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Being with MKL (who is a car guy extraordinaire) has enhanced my passion for the road. I’ve always loved road trips. I’ve always loved ANY trip. But under his tender influence, I’ve come to appreciate the curves, the straightaways, the texture of the road, and the personality and performance of my truck more than I ever have before. Our second date was a drive. He picked me up and suggested we drive up to Leadville, which is about two and a half hours away. I knew he was testing whether I was genuine about my love of driving and going places, and if we did well in a car together for an extended period of time, and I did not disappoint. Our five-hour round trip turned into an eight-hour round trip. We discovered a shared love of opera, and he put his hand on my knee after asking permission. It is still one of our favorite shared memories.

So on trips like Kelsea’s and mine this past weekend, I get on a stretch of road and think how he would feel about it. He would love to drive the road in this image, and I am looking forward to sharing it with him.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

Daily gratitudes:
Seeing MKL after an absence (or really any time)
Morning walks
Books
Peanuts
Crickets

We saw this road from the train, and then we had the chance to drive it. It was as delicious as it looked. It was wonderful how the train crossed the road, back and forth, over and over. People would stop and get out of their cars to wave and take pictures as we passed by. I’d like to see the train from the road, now that I’ve seen the road from the train!

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Somewhere in New Mexico…or maybe Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.” — Eve Ensler

Daily gratitudes:
Jessica in physical therapy
That the ocean is somewhere out there, east or west
A patch of blue sky in the grey
Reiki bubbles
Knowing that what’s given to my heart is more important than what I wear on my finger

Ah, Willie.

This was (and probably still is) one of my sister (inlaw)’s favorite songs. (I call her my sister (inlaw) as opposed to my sister-in-law because I’m no longer married to her husband’s brother, but she and I are more like sisters than he and my ex-Pat are like the actual brothers that they are. Generally, we just introduce each other as “my sister” and do the explaining later. I guess that kind of makes us like sister outlaws. And we both have some outlaw in us anyway.) Gracious, I am parenthetical today.

My sister (inlaw) and her husband are now living on the road, which is a perfect retirement lifestyle for them. As life currently stands, I don’t get on the road as often as I used to, but I am blessed with a partner who loves road trips. My first “big date” with MKL was a drive. While I didn’t know it at the time, this trip was kind of a test (though I suppose every early date is.) MKL is a car guy. He loves cars. When he is stressed, he lapses into “carspeak.” It relaxes him. I have learned a ton about cars from him. He knows his stuff and he explains it well. We do have a happy agreement that sometimes, he will go past my point of comprehension and it starts sounding like “blah blah blah” to me; at that point, he can stop talking or continue talking, but we both know I won’t be understanding anything. He gives me a warning when he knows he’s about to start going “blah blah blah.”

While he didn’t need a car girl, he was hoping to find someone who enjoyed the road, and who was enjoyable to be in a car with – hence, the test of the first big date. If I had cringed about high speeds, or whined that I wanted to get out of the car, or been a total bore, or not shared some love of music, I don’t think we’d be where we are now. But I do love the road, love to move, love to drive, love to see all kinds of things, love the sound of his voice, love our conversations, and love (most of) his musical tastes. We drove for something like seven hours that day – up to Leadville to see the reclaimed molybdenum (isn’t that the best word ever) mines (which look like beautiful rice paddies now as opposed to the alien public swimming pools they used to resemble) over to Buena Vista (now one of our favorite spots) for lunch at Casa del Sol, and then following the Arkansas River to Canon City and back up to my home north of Denver.

We are excellent travelling partners on the road of life.

My wanderlust has been in high gear this year and due to finances and work, I haven’t been able to indulge it much – our lovely trip to Anna Maria Island in February, and I think we made one trip to Cottonwood Hot Springs (but that could be my wishful thinking) before the fire there – and that’s been it. So I am super eager to get away for a few days, see new places, revisit places I haven’t been to in decades, and spend time with MKL. This will be our first road trip in my truck, which has seen me (and Kelsea) across the country and back, and has proven herself a faithful steed.

I won’t tell you where we’re going, so the pictures will be a surprise! If I have internet, I’ll try to talk to you from the road, but if I don’t, then I’ll see you when I get back!

