“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
~ John Steinbeck ~ [Travels with Charley]
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I have no idea if it is allowed to spend the night here but I do not see any signs to the contrary. This is the plateau nearing 11,000 feet and the views are spectacular. It will be a real treat not having to move. The going is slow for the both of us, the oxygen is rare and by late afternoon it is our favorite: very cool as in cold! We will be dipping into the lower elevations of Saratoga and finally Lander for a few days to see our good Friends and my Bakery connection. It has become a joke between us. It is KC’s mission to let me know of the best bakeries wherever we go. He has done well so far and the A+ from the Polebridge Bakery is still unbeaten.
I know what is awaiting for us. We are spoiled with the weather, no doubt. Trying to match beauty of Nature with cold weather but August is always the tough one. I have spoiled Spirit the same way. I know dogs pant as it is their own way to deal with the heat but Spirit starts already when it is in the seventies. That is when I start thinking about all the dogs in Terlingua and the Big Bend area surviving temperatures of 120 ‘s. The forecast is in the 90’s till we reach the elevations of Montana.
As the storm moves on…
We hovered on the plateau for quite a while. Dark clouds came in, serious ones, and I decided it might not be so wise to stay so totally exposed. On we went trying to match cover with a slightly lower elevation and we found it after a few u turns. The wild flowers abundant in a clearing amongst the trees while we did not miss the sunset. Perfect. The rain woke me up sometime during the night, a gentle one with its beat putting me back to sleep. This morning is cold, we are enjoying every minute of it as I know this will be the last cool one for a while. A short hike with Spirit as I almost shivering in a short sleeve T shirt. The hummingbirds are putting on a show while I drink my coffee. Wish I had some sweet water for them. They are noisy amongst this silence as they fly up, stand still for a few seconds and then on dive down to the ground at 100 mph!
Summer is marching on rapidly this time around. I remember September being the month we would go back to The Oasis. Technically only a month or so separates us but this year we are going to stay North as long as we can. Big Bend is so far. Once there distant destinations are out of the question. Too much mileage, too much fuel and this time around we are not writing a book! This winter will be time to re-organize my photo galleries. It is always fun to go back to day one and find out that I missed a couple worthy of sharing. Not that I sell any as today photography is truly not so much about content but marketing. I might put together a Coffee Table Book as they call it. One available "print on demand" with photos and quotes. They are fairly pricey when done right.
I had a call through Skype last night from a couple filmmakers interested in our Journey. I get one of those once in a while. How to explain in twenty minutes the physical and mental climb we have step by step taken these past eight years? It is truly impossible but more interesting than anything else is the vastness of the many components of Life we have dipped into and emerged with more understanding than ever. It is about sharing, about showing off our backyard, acceptance to questions coming back with no answers, hope, perseverance throughout the nights and the days we have lived through and still do. Putting up with the bad days and rejoicing every minute of the good days. The so many met, the so many who have touched our lives and vice versa. The unity with Spirit making us one and everything I have learned from him. Twenty minutes! It is always so very interesting.
We also stopped in Laramie for half a day or so to have lunch with a Friend. A take out lunch while sitting on the lawn and in the shade by the train depot. We are now regrouping a bit in Saratoga. One day at the time. I had heard that the Museum in Encampment was worth visiting and early morning before the heat rose it was our destination for a couple hours. As it happens quite often, unplanned and luck being on our side there was a lot going on. In a separate field a "reenactment" was taking place. They also called it "Rendezvous black powder Muzzle loading competition" and the shooting went on non stop while also visiting the different vendors present. I learned much about "black powder rifles" and even revolvers. Mesmerizing! The quickest reload one told me is about 30 seconds.
The Museum itself with its many buildings was impressive and it was also, another coincidence, "Grand Encampment Museum Living History Day". What would be the chances? A real treat. It was as stepping back in time with the shooting heard in the background. Always concerned for Spirit who was secured I could have spend a couple days there. "The Doc Culleton Memorial Building", the two story outhouse, a working blacksmith shop, "The Palace Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor", "The Kuntzman Building" which was an insurance office built in 1900, "The Battle Miner, the only building left of the ghost town of Battle Lake, the "Livery Stable", the :Lake Creek Stage Station", the "Weber Springs Forest Service Guard Station" built in 1940, the "Tie Hack Cabin", "The Peryam House", "The Wolfard Schoolhouse" built in 1895, the "Aerial Tramway" which ran 16 miles up the mountain, the "Parkinson House", the "Saratoga Cabin" built in 1890. So much history in this rich Country of ours. Many more details on the Museum website, much more than I could ever write.
We are rolling North. Further and further. We are looking for shade…
Stay well, Ara and Spirit from the endless road…