8/28 – 9/4
We drove into Rocky Mountain National Park without incident and very boringly settled into the Aspen Glenn Campground where the highlight of our day was the ice cream cooler in the camp store and the Ranger Talk about bear safety. I’m pretty sure if there is a right time and place to talk about bear safety certainly it isn’t in the middle of the dark, bear infested woods to a crowd of children whom have to trek back to camp through the dark, bear infested woods then lay down in a thin nylon tent attempting to sleep as they survive different attack scenarios in their poor little heads. Apparently it was too much for me to handle because I woke up with a stomachache and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the ice cream – it’s NEVER the ice cream!
Damn ice cream! I love it! It is my favorite feel-good treat. It is available at every Podunk store and I hardly ever miss the opportunity. Being that we only have a fridge, and even though I have heard plenty of rumors of the very bottom being cold enough to keep meats frozen, it has proven time and again not to be nearly cold enough to keep ice cream even partially frozen. This leaves me in a rather difficult predicament on a daily basis, one that I have yet to figure out a solution to – I want ice cream at 8:00 pm, maybe even 6, but never (ok, hardly ever) at 2:00; but 2:00 is when ice cream is available to me, by 8:00 we are usually ITMON with nothing but what we can carry in. By 8:00 any ice cream that had been pushed down to the deepest depths of the fridge was merely a frothy cup full of ice cream in it’s least desirable form; not that I don’t like to let my ice cream melt down a bit in my bowl, but completely melted ice cream is a stark reminder of the chemically induced substance that when frozen resembles a food-like product. I hate being reminded of what I have been trying to forget all these months on the road without readily available fresh and whole foods, organic ice cream included! So in an effort to be blissful and ignorant, I buy my ice cream whenever it presents itself and eat it right then, even if I don’t want it because I know I’ll want it later – But that never satisfies later, it is not enough that I had ice cream earlier today because I want it right now!
Sleepy and sickly, I rambled behind Tom up a mountain path (maybe it was Community Trail but I have no clue where we were!) catching up only when he would stop to read the placards along the way. At 12,000’ I was feeling … less better, but we did the picture thing and descended just in time to take cover from the hail storm that had just rolled in.
Weather does weird stuff in the mountains, you never know what it’ll be doing up or down just a mile or two. It got pretty bad, it was really heavy hail, I was thinking how cool it was being my first hail storm however I could barely see in front of the car and I couldn’t help but think of dreadfulness…
We beat the rain back to camp and had some copper enameling fun and attempted to make dinner, the perfect night for soup and grilled cheese, the ultimate comfort food for this miserable, sick girl on this cold and wet night… or it would have been if we hadn’t run out of propane! There’s only one thing left to do with this day as the rain closed in on us, cuddle up in bed with a movie.
It seemed like I was just drifting off to sleep when the 2 devil children in the camp across from us woke up.
Crying. Screaming. Yelling. Teasing. Laughing. Crying… even their normal talking voices were thousands decibel above a fighter jet!
We attempted to visit Estes Park but due to our early start to the day everything was closed. We pushed through to Longmont, CO where we met up with some of Tom’s high school friends. What a cute little town Longmont is, the people who live there absolutely love their town and I think this is part of what makes it so wonderful! We instantly became locals and hung out at the Tasty Weasel pretty much all night. I can’t imagine being a parent who drinks beer and not loving the Oskar Blues Brewery and The Tasty Weasel. Where else can you belly up to a picnic table already filled with your friends and pitchers of beer while your dogs and children run amok? And to have it within walking distance to your house? Sounds just about perfect I’d say.
The next morning we went to the farmer’s market and I fell in love with Longmont myself. I especially loved the zero-waste setup, every disposable item was either compostable or recyclable! We finished the night with an amazing dinner of steak and scallops and the best salad I had eaten in a year – seriously!! Fresh from their garden, I thoroughly enjoyed every bite being the first real salad I’d had all summer! I can’t tell you how wonderful that meal was, between the wonderful fresh food and the awesome company, it felt great to be with good friends (even if I had just met them yesterday!).
I was so taken by Jodi’s fresh salad and anxiously looked forward to my own that night with the fresh lettuce we had picked up at the farmer’s market, but I had discovered after we were gone that I had forgotten the lettuce back in the fridge! I wasn’t able to leave it. It was the first fresh greens we’d had in our possession for a while and I needed to enjoy them!! We went back to Longmont to retrieve and though offered to stay another night, we decided to keep on moving. Might not have been a great decision being it was already 6pm and we weren’t sure of where we were moving on to but we moved on anyway. As it got later and the needle of the gas gauge rested on the pin I pictured myself in its position, lying horizontally for I too was out of gas. We pulled into the Quality Inn in Ft. Collins, CO, a whole 30 miles from Longmont. We took the money we hadn’t spent while staying with Ron & Jodi and plopped it all down on our own little space where we each got busy with our individual routes to relaxation. I stripped down to my underwear, jumped on the fluffy king-sized bed and started my normal furry of internetting. Blog posts, Facebook pictures, Candy Crush, T.V.! In the morning I organized the truck then we set back out all clean, organized, and caught up – what a great feeling!!
I don’t do our bookkeeping very often because I always feel shitty afterwards. I’m a saver, a planner, I feel actual pain in my stomach when I spend unnecessarily. Tom on the other hand looks at money as something to be spent; when told how much something he admires costs, he’ll often respond with “double it!” – and he’s not joking! This is an obstacle in our relationship for sure, we say we balance each other out nicely but when I look at our ledger I know I could be doing more to rein this all in, and I should be. We’ve been on the road for 4 months and we’ve been spending more money than when we were both working full-time, or at least it feels like it. Unfortunately this day started out with all of this hitting me in the face and I wasn’t able to take it very well. Insert downward spiral. Tom’s laptop fell out when he opened his door and it smashed beyond its working limits. Riding in complete silence, the air thick with enmity, the sound was deafening but the sight of the chip in Tom’s center of vision was even worse. I needed a free camp, not just for the savings but for the location. Free camps are never anywhere close to the action (aka anywhere you could spend money), I wanted to get back ITMON now!
The forest always heals my soul. The long drive into Roosevelt National Forest was calming in itself, it took me down to a peaceful level, one where I was able to see through loving eyes once again. We made a fire and relaxed in the aroma of cedar burning. Tom whittled us sticks and we roasted hotdogs while we waiting for the storm to reach us. It was like the universe knew what I needed and kept the storm in the distance and awarded me with a beautiful sky, the darkening blue turning to a purple painted with splashes of hot pink, and once completely washed out by the darkness a lightning storm lit up the night. I slept so soundly and awoke happy. We took a walk with our rugs and found ourselves on the side of a hill overlooking the vast green forest, the perfect spot for some naked morning yoga. My spirit was refreshed and I barely winced when Tom’s chair broke or when I slammed the spout to our “faucet” in the tailgate and shattered it. We spent the day spending money; repairing Tom’s laptop, Whole Foods, replacing the “faucet” and other fun REI shopping and I was at peace will it all.
It is what it is.
I can’t predict the future, maybe running out of money is exactly what is supposed to happen.
Next stop, Yellowstone! I hope it’s not as hyped up as the Grand Canyon was…