need a lot of work on that one!

After about 45 minutes of practice with this, the most basic of maneuvers, I was able to achieve a respectable orientation. The crossbar is level and the end ropes are uniformly positioned and stretched to the post. I had to experiment with numerous butt to head orientations to finally overcome the list to the left. Being a natural lefty it is much harder to overcome this dip to the

Once I had a good handle, or should I say footle, on the most basic of positions, it was time to press the envelope a bit. At the next level of difficulty is the "crossed feet" position and within this position there are two subsets....the "left foot over right foot" and the "right foot over left foot".

As I mentioned, I am a natural lefty so "left foot over right foot" was the place to begin! Alas, I had the same initial problems with this position as I did with the uncrossed position. List to the left. I was really disgusted with myself and almost took the easy way out of quitting and going back to yard work but I didn't work for 35 years to just give up! No sir! I dug deep. I tried every butt to head orientation my body would allow. I was so exhausted that at one point I almost fell asleep but I didn't give up and before you know it....viola...perfecto!

This is akin to learning how to ride a bicycle. You try and try and just can't seem to get it when all of a've got it! And just to prove to myself that I indeed "had it", I went for the "right foot over left foot" position and without missing a beat....I aced that one too! Well, to be humble about it maybe I didn't ace the last one but it was pretty darned good.

All these contortions and dangerous butt to head maneuvers really took their toll on me so after this last success I put the hammock away and went inside for a well deserved nap.

Since I'm home tomorrow as well I guess I'll do some more catching up on yard work and then if I can stand the mental strain I might...just might, pull the hammock out again for another training session.

Thanks for visiting.

P.S. I'm so drained, I'll wait till the next post to fill you in on the next road trip...but I'll give you a little tidbit. You're going to get to know #4 a lot better!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's NOT Genetic - Thank Goodness

I come from a family of four boys. I am #2 son. All of my brothers tower over me in terms of size. All of them are over six feet tall. As a reference look at the picture above. This picture was taken in about 1957. I am the sharp looking one, second from the right.

At this time I was 10 years old. My older brother to my right was only THIRTEEN years old. Compare his height to mine....My younger brothers to the left of me were 5 years and 2 years old at the time. Compare their height to mine. I didn't break the five foot barrier until I was in my teens and topped out at a hair under 5'7" in my "mature" years.

So, you're wondering why my title says "It's Not Genetic - Thank Goodness". Tall is good, right? Not necessarily. Not if you're not. There are a lot more things much more important. Looks comes to mind as one benchmark.

Not even 20 years later here's what happened to #3 son.

Not even 20 years later here's what happened to #4 son.

Number one son learned his lesson early on and avoided telling photographs, so I don't have any pictures of him to prove my point but you can clearly see the trend in sons #3 and why would you doubt my word about #1 son?

They say that blood is thicker than water and it is. In spite of the unfortunate turn of events for them, I still love them. I know they were stricken by a hideous genetic trait that I was destined to avoid. I "rose above it" in a non-gravitational way.

Today we are all pretty scattered across the continent and don't get together too often. Through the magic of computers and the internet, however, we stay in touch.....So, #1, #3 and #4, just to let you know, I feel your pain and I'm here for ya bros.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Guitar" Gets Hatted - The Finale

About ten weeks ago, Guitar took the big plunge and committed to a custom cowboy hat from Smitty of Colorado Mountain Hat Company in Fairplay. Too Tall and myself had already gotten our hats from Smitty, and I guess Guitar just couldn't stand being the odd man out....although come to think of it he is plenty odd...but that's another post all to itself.

Back in late March, Guitar chose the style, the color and even the hat band but because this is truly a custom hat it takes about 10 weeks for the final product to be ready. This is not your "go look in that stack of hats and find one that fits" thing. Smitty uses the outline that the conforminator provided at the first sitting, but there is still fine tuning to be done and that requires a final sitting.