What did I do today?  MKL and I went to “Cruise Above the Clouds” in Cripple Creek – a classic/muscle car show with about 200 participants.  I love classic cars and they offer a lot of scope for beautiful and creative photography, so I’ll share more images with you over the next few months.  And being up in the mountains showed us that Fall is coming…

Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “And she said, It’s okay that you can’t get over it. Maybe you never will. Maybe that hole will never fill. She said, Maybe your learning to leave it empty is the meaning of your life.”  —  Heather Harpham

Daily gratitudes:
Road trips with MKL
Beauty made of steel
Spooky places
Dogs
My wished-for pink taxidermied rooster
The Pine Emporium

Perhaps this is more of a Mom-Rant…I don’t know.  I only know that I have some rants (or peeves) and it’s high time to express them.  So, let’s start with the pick-up/drop-off lanes at Kelsea’s school.

Why, why, WHY is this such a cluster **** every morning???

The horseshoe-shaped drop-off zone has “Hug and Go” signs from one end of the horseshoe to the other.  The door to the school is in the middle of the horseshoe, about 20 yards from the curb.  The first car that enters the horseshoe should pull up to the far end, keep the motor running, give their child a kiss, let him or her open the door, get his or her backpack, close the door, and then the parent should drive away.  Sounds so simple.  (See the picture of the horseshoe drive below?  This is Kelsea’s actual school.)

BUT…and this is a big but…

That’s not what happens.  Parents drive up to the exact center of the horseshoe so that their child will not have to walk any more than the absolute shortest distance to the school door.  And then they obviously discuss in-depth philosophical issues with said child for about 5 minutes prior to child exiting the vehicle, which in itself requires that the child open all car doors AND that the parent shut the car off and exit the vehicle to assist the child, OR (as occurred this morning) to CARRY the child’s backpack into the school WITH the child.  Additional discussions between parent and child once both parties have exited the vehicle are also required.

Once the child has turned towards the school door, the parent (if not physically accompanying the child into the school)  MUST re-enter the vehicle, watch the child until he or she enters the school and the door closes firmly behind him/her, then check their cellphone, put on make-up and deodorant, shave, adjust mirrors, start the car, wait for it to warm up, and then immediately pull back out into the horseshoe without looking to see if any cars are in the (theoretical) driving lane of the horseshoe.

Other parents are behind, jockeying for the next closest post position, or just sitting, waiting until it is their turn to pull up to the primo spot and perform the aforementioned ritual.

I seem to have some time warp issues with getting Kelsea to school on time.  We’ve discussed it.  We’ve tried all kinds of things to resolve it – leaving earlier, getting up earlier, packing up the night before, you name it.  It’s just a maternal failing that I freely own up to.  So we usually pull up to the horseshoe with minutes (or seconds) to spare before she’s tardy.  I’m sure the front office can tell when she’s staying with me vs. her Dad, just like her friends can tell based on the quality of her packed lunches.  (They take pity on her and share their lunches when she’s been with me.)

The dialogue (or soliloquy) in our car in the morning goes something like this from the time we approach the turning into the school parking lot:

Me: Why are you going so slow?  WHY are you going 5 miles an hour?  This is a 20 mile per hour zone.  And it’s NOT a four-way stop.  Don’t be so polite! Quit waving everyone else in!  Maybe YOU don’t have to be someplace else but I do!  ****** idiots!  GO!  GO!  MOOOOOVE!!!
Kelsea:  It’s okay, Mom, I’m already late.
Me:  It’s not okay!  Why do these Rock Creek moms have to be such idiots?  This is stupid!  It’s not that complicated!  You just puuuulllll up, there you go, allllll the way up, there, see?  This guy knows what he’s doing!  He’s doing it right.  Now see, I’ll just pull up behind him.  Look, what a good drop-off parent – wait, oh no, no, he’s getting out of the car – what?  He’s going into the school – he’s just LEAVING the car there! Now I’m blocked in.  **** him!!  ******* dumb-ass!! I’m going to ….
Kelsea:  Bye, Mom, I love you!
Me:  Bye, honey, have a great day.

So by the time I do get out of there, my blood pressure has soared, steam is coming out of my ears, and (depending on the day) I’m close to tears.  I will say it distracts Kelsea from her customary morning grumpiness, so that’s a minor blessing. 

And we just have to look for the little blessings in all of those things we can’t change, now don’t we?

 

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