“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight, perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked.”
~ John Steinbeck ~ [Travels with Charley]
I am now 66 and waiting…
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Mornings within this space is the best prescribed medicine. It does not get any better even when the sights do become a bit too much to take in. Overload. The sounds complement them all with the birds each singing their own tune not caring too much if they are in harmony or not. They are to my ears. The sounds closely enough to modern jazz. The smells are pungent as with the sun slowly rising all warms up the scents like spices rubbed in one’s hands. How did I get here I often wonder? Here as in this “now”. Was it engrained in me to escape the urban brouhaha and their unstoppable curtain calls by the second?
There is still in contrast no one around. Yesterday was cold as the grays hang all day and evening. I did not get to see the moon. This morning all is clear. It is the last, I think, full day here. Here south of Poncha Springs, Colorado. We took it all in. The shows in the skies, the endless roads, some cooking with still much wood left, naps were of many. It is time to change the gears and from point A to point B confront the populace. My ears will be buzzing to a different tune. Packing is in order. It is that time. There can never be regrets leaving a space as another one always awaits. On to Snowy Range Pass Rd.
It is our first urban day in a long time and already, I must say it the way it is, people are getting to me. I am sure I look as odd to them as they are to me. My hair is getting long, washed often but has not been combed in days, my beard pointy has gained a few inches. I am finding myself over analyzing what everyone is doing at the same trying to remain autonomous throughout my errands and the few stores I have to stop at. Meaning, I have built, put up, more imagining, a transparent wall surrounding me on these morning hours when Nature has been too abruptly replaced by the Urban jungle. Yes, it does exist even in Salida.
It got worse. I didn’t think it could but I should have expected it. Colorado Springs and then on through Denver. They are now both behind us. I know we are close to Wyoming but I lost track of truly were we are. The day was exhausting and I did not even put up a fight. I don’t think there will ever be a remedy for us to again confront yesterday’s Urban Warfare as we use to many years ago. My eyes were everywhere taking in every detail of every direction the surrounding vehicles had in mind to take. Some were nice I must say to let us in on their path especially when the eternal road constructions were present. Maybe they only wanted one more participant within their games. I don’t know. It was not a good day.
We could have detoured most likely but we did not. Colorado Springs was decided as a meeting place with a friend who lives there but that did not work out because of threats of flooding. I guess, wisely, we don’t take chances anymore. Ft Collins and on to Laramie where highway 130, the Snowy Range Pass was awaiting patiently. And all changed. Mile after mile traffic became non existent and the dwellings disappeared. Normal breathing again took place as we then often stopped on the side of the road to just be with a rainbow at the end of the day. A welcome sign much needed.
Strangely enough we had never been here and right passed the little town of Centennial, population 270, we stopped at the Ranger Station where the so pleasant and attractive Meghan with a green streak in her hair to match her uniform, greeted us. It turned out to be another experience of the road. One of those that always makes me feel so fortunate doing what we are doing while escaped from the busy freeways just a couple hours south of us. She could not believe seeing the sidecar as she called her own dog who was laying in the back and he gently put his paws on the counter. She exclaimed it has always been her dream to have a motorcycle with a sidecar and travel with her buddy. This area has no internet but I gave her our You Tube website, this one and also mentioned her we had just written a book. She had to buy the book as I signed it for her.
We got the lay of the land. Some roads are still closed due to the snow and also some ATV’s which have totally ruined them including destroying the guard rails. Nothing unusual. We left with a hug while she expressed if there was ever anything we needed, to stay in touch as also there will always be room on her couch in her home in Laramie. Any doubt yet of our path taken being the best therapy ever? I still remember that little voice years ago when in the middle of one night it said "go… go… go…".
So here we are and I want to say it is even quieter than south of Poncha Springs which of course it is not. It is the same added by the sounds of a gently at times flowing creek near by while we passed it’s louder tunes a few miles ago from much snow melting. It is so perfect at again around 9200 feet that my heart is pounding. Might be the altitude, more it is another space called Paradise found. I can still hear and read some asking me what will we do when we are done wandering this country? We will never be done. No one will ever be done. Every year, every season, new names come up on the map realizing we have not been there. I can again thank my Friend KC for this one. No bakery [yet!]… but that’s OK. My waistline does not need it.
It is time for a good book, some dinner, a hike with Spirit and maybe a short nap. Tomorrow start the real exploration of this space map in hand as all looks like a maze. Morning has come. It was a cold night. I keep wanting to buy a thermometer but I don’t. My winter gear is back on in this middle of July. Again the clouds are gone and now the sun is steaming the grounds. Coffee tastes better than ever, Spirit is still asleep, time is at a stand still. As it should be! My only lifeline is our SPOT and SAT phone.
We went to Saratoga yesterday. Another little town where my Friend KC managed to find us a bakery which he emailed me the name. We were leaving town at that time and so we turned around. It was not hard to find. Marie’s Cupcakes! Just what I needed. Not. Fueled by the sugar rush it was then back the same road admiring the granite faces on the summit still covered with snow as we met up with a gentleman who was on his way for a hike and then on ski down the mountain. In July!
We have been hitting the jackpots this summer weather wise as my winter layers keeps me warm into the night and Spirit’s coat has one more time become a must. There is no Internet here and its concept has a soothing effect. It is the way it use to be…. Early today I decided to make a video of the most beautiful few miles of the paved road leading and passing by those same mountains covered with their summer snow. Eventually I will post it when having a connection needing to find some music and upload it to You Tube. Videos are always a few weeks behind!
Cars after cars was our welcome while trying to make a turn to ride the main paved road. I realized it must be Saturday. I let go of many to create a nice distance, far enough for the cameras to have a blank road. It worked until we arrived where everyone stops and gathers planning their hikes or upcoming lunches under some tree. I felt outnumbered. I was no doubt while trying to park away from it all to avoid all the questions about our machine and Spirit. The ones I have now been answering for years. When and if it gets too intense I revert to something new I started doing as the inquisitors can then hear me say "if you want the whole story I have written a book which I carry with me, which you can buy and we will even sign it". I have sold a few in that fashion. I took a few photos like everyone else and headed back to Centennial, a few miles away from camp.
Some fuel and a wood bench occupied us for a while. Groups where scattered around us planning their afternoon and their next day. That would be Sunday when everyone goes home. Brand new Nikes, neon colored shorts, giant sunglasses hiding everyone’s features, tops from more famous designers (I guess), and I could hear their schedule related to Mr. Clock. Some did not agree as the hands of future times where pushed around, the voices got louder to signify that sense of superiority all wanted, arms gesticulating and behind the giant dark lenses I could tell some were pouting. We left for the shade of our own trees here at camp.
This is “Luna”! She came to visit us when we were camping south of Poncha Springs. I guess I forgot to post her photos! How can you not smile?…
Ara and Spirit