Smitty also has to instruct Guitar in the "rules of the hat" if you take it off and set it down, set it on the crown not the brim. There are other rules too and this is serious stuff after all it's a CUSTOM hat. You can see in the picture below that Guitar is
really concentrating on remembering all the rules.

Finally after a few tweaks t
o the fit, and a few last minute instructions from Smitty the hat is passed (in more ways than one) to Guitar and he is now a member of the custom cowboy hat circle!

As part of this elite circle we also showed him the secret handshake....The picture below does NOT show the secret handshake because if it wouldn't be a secret anymore so for the purposes of this post Guitar is "pretending" to do the secret handshake!

All of this had a serious impact on Guitar and he was caught up in the solemnity of the moment, so much so that he bought lunch! Amazing what a hat will do to a guy.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Lest anyone think that my last post was making fun of Wyoming....well it was, but in a good way. I don't want to get hate mail from the coal coalition or the antelope society. I'm not against either one. I really like antelope! Some of my best friends.....nah, that doesn't fit. Anyway, antelope are cool. I'd rather have antelope than prairie dogs anytime. There actually were antelope around my house in the suburbs of Denver, before the other 50,000 people moved in. As for the coal cars and coal trains, I'm not against them at all. I made a big deal out of having A/C during the last week. I realize that coal trains allow me to have A/C....I just kinda wonder why they ALL have to go through Wyoming....AND why they stalked me for the last week.

Look, if you had a choice between...


Which would you choose???

I live in a cool place with lots of people and cars and other things. This place allows me make a living and hopefully have a retirement that will allow me to count antelope whenever I want.

Unlike W.C. Fields and his proposed obituary, "On the whole, I'd rather be living in Philadelphia."

I'd rather be living......

I luv ya Wyoming!!!!

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Will The Real Wyoming Please Stand Up?

Is it.....




Headed South

June 14 - Yes, it was a pleasant night. Earlier last evening a bunch of cars pulled into the park around Bivouac and I thought my Joe Btfsplk was kicking in again. After looking at the cars again I noticed that they were all Vws. Seems like the local VW club was doing an evening drive and pulled in the park to chat. There were about 5 Beetles, one dune buggy and one van. Pretty cool. Since I was “roughing” it I turned in when it got dark at about 9:00 pm and consequently I was up at light…about 5:00 am. That was alright with me as I wanted to cruise the downtown area to see if there were any neat buildings and with Bivouac behind me, earlier is better.

Sheridan has a very nice downtown area. Not large but neat and clean with several notable buildings including the Mint Bar. When I saw the sign I kicked myself for not looking downtown last night so I could get a shot of the sign with the lights on. As I stood there at 6:20 am the “opening” crew walked up to the front door. Some sweet talk by me (ah yes, His-Self still has IT!) and they turned the sign lights on just so I could take a picture….not as good as at night but you get the picture...see above

After a couple of pictures it was on the road south to Buffalo, WY. The guide book says it’s a pretty neat downtown area….they are right. Central to the downtown area is the Occidental Hotel. This is a restored old hotel that Teddy Roosevelt stayed in at one time. The hotel has won the honor of "Best Hotel in the West" from True West magazine.

I was there at about 8 am and there was hardly anyone on the streets. I wandered into the hotel and looked at the lobby, bar, barber shop and restaurant. Breakfast was being served on the outside patio so I sat down and had a cup of coffee which they gave me for free. My kind of place!

After spending about an hour downtown it was time to head south…gotta make
it home sometime tomorrow so I can be with Guitar when he gets his “caboy” hat!

The guide book said there is a city park in Wheatland, WY that offers free overnight camping with electric and water. I’m getting into this “free” stuff. I didn’t mention it the other day but my one night in the KOA at Devil’s Tower cost $40!!!. I could almost stay in a motel for that. Anyway, free is good.

I arrived in Wheatland and found the park at about 1:30 pm, set up Bivouac and had some lunch. Today’s training schedule included a session of taking an afternoon nap in Bivouac……which I completed in fine style. The campground has a pay for use internet hotspot which I signed up for ($9.95) since I wasn’t paying any camping fees. It’s proving to be quite a hassle as the reception fluctuates quite a bit. If this doesn’t get posted on the 14th you’ll know why.

