You are currently browsing the daily archive for July 9, 2010.

As a trial run for our upcoming Excellent Adventure Roadtrip (EAR), Kelsea and I took off for Steamboat Springs this weekend.  Today’s driving was 1/3 of the maximum distance that we’d drive in one day on the EAR.  All went smoothly – our new Garmin, a.k.a. Daniel, was on his first trial run as well.  We like him – he has an English accent, and we found ourselves getting a little insecure when he hadn’t spoken for a while.  (It helped that I knew where I was going.)

This is one of my favorite drives after you get off 1-70 and head northwest paralleling the Blue River.  Traffic moved well the entire way.  We stopped and took pictures in a few places and were inundated by mosquitoes at one point, hastily retreating to the car, but still having to kill them inside against our arms and the newly washed windows.  The hills and fields were emerald green and horse-studded, reminiscent of the Alps in image if not aura.  The highway rolled before us in macadam waves, snaking into the notches between the hills, a temptation to which we could most fortunately succumb.  The air was clean.  It smelled of rain, rain that became reality from time to time, dripping, spitting, sprinkling, dowsing, slowing, stopping.  Coming off a wonderful birthday, I had a smile of freedom and joy on my face.  I do love to go places.

We moved up into the mountains surrounding Steamboat, over Rabbit Ears Pass and into the sanctuary of the Routt Valley.  Condos and million-dollar homes are built up to the Steamboat Spring Ski Resort, providing a deceptive first-look at what, less than 20 years ago, was a bona fide mountain-man town.  As the road shoots straight into downtown Steamboat, development relaxes, and we are greeted by our destination, the Rabbit Ears Motel, an icon of the town’s lodging options. Family-owned, complete with neon rabbit sign, I’ve always had a hankering to stay here.  It’s right on the main drag (Lincoln Avenue), making it easy to walk to almost anything except tomorrow’s Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Strawberry Hot Springs.  (Last year’s lodging, the Mariposa Lodge, was a nice B&B on the opposite edge of town, past the old neighborhood.  It was still within walking distance, but a pretty good walk away from the main drag.  It’s biggest drawback was the distance, and the fact that the walls were too thin.)

Deb, who was working the front desk was harried, having had a busy day – the No Vacancy sign beneath the neon bunny backed up her statement.  I’m glad I reserved in advance, as every motel we passed had a similar message for the spontaneous traveller.  She said we’ve been upgraded from “a really small room” (where we’d planned to share a bed) to a double queen.  Yippee!  We each have our own bed!

Kelsea is tired from a long day at Elitches yesterday, and the usual teenager’s lack of sleep.  She’s made best efforts to sleep in the car, to no avail. (Note to self: bring pillows on the EAR.)  She rallies, though after we’re checked in and unloaded, and we take a walk along the Yampa River path.  Some dudes are floating down the river on air mattresses.  It looks fun – neither of us being strong swimmers, we doubt the wisdom of that action.  They’re warming up for the Friday night rodeo in the arena, but we’re saving that for tomorrow night.  Right now, I’m hungry.  Kelsea is satiated from a Good Times Double Cheeseburger we picked up Dillon, so she’s still full, but I haven’t eaten since breakfast.

We wander in and out of stores.  Kelsea sits down with the sculpture of Abe Lincoln.  We debate where I should dine.  Finally, we settle on the Old Town Pub, where I’ve had pleasant meals every time I’ve been to town.  I have a buffalo burger, she has fries, we watch the Tour de France, and talk about everything – and we laugh.  A lot.  She has Dr. Pepper; I have a margarita – they have the same impact on us, respectively.

It’s a quick walk home, and we tuck up for the night.  I discover I’ve forgotten my glasses so the TV is entirely at her disposal, since I can’t see what’s on anyway.  I try a blog entry documenting our days journey. I think I need to refine my style, make sure it’s fluid and fascinating, figure out what I’m missing in terms of detail.  All in preparation for the EAR.

We are slated to get up way too early to head for the balloon launch at the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo.  Fortune-teller that I am, I see a nap in our future tomorrow.

(I forgot to bring the thingy to download pictures to the computer, so they’ll have to come later.)

There is a hawk in distress somewhere in the Open Space near the cottage.  He has been there since yesterday – the same poignant call, over and over.  Eagle next door speaks back occasionally, disturbed, yet trying to reassure.  Another hawk circles overhead, concerned.

I can’t see him.  I don’t know where he is.  I’m going away today and I worry for him.  But this is one of those instances in which nature must take its course.  That hurts sometimes.

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