A fellow traveler to China’s Himalayan foothills explained his disinterest: “I’ve seen mountains.” That was ten years ago, and I’m still horrified. Why did the man, who’d surely seen most everything there is to see, bother to wake each morning? As a native Coloradan and avid camper/traveler/hiker, I’ve seen some mountains. Many of them over and over, again and again. They still wow me with their wiles. The mere rumor of a waterfall sucks me in like a riptide. Before I toured China’s Jiuzhaigou National Park, I may have seen a thousand falls, but I’d never seen one that moved […]
We needed souvenirs for ranching men, and what better than knives? But Chinese gift-shopkeepers carried no knives. A knife, given as a gift, would signify the giver’s wish to cut off the friendship. We walked the length of the Jiuzhaigou shopping street, asking for knives at each shop. No one had a knife, but when we walked past those same shops on our way back to the hotel, the sellers met us on the sidewalk to offer knives of all kinds. This one isn’t sturdy enough for ranch work, or much of anything else, and we were skeptical of the […]
What city is the live music capital of the US? Austin? Really? How does Austin out croon Nashville, Branson, and Vegas? Willy, Waylon, and the Boys I guess. Luckenbach is right down the road.
We asked half a dozen professional Themopolisians where we should go to watch the eclipse, but much as they tried, we got little help. In the nick of time I pointed out the town’s road maintenance yard and reminded Steve that an Alaskan road maintenance guy had given great advice in another situation. Sure enough, he sent us to a perfect hillside overlooking the valley, no one around but a few horses, a herd of antelope, and a couple of highly compatible locals. When totality commenced we could hear people cheering up and down the valley. How could we have […]
Most of my elderly relatives lost their hearing, but I never heard of any of my predecessors getting burned. So when our camp trailer’s smoke detector shrieked without reason once again, I was more concerned with preventing further cochlear damage than preserving the detector. Steve entertained our friends, who were camped next door, with a dramatic rendition of that incident, and Linda asked him to send me over to fix their detector too. Some years later, that infamous detector still seems to be working, it just doesn’t attach to the ceiling anymore. Steve noticed today that it is 10 years old, and the ones in our house are […]
In search of attractions to add to our Deep South itinerary, I came across a coon dog cemetery. I like dogs and cemetery strolls, but I think it’s enough to know that this coon dog cemetery exists. If you’re thinking of adding it to your list, Labor Day might be the time to go. An annual festival includes Bluegrass music, hickory smoked barbecue, decorated graves, and a Liars Contest telling tall tales. No, really, it’s true!
When we drove the Alaskan Highway, my back protested the long hours in the truck. I tried pillows and cushions and giving Steve heck, some of which helped, but not enough. Then I happened on another sort of remedy–Sudoku. Puzzles do an amazing job of muting discomforts of all kinds, and for some reason, staring at them doesn’t make me carsick. They are somewhat addictive, and I miss miles of scenery, but I see a lot more than I would staying home with a bad back.
The man is losing it. I’ve gotten used to Steve firing up our GPS, Faith, to drive to places that he could find in his sleep. I concentrate on my puzzles and block out her prattling every name ever assigned to each highway. When he ignores her pleas to “turn around when possible,” I console myself: better her than me. But for our trip to Newfoundland, Steve decided that we would listen to Faith and the truck’s built-in GPS’ in tandem. A month-long duet of “route recalculation” and “turn around when possible?” Yes, absolutely, a second opinion would double our chances of finding the best route for our 8,000 mile journey. Great, […]
We spent last June on the road. Steve hoped that his stingy watering program would keep our lawn from going jungle, but that plan was called on account of rain. Our ever-loving (and seriously overworked) son sent a message telling us how bad our place looked, then followed up with, “I mowed it for you. Have a good Father’s Day.” He couldn’t have come up with a better gift. Now, here we are gallivanting through June again. We hear it’s been hot at home, so maybe Plan A will come through this time. In any case, we hope our overworked son lets the lawn go and enjoys a day […]
Our GPS leads us out of the darkness so unfailingly that when our friend Pat suggested the name Faith, we embraced it. Since then Steve began calling on Faith’s ways of finding reasonable rooms for the night whenever we grow weary. Our March road trip to New Orleans tested Faith on several evenings when pickings were slim, but between our Faith and Pat’s Siri, we found comfortable vacancies. One evening Siri’s Trip Advisor ratings insisted on an inn a good way off our beaten path. Without Faith the complicated cross-town zigzags would have been overwhelming, we didn’t despair. Over a late supper, we plotted our final leg, […]