This is my last night on the road and this trip has surpassed my wildest expectations. I suppose tomorrow night I’ll start Rvers post partum blues but I have to keep reminding myself that this is practice for the big event. When that time arrives I will be able to go when and for however long I like, if I can get it byThe Bride. I expect, however, that after about a month of retirement she'll be the one suggesting I go somewhere!

Thanks for visiting.

Big Sky Country and Back to Antelope Land

June 13 - My plans to hike around the tower the very first thing this morning was a bust. After a very fitful sleep, without the sounds of trains screaming through the trailer every 30 minutes or so, I got up at about 5:30 rarin’ to go. I fixed a light breakfast with the thought that I’d eat a little more after the hike. When I opened the blinds in the trailer it looked like someone draped the windows with cotton?….Cotton?…no, fog. I might as well walk around the trailer with my eyes closed. Rats!!

Alright the heck with it, Little Big Horn beckons. I was out of the campground by 7:30 on my way to arguably the second most famous battle site in the United States. Only Gettysburg in my mind is more famous.

I took somewhat of a back way by going north into Montana and then west on Highway 212. It was a great ride. I saw a little bit of everything. Pine forest, verdant valleys, prairie, buttes, wild turkey, mule deer and antelope….plenty of antelope. I’m thinking’ after spending several days in Wyoming we should change the state symbol to either an antelope or a coal car!

Montana is truly the “Big Sky Country” At one point I drove 30 miles without seeing another vehicle of any type. Man it was great driving down a road being able to see 10-15 miles off and not a car on the road. Oh, Big Sky Country is also Pay Attention to Your Gas Country as well. Wyoming has nothing on Montana in that regard. If you’re at a half a tank it’s time to start lookin and maybe worrying. I had learned this lesson on Sunday so I was never in a situation to start worrying.

The Little Big Horn National Monument is not marked real well. Maybe it was because I came in on a “back” road but I just happened to see the monument on a distant hill before I saw any signs at all. It must be marked better on the Interstate approaches because there were a lot of people there for a Wednesday. Parking is very limited and I was lucky enough to get what looked like the last RV spot.

What can I say about the site itself? It was not at all what I expected. I guess my expectations were not that great. I’ve visited some of the worlds great battle sites and in my experience a lot of them are a bit of a let down. Not this one. This was simply overwhelming. It was a stunning day, clear, not a bit of haze, high 70’s. You could see the entire area from Last Stand Hill. The hill itself was steeper and much more pronounced than I had pictured. The markers indicating where soldiers fell, looked like little white soldiers grouped frantically together. As the Ranger described the movements of the participants you could clearly see in your minds eye, soldiers and Indians moving over the terrain. I spent about two and a half hours there and didn’t even drive the road over to Benteen hill. I’ve just gotta come back to this place. It was more of an experience than I ever thought it would be.

After spending all the time I could there it was time to head south and start making my way back to Colorado. I decided to spend this night in Sheridan, WY. One of my RV resources indicated that there was another city park here that allowed free overnight camping. This one (Washington Park) does not have any electric or water hookups so I am more roughing it that I have yet on this trip. The good news is that the temperatures are pleasant and the park is wooded, providing shade. It should be a pleasant night.

I’m not sure exactly what tomorrows plan is….there is none. I’ll decide in the morning and you’ll hear about it when I figure it out myself.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Close Encounter

June 12 - I kidded yesterday about “roughing” it with electricity, wifi and A/C at the RV place I stayed at last night in Newcastle. For those other RV’ers, The Auto-Inn Motel & RV Park sounds just wonderful in their blurb in Woodall’s guide…”Brand New!”, “FREE WiFi, “Very Clean and Neat!” Brand New translates to a freshly gouged out hillside which is probably a hell hole after a rain and wasn’t too great last night either.

