Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deviation can bring lovely surprises

We will meet our friends, Lori and Lynn, the Barksmore sisters, at our rendezvous point in Fort Collins Colorado. Lori and Lynn are their actual first names, but Barksmore is a cute little handle that derives from the fact that they have 4 dogs (n'uff said).  Everything is going as planned. Before they arrive a late snow storm hits the plains and the rockies. We wake to a white blanket which quickly disappears with the warmer winds. Our son and family have recently relocated to this beautiful area where the rockies meet the prairies. Fort Collins, along with the rest of Colorado, is an outdoor-thinking area so there are well used bike paths and walking paths EVERYWHERE! So as we wait for

our friends to arrive we enjoy the outdoors and conversations with family.

Finally our friends arrive in their Holiday Rambler and the sightseeing begins!

Now Ft. Collins' Chamber of Commerce could probably point out things to see and I'm certainly not a tour guide, but if you find yourself in Ft. Collins country I recommend two things to kick to the top of your "to do" list.

#1 The Swetsville Zoo -- And it's not a zoo, it's an art exhibit and for all you cheapskates out there, it's free.  Oh, you could put a

couple bucks in the bucket if you choose to donate, but no one's there to make you feel guilty. That being said this cheapskate kicked in a few bucks just 'cause I enjoyed the show. This fellow definitely sees more things in a pile of junk than the average dude. You're not going to hang this art on your wall but you are likely hear, or say, things like...."Hey Honey, come look at this."...."Well, would you look at that"..."Hey, it's an alligator." "A chain, I'll be. He made that with a chain"....    Oh yeah, while this is an opinion of an old crumugin, I think kids would like it too. For you romantics out there, it's a love story also, he made all this art for his wife.

#2 The Campbell's Soup Can
First of all, it's free. So what have you got to lose?  They don't even want your stinking donation.
Our friend, Lynn!
Well it's a big tank, cut and painted in the proportions of Andy Warhol's classic painting, but big.  I know, I know, I laughed too when I first read it.  I mean it just sits there and looks all soup canney, but then someone pointed out that you could have your  picture taken in front of it.  Bang! Just like that I was in.  I wanted a picture,  Ok, think about it and I'll bet you'll want one too. And yes kids (especially kids) will want one too.

Hand-held CB radios link our rigs as we venture down the road;
our next stop 10 miles east Cheyenne, WY on I-80 at Mel Gould's Buryville. The four of us marvel at how this welding artist has a different twist in how all his creations move with the wind.

I've got to tell you, as far as travel is concerned, this retirement thing is just great (Why didn't someone tell me about it sooner?). The flexibility of traveling with few time constraints is absolutely liberating. Our goal of touring Western Canada and Alaska is still a strong tug, but we agree that maybe we should take our time by slowly zig zagging our way north.  We choose to visit some sites that we have seen on previous trips. We agree that Devils Tower seems like something to see again. So we're off to northeastern Wyoming and Devils Tower.

Now, I suppose that someone might see this igneous monolith with bear claw marks running up and down it so often that it becomes blase, but I assure you twice ain't too much. And, hey, it's a Federal campground, which means cheap and I so do like cheap.  We arrive in the evening with wind rocking the Casita and with on-again, off-again showers. The planned cookout is canceled.  Fear not we will find a nice place for a fire and cookout in the next few days. We drift off to sleep, snug in our little fiberglass egg, rain drops dancing on the roof. I love it.

Morning comes with the tower out our window shrouded in low lying clouds and then the cloud settles about the tower's base with the top popping out. How cool is that? It's easy to see why the Native Americans thought it was sacred. Sunshine drives the leaking clouds away and we seize the opportunity to circle hike the big rock. Ahh, beautiful, and twice isn't too much to see this National Monument (Thanks Teddy).

However, there is a problem. Our fellow travelers, the Barksmore Sisters, have discovered that their 31' Holiday Rambler has sprung a leak above the driver's seat and since we are unable to find an RV supply nearby and since more rain is predicted we find ourselves headed to Camping World in Rapid City, South Dakota to get some of that super duper sticky tape to put on the seam. The negative is we are going to have to go away from Alaska, albeit through the
magnificent Black Hills (ahaa shucks!) The positive is that we don't have to be anywhere at any particular time and we will get the leak fixed. And...and the cherry on the top, we will get to see Kamala's nieces, grand nieces, and great grand nephews, because we are arriving at the same time as a family dinner is scheduled.   Whoopee!

Truly, as Conner points out in his Art of Travel: one should be able to deviate from your course when you want to. And that, folks is why retirement rocks.  A planned itinerary is great, but deviation can bring some lovely surprises if you got the time to explore and the willingness to let go of plans.

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