Trip Log, Day 2

Day 2 was a wonderful rest day. We (okay, I) slept late, and after breakfast went down to the Conifer Safeway to stock up on camping foodies. Brian had regaled me with descriptions of this store after his visit last July, but I still wasn’t quite ready for the reality. It was the most awesome grocery store I’ve ever seen: good layout, clean everywhere, and an awesome design that I can only describe as woodland. As we were walking through, I told him “This place makes me feel like such a rube.” Next time, I’m taking the camera. That afternoon, we also drove into Denver to visit Dairy Queen and temporarily satisfy my undying love for DQ dipped cones. Pat has the same appreciation for DQ. Win!

Between store trips, I spent a lot of time sitting out on the deck, just soaking up the peace and watching bird drama over the feeders hanging from the railing. I can still hear the breeze in the pines and the soft tones of their minor-keyed wind chime drifting through my head. I’m going to cling to that memory over the next few weeks while trying to adjust to being back at work. Checking email this evening to see what’s in store for tomorrow was a big mistake. I am now thoroughly depressed to be going back.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and will be happy to see them again. It’s just going to take some effort to regain my game face. It was so easy to see us living in Colorado, and felt so much like home. I had asked Marilyn about the snowfalls they see, and she said that the first snow of the season is always so wonderful, though for the most part they all are. Especially when you know you’ve got nowhere you have to be. That statement resonated with me, and I think it’s the cause of my difficulty now. Having nowhere to be is one of my absolute favorite things. Work really horns in on that. Maybe gathering my personalities to chant “We don’t care…we don’t care…we don’t care because it’s payday!” will help. Maybe I was born to be a retiree!

At any rate, spending time in Conifer is high on my list of good feels. Day 2 was when I really began to recharge and feel better than I had in a long, long time. It was a great way to start the trip. Next post: Day 3!

Continue Reading

Home Again

We have returned from our epic trip to Yellowstone and other parts unknown (to me). Our stuff is unpacked, the house is clean, and the pantry is restocked. Time to settle in for another couple of days before going to work. Was I sad to come back? Not really. I was sad to leave, especially Conifer, which feels like a new home away from home, but not sad to come back. In fact, coming home has never felt quite this good. If this sensation is normal, no wonder most people actually go somewhere on vacation. Add that to the long list of things I learned over the past two weeks.

I’ve got a journal full of observations written during the trip, so the next few posts will probably have a lot to do with those. For starters, here are some tidbits from Day 1, the drive from Duncan to Conifer, Colorado.

Hilarious Town Names. In Kansas, we passed a town called Bovina. In Colorado, we went by Arriba. A highway sign also pointed the way to Genoa, with Hugo underneath. Being the over-aged juvenile that I am, I said to Brian, “That sign said Genoa Hugo. Genoa is a type of salami…so that sign means huge salami!” He promptly called a penalty and gave me two minutes for insufferable humor.

Kansas = Boring. No offense to those who live there, but dang. I barely made it through the drive home without a nap, and was sadly unsuccessful in that endeavor on the way out. Weird car dreams are more entertaining than such a monotonous view, and this is coming from someone who loves grasslands.

Mountain Storms. These storms are very different from the type we see in Oklahoma. They move slow and seem to dump a lot more rain. The several that we ran into in Colorado and Wyoming had tons of cloud-to-ground lightning, too. Seeing them from so far away as they built and then running under them as they uncorked was an intense new experience. They’re beautiful in their power.

Real Mountains. This one is for Char. As we rolled into Denver, very near our destination for the night, we caught a glimpse of shadowy mountain peaks in the distance. Marveling at the vitality of the city and the blue mountain backdrop, I was trying to look everywhere at once when something just off the highway caught my eye. How sad is it that, when faced with such human and geological glory, I stopped to squeak, “Oooh, a Target!”

Dinner and Dessert with a Twist. Upon reaching the home of Brian’s mom and stepdad in Conifer, we enjoyed a delicious dinner that included severed biscuit heads. Marilyn likes to eat the top layer first and so gleefully decapitates each biscuit before consumption. Afterwards, she said, “Now I’ll go make special brownies for dessert!” Brian’s eyebrows went to the roof, and she quickly amended that statement to include the key ingredient: Bailey’s Irish Creme. We still chortled, though.

Critter Log. Each day of the trip, I kept a critter log of all the animals we saw, excluding cows and horses. The list for Day 1 is short unless I name all the bird species, so I’ll expound on the birds in another post.

• Pronghorn antelope
• Red squirrels
• Lots o’birds

And that pretty much sums up Day 1. I’ll say again that I got a lot out of this trip and enjoyed it more than I could have dreamed. Next installment of the trip journal tomorrow! Trying to write with a cat laying across your wrist is hard. >< ~H

Continue Reading