Just about the time I finished unhooking and setting up Bivouac, the first train rolled by. Now I told you that while in Torrington a lot of trains came through town and I didn’t mind. In Torrington the railroad tracks were about a hal
f mile away. Last night the train tracks were about 150 yards from Bivouac! I swear you could not see the tracks until a train went by…and it wasn’t just one or two. It was every 30-45 minutes. I foolishly decided it wouldn’t be too bad and decided to tough it out. When it got dark, in the rest of the Newcastle, I discovered the high intensity “security” lights right next to Bivouac. When I have every light on inside Bivouac it’s not as light as what shined through the doors and windows last night!………..AND to top it all off, no WiFi. They were having ISSUES!

So, I don’t want to hear any pissy comments about “roughing” it in a well equipped trailer. Trailer people rough it too!….As Goethe said “Alle ist relativ”. Look it up.

Needless to say I was up early and on the road earlier than usual. Destination, Devil’s Tower. It was overcast and drizzly so the temps were almost chilly. I got to Devil’s Tower without incident and got a great camp spot in the KOA which is right outside the National Monument. I have a wonderful view of the tower right out the trailer.

The good news is that I got Bivouac squared away before the downpour started. (Those poor people in Auto-Inn..) The bad news is that it poured and my plans for a hike around the tower got washed out. The good news is that allowed me to catch up on the blog. (WiFi works just fine here.) I’m thinking there’s an easy 1.3 mile trail around the base of the tower that I can do first thing tomorrow morning. Then it’s off to Montana.

I’m supposed to be back home by Friday late so that Saturday I can go with the circle to get
Guitar’s custom cowboy hat in Fairplay. Yes the day is here and Guitar has an appointment for a final “fitting”. (If the hat doesn’t fit, they shave his head and try again!) In looking at the map today I realize that I’m a little further from home than I realized. It’s going to be a chore to be back by Friday but I’m going to try. I’ve also got a little issue with the weight distribution hitch for Bivouac that I’m watching closely and hope it’ll get me home without incident. We’ll see.

Thanks for visiting.

Happy Birthday Mom 1920-2006

We miss you.......................................

Wide Open Wyoming

June 11 - After watching a DVD last night I was in bed by 10 pm. I slept fitfully although the guide book was right…..coal trains rumbled through town about every half hour. Even though they woke me up 3-4 times I really didn’t mind and fell back to sleep almost immediately.

I was up at 5:30 and fixed a breakfast of oatmeal, breakfast burrito and French press coffee. Can’t beat that with a stick! While eating I read up on my plans for the day, foremost of which was a visit to Fort Laramie. It was only 10 miles down the road and didn’t open till 8 am so I took my time eating and hooking Bivouac up and straggled in to the fort at 8:15 am. What a great place! I spent almost 4 hours walking around and looking at all the restored buildings and displays. The National Parks Service has really done an outstanding job here. While walking around I saw a bunch of Parks employees so it looks like they are getting enough money to support this historic place.

In 1834 mountain man extraordinaire, William Sublette and a group of trader/trappers constructed the first “fort” in the area. The military took over in 1849 and the fort was finally decommissioned in 1890. If you want to get the feel of military life on the frontier, this is a great place to come. I won’t go into great detail because you can read it here.

The best story of the day isn’t about the frontier army, the cavalry, Indians or all that glorified western stuff. The best, most poignant story of the day is a story of a nobody, a woman who died traveling with her family across the west to Oregon. Mary Homsley really was a nobody to everyone in the world but the few that were related to her. Her husband, mother and father, ten brothers and sisters and two daughters.

Mary Homsley died as a result of both a case of measles and from being thrown into the Laramie River while crossing it in a wagon. She was buried in a land her surviving relatives knew they would never return to. She was buried and left behind as the others struggled to get to Oregon. Her resting spot was forgotten and lost for 75 years when cowboys stumbled upon it. Look at these pictures and you will see and feel the true story of the west, the countless forgotten people that made this land what it is today.

