Coping: Travel Notes

According to my schedule, we should be pulling out of the hotel here in Grand Junction, CO in about three and a half minutes from now and this morning I figure to catch up on a little snooze time as Elaine drives us up toward Boise which is where we’ll be spending tonight.

Saturday’s drive from the ranch up to Amarillo wasn’t too bad.  The new (in the last year it looks like) Holiday Inn West (not to express version) met all expectations.  And the Double Tree here in Grand Junction, as I was able to use some of our Hilton Honors points, so sleep was cheap.

A couple of observations, if I may?

Traffic this time of the year seems like a third less than what it runs in the summertime. That it an of itself wouldn’t have been so remarkable except for the fact that everyone is so damn well mannered.

For example, one of the usual driving tricks of an old 930 pilot, such as Ures truly, if to find someone who is going the same direction you are.  As soon as they blow your doors off, you let them run a half mile ahead, so they trip any radar, and you leisurely get to drive however fast their desperation drives them. 

No one was speeding.  And, thanks to cruise control, we would leave city areas, set the snooze control, and awaken at the next “Reduced Speed Ahead” sign in exactly the same order as we’d left the starting gate.  Unnerving.

Near as I can figure it, America has become so law-abiding, as to making me want to puke, so as my personal bit of protest I set the cruise to three miles an hour over the limit.  So did everyone else.


Picture-taking kept Elaine busy when she wasn’t being grossed out by my travel diet which consisted of beef jerky, water, and a dill pickle.  I figured if I was going to be driving, I might as well lose a little weight by not eating so much, at least until dinner.

Elaine probably took 200 pictures, but of all the eye treats out there, the best looking seemed to be from Durango up to Montrose.

Somewhere after this scene, we crept over the top of Molas Pass,  If there is one nice thing about the digital age, its photography because there’s no problem taking a zillion pictures. 

Molas Pass is no lightweight:  10,910 plus the four feet up from the road.  (Secretly, I always wondered if surveyors have to get down on their bellies every time they shoot an elevation, but that’s another column for another day.)

IMG_3491The main thing we observed in the pass area was more rain clouds moving off to the northeast – toward the Denver area, where they used to worry about xeriscaping and water conservation.  Not now, dear.

Seeing this fine stand of birch on the side of a hill occupied the new half-hour as we debated how many environmental impact statements and regulations Native Americans broke building bird bark canoes?

IMG_3744Speaking of which, here’s a couple of pictures which show you how you can become a great photographer by just using the right lens setting.  In our first example, to the right, we had just come into the hotel room and Elaine decided to see the “mountain view.”  Which turned out, at right.

Nothing special, right?  Just a freeway, a bunch of traffic on it, and some mountains in the background.

But here’s the magical part: When Elaine zooms in, just so, it turns into a magnificent piece of art fit for any wall:


Untouched… except for the phone pole, lower right.  This looks like one of those “famous paintings” and you have to wonder, to get some of the views they did, were all the masters of a previous era afflicted with some kind of 225  mm magnification disorder of their eyes?

Well, as I said, more tomorrow on our drive up to Boise, ID which is another bat of beef jerky away.  We’ll no doubt spend some more time this morning trying to noodle out where human’s came up with the “Shame on you” motion.

You know, the one?  One index finger, say the left one, points at someone (like a swerving truck in front of us) while the other index finger strokes the other one forward forward the object of our ire, right?  I mean everyone gets that far.

But what makes you an aware thinker is when you begin to ask the harder questions in life as in “What is that motion about…and why do I have a bunch of shame on my left index finger that I’m trying to push through the aether at that hapless truck driver?

We know that most human actions have some kind of basis in fact or belief – maybe even obeah.

If you know the answer to that one, please send it along.  Oh…one other, too:  Where did the “thumbs up” gesture come from?  Why would a thumb in that direction be anything new?  I mean, there may have been some meaning at one point, but without looking it up, it’s sure not apparent and we oughta be able to get 300-miles out of that dissection.

Home Workshop Notes

I’m going through woodworker withdrawal.  Haven’t seen a Rockler catalog or a Woodsmith in just three days and already I’m watching videos like this one and wondering how I can survive two weeks with no power tools.

Write when you break even…