Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 1: Who the Hells Cares Where's Wall Drug?

Well, actually, we kinda do. We're in a nice Super 8 about 4 blocks away. After 600 miles driving, it seemed a good place to quit for the night, unwind, and be familiar enough with the TV to find "Blue Bloods" in a timely manner.

Theme for the day: WINDY. I think we circled most of a strong high pressure area. Or it circled us. The winds changed from southeast to south to southwest to west to northwest to, finally, north. Brrr! And yes, there's still snow in patches from that monster blizzard that hit here last week. The other holdover from then is clumping of dead cattle along the last 20 miles or so. It is unexpectedly cheering to see scatterings of live ones grazing here and there.

Going back to the winds, the first time I stepped out of the car, with just the first foot, the door slammed back on my leg.  I should be used to that, as this car has doors which fail to "lock" in the open position, and a slight upward slope when parked will let them swing shut without any help. A headwind has the same effect. Everywhere we were today, the wind was a headwind. By afternoon, it was so steadily strong that Steve wound up holding my door open long enough for me to get in again. I sometimes found it impossible to hold it with even two arms long enough to sit and pop the second leg in by myself. Steve then managed to go around to his door and get himself in without assistance.

The rest of the trip has been smooth.

The car got packed last night with Paul's help. It started with Steve's new scooter getting getting put in its component parts: platform with folded down steering column, front basket, rear basket, seat, 2 arms, 2 batteries, battery casing, ans rear wheel section. Oh yeah, almost forgot the charger. No, really, it was left on the ground plugged into the extension cord until I spotted it, unplugged it, and set it behind the passenger seat. To be suitable impressed, first understand that he got the BIG scooter, then recognize that it had to fit in what was left in the hatchback with the larger part of the 60/40 folding back seat reserved as seating for the dogs, and finally, find spaces for two carry-ons, a case of water bottles, two bags of Brisk bottles, a box of apples, trip foods for us and dogs, plus dog dishes, a laptop bag, a camera bag (Steves. Mine both fit in my carry-on.), and all the tools Paul needed in the car for doing the first wall of bookshelves in the den for us. Said tools included a chop saw. The two jackets just got tossed on the top of everything else prior to locking the car up. I'm not counting maps, purse, napkins, ibuprofin bottle, sunglasses, pens, and miscellaneous smaller items as they fit in door pockets and little nooks and crannies built into the car.

The dogs have been well-behaved. A few short walks on leash next to trees, a drink of water mid-trip, a generous supply of Milk Bones as bribes to retake their cushy seat with a quilt over it, and they're good.

Weather started good, aside from ever-increasing wind, mostly a blend of sun and clouds. Half an hour's downpour did a splendid job of soaking the previous day's collection of windshield bugs for easy removal without leaving the car. The scenery hasn't been much to blog about, though there has been one mystery crop in the fields which neither of us recognized. It's about half the height of corn, total, and the lower part of the plants somewhat resemble corn without ears. The top is a fat seed spike, green before maturity, a lovely reddish brown after. Every so often a taller seed spike pokes above the rest.

Blackbirds are beginning to flock, particularly around sunflower fields. Corn stalks have been rolled up like hay littering fields. Combines raise huge clouds of soybean dust. Fall colors mostly mean tan, brown and black down here, making me miss our local abundance of sumacs and maples.

But tomorrow the terrain becomes vertical. We'll pass lots of great places to see, with plenty of time to see them before we're due in Denver.

Of course, most of them will be closed. Unless, while we've been traveling with no radio on, the government shutdown has ended. I don't know about you, but I'm holding my breath. It'll all end in the next 3 minutes, right?

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