The grave site is on a dirt road about four miles from the old fort. You really have to want to go there to get to it. I ended up parking Bivouac on the side of a little dirt road and walking the last mile to get there. I’m glad I did.

The rest of the day was spend in getting to Newcastle. The temperatures we in the mid 90’s again so I wasn’t up for a lot of outdoor activity. I was going to stay at a primitive campsite but with the weather forecast calling for mid to upper 90’s until tomorrow, I opted for a commercial RV place in Newcastle that had electricity so I could have A/C. Man I love this camping stuff….close to nature and A/C and all of that!

Newcastle is a very small town of about 3000 and it’s claim to fame is that it’s close to Sturgis of motorcycle rally fame and gets the overflow crowd every summer. There is also the Accidental Oil Company a Beverly Hillbillies story about a rancher who struck oil at 21 feet while hand digging a well to see if he could…. Won’t get to see that because it opens at 9 am and I’ll be long gone by then.

Tomorrow I’m gonna get to Devil’s tower.

Thanks for visiting.

Let The Practice Begin!

June 10 - This morning bright and early, I took The Emmer to work at the hospital. On the way home I stopped at Safeway for a few last minute items and a Starbucks coffee. I had intended to eat a leisurely breakfast, load up the trailer and leave sometime in mid-morning but “road fever” kicked in and to aggravate things, it was a beautiful sunny June morning! I just couldn’t sit there when Wyoming was calling! By 7:30 I had buttoned up Bivouac, kissed The Bride goodbye and I was headed north. I you ever want to drive through the Denver area without stress try Sunday morning at 7:30. Hardly any cars, crisp air and beautiful view of the front range of the Rockies!

My goal this day was Torrington, WY,220 miles. About half of that on Interstate 25 to Cheyenne and then north and east across the high plains to Torrington. I haven’t been too far north of Denver for a couple of years and I was struck at how much development had occurred in that area. The development didn’t really disappear until about twenty miles from the Wyoming border and it’s only about 10 miles from the border into Cheyenne. I suspect in another 20 to 30 years it will be pretty solid development all the way from Denver to Cheyenne.

When you start seeing more antelope than cars or people, you know you’re getting to Wyoming!
A short stop at the Wyoming Welcome Center and I was off the interstate and on Hwy 85 towards Meridian, Hawk Springs and Torrington. A word to the wise. If you ever take this road, make SURE you have enough gas to go 77 miles because there ain’t nothing’ between Cheyenne and Torrington. Meridian and Hawk Springs are indeed towns but there’s no law that says towns have to have any stores or gas stations….and they don’t! For a while I was wondering if I was going to have to use the 2 gallon gas can I have for the generator.

Luck was with me however and I cruised into the metropolis of Torrington at about 11:30. I say metropolis because in this part of Wyoming, 5,800 people all in one place is a big deal! The city of Torrington provides free - “donations accepted” - camping at their city park. Electricity is available along with picnic tables and grills. I didn’t care about the tables or the grill because with electricity my dinner was promised to the microwave. Electricity was also important because the temperature steadily rose during the day to the point that it was 90 ° by the time I got to the park. Bivouac came equipped with an air conditioner but I had never really used it before so I was hoping everything would work ok…and it did.
After setting up Bivouac I toured the town to see what kind of weirdness I could discover in small town Wyoming. Torrington is the campus for the Eastern Wyoming State University. Being a "university town" I thought my chances of stumbling upon weird was pretty good. Sure enough I found a Jetson's flying saucer.....your guess is as good as mine!

In the late afternoon I heard a bunch of commotion around the trailer and saw a bunch of cars pulling in around the trailer?? Turns out that the park also serves as a training ground for the volunteer fire department and the members were practicing various routines for an upcoming competition among area departments…..So not only did I get a free, “donations accepted” camp spot with electricity, but I also got several hours of entertainment watching them go thru their paces. The only thing I’m missing is internet connection so this post will have to wait till I find some place to connect…..

Thanks for visiting.


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