Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trip: Day Six

I had been hoping for a morning sun lighting up the other side of our canyon walls with the beautiful reds in the rocks like we'd seen the previous night when we were all too busy to take pictures. Fat chance! The sun was up, all right, but the rocks just didn't gleam as red. Perhaps that was more fitting for the somber tone of the first part of the morning.

Today was short in driving distance, since we'd built in events instead of distance in our planning. One of those was immediately put aside. It had been going to be a stop at the hot springs in Glenwood Springs, pointed out to the rest of us by Steve as we'd passed it the night before. However, when we mentioned our plans to his cousin the previous evening, he gave us a reality check in the form of current pricing. We decided it didn't really need to be on our itinerary. There were hot tubs for our first and last nights, and that would have to do, no extra charge.

There was, however, the scattering of Sylvia's ashes to take care of. The Crystal River between Carbondale and Redstone was one of her very favorite places to sit and meditate, soak up the beauty of the place, and refresh her soul. This is where she'd wanted her ashes scattered.

After breaking camp, we started downstream, pausing at whim for pictures of the rocks, the river, and whatever else took anybody's fancy. The closest place of the three possible ones we picked out the night before seemed ideal, so we stopped there. There was a small widening of the road to pull off the RV, and a sturdy narrow bridge across the river, not, as others were, marked, "Private". I took out the camcorder, Paul the Nikon, and Steve and Maria took out the box of ashes. Paul disappeared, though I found out later he'd gone down to the river bed where there was a dry rocky area for him to stand and take pictures from below. They actually showed the ashes falling into the river when I saw them later.

As we other three were heading out to the middle of the bridge, a Forestry vehicle crossed the bridge, clearing us slowly with a foot on either side. If the driver saw and identified the box and our purpose, she didn't object, and she didn't return until our business was finished. I stationed myself on one side of Steve and Maria, leaning against the bridge railing, and let the tape roll. First Steve said some words I didn't hear clearly over the noisy river, but I did hear most of what came next: "Hello Dolly" sung by Steve in the low gravelly style of Louis Armstrong. Both the location and the song were Sylvia's final request of her brother.

Then the box was opened, and slowly, bit by bit, the ashes dropped off the railing to fall in the water and start flowing downstream for her final journey. Some few landed on the outside of the bridge railing, some few landed over on the bank. A very small bit were saved to place in tiny vials for Maria and her brothers, a way of keeping their favorite Aunt close. Just as Steve was putting the bag away, a last tiny bit blew out and landed on Maria's arm for a moment, before falling away. For them it seemed as if a final part of Sylvia reached out to touch her and say, "Thanks."

Once on our way again, it was a very quick drive to our next campground in Grand Junction. We had decided to call an electrical RV repairman, to see what was wrong with our system. At least a diagnosis, if not a complete fix, was what we hoped we could manage to fit in. We'd gotten names and numbers of two repair places before we headed out, and while stopped for lunch, called the first one. They assured us they could fit us in - in three weeks! However, they did recommend an electrician for RVs who did house calls.

Wow! House calls? They do that?

I called, explaining the problem, our destination, and approximate ETA. He told us to call again when we arrived.

Upon checking in, I mentioned the problem also to our campground hosts, and it turns out they recommended the very same fellow, handing me his business card. We made plans while setting up. We had been invited to another of Steve's cousin's for dinner here, and had in fact met them the night before at the barbeque. They had traveled all the way over for that too. But I had no idea when the electrical guy would show up, and didn't want to spoil anybody else's plans. I volunteered to stay behind until whatever it was got taken care of, and if it were early enough, call for directions and drive over in the RV. The cousin would come now and pick up the other three, while I waited for the repairman to answer his voicemail.

I really was hoping he'd answer and come soon, as I knew there was absolutely nothing in the RV that I felt like cooking that could possibly compete with the meal I'd be missing. I was totally prepared for a pity party. About twenty minutes after they all left, I tried the other number for the guy, his home phone, and got his wife. She was assuring me that his phone was working and he ought to be calling me back soon when I heard a voice outside the window accusing me,"You never called to tell me you'd gotten in." I ended the call with his wife, told him I'd left voicemail, and listened to him while he checked his phone and realized that yes, I had actually called. It seems that the office had informed him that I was looking for him when he checked in with them on another matter.

Whatever. He was here.

I re-explained the problem, and showed him where things were, at least as far as we knew to find them, and watched while he checked everything out. I'll cut through the jargon about inverters and converters and 9 volts vs. 12 volts and just say he figured we'd thrown a circuit breaker. Where were they?

We had no clue. Could he find them for us? It took a heap of hunting, but finally there they were, behind a door we'd opened twenty times this trip at least, having managed to never actually see the box with the three circuit breakers sitting behind it. Flip, plug in, and LIGHTS! FANS! Plus a little bill for $45.00, cheerfully paid.

Now it was time to call Elaine for directions. Only she didn't answer her phone. Hmmmm... OK, call again, maybe she didn't her it. Voicemail again. Dang! OK, postpone the pity party, I knew Steve and Maria had taken their cells along to plug in for recharging, so I'd call them. Voicemail. And voicemail. Double dang! Well, I left messages. By now I knew that they both charged their phones while they were on. Somebody would call.


Eventually somebody did, passing the phone to the person who could best give directions. That turned out to be Pat, since Elaine mentioned when she was taking directions to come over to pick up the others that she wasn't very good on the east-west thing. Pat's directions turned out to be perfect.

Except it was the first stoplight instead of the second. And two miles wasn't, quite. And the left turn was a right turn. But in spite of that they were perfect, because she'd done exactly what I needed: given me street names and a house number. I made it there just before dinner was served, which turned out to be delicious. And the company turned out to be even better than the night before.

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