Look at the pug’s face! Just look at how awe-struck he is standing at the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs in mid-June, his paws sinking into snow for the first time in his pug life.
I cut my hair in Colorado Springs. I brought along the small purple mirror that was hanging in my bedroom back in Sarasota. Remembering that the mirror was in my trunk, I pulled it out and hung it from a big tree. I purchased scissors at a gas station back in Kansas for a couple bucks. Pulling out a mottled compact mirror I tried to get a good look-see at the back of my head. (I didn’t get one.) Ah well. I hacked at the hair on the back of my head anyway, hoping for a straight line. It’s been hot and the hair’s been bothering my neck. My mom called.
“I’m cutting my hair.”
“Are you getting it straight?”
“Oh I don’t know.”
The next morning I took a long hot shower in another KOA-tastic bathhouse and discovered that I had a sort of spider bug embedded in my stomach. Great. Wonder what this thing is doing. Blood sucking? Biting? I pinched at the bug, freed its sucker legs from my skin and watched as it circled down the shower drain. I inspected my stomach for signs of Lyme disease or malaria. Lathered with Dove Moisturizing Body Wash and shaved my legs.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Estes Park, Colorado
I did not (at first) fall madly in love with Colorado. I camped one night at a KOA in Colorado Springs. White-knuckled it up Pikes Peak. (Yes awesome. Yes poop-your-pants amazing. Bought the bumper sticker for my bicycle helmet. Don’t actually own a bicycle helmet.) I climbed red rocks with Cubbie in the Garden of the Gods and cooked butter and herb couscous for dinner that night. I met a man with six pugs who lives in Nokomis, Florida and I took a glorious shower the next morning. However I was craving something with more soul, perhaps non-touristy so I went on a picnic in Green Mountain Falls, an old mountain town in Ute Pass. I found a park with a water fountain, a picnic table and fry-my-face sunshine. I cooked some more couscous and laid out for hours in the sun reading a book Tiesha let me borrow when I visited her in Springfield, Missouri. (Thank you Tiesha. The book is awesome! More later on how carrying this book made a three and half hour traffic standstill not so bad.) After picnicking in Green Mountain Falls I decided what I needed was some good old-fashioned no-shitter, no-running water, no-electricity, no-cell phone tent camping in the heart of The Rocky Mountains. My plan was to arrive in the dark as to avoid park and camping fees (rangers leave their posts after sunset.) The plan worked splendid except that it was pitch black and freezing by the time I arrived at Aspenglen . I tied Cubbie to a tree, prayed he wouldn’t become bear bait and put up the tent in the dark. I missed a few times hammering the stakes, nicking the tip of my finger with the hammer. I was freezing. It had dropped well into the 40’s.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I wrote my third column for the paper under a big tree near the University of Colorado. When I returned to my parked car the rear driver’s side was smashed in, the paint was chipped and scrapped off in ugly white veins running along the bumper. I stomped my foot and uttered a noise that sounded something like, “afffhhmm!” When the culprit rounded the corner sheepishly apologizing for careening into my parked car, I said, “You! Is this you?”
Monday, June 25, 2007
In Laramie Wyoming I purchased coffee, gasoline, a box of blueberry muffins, banana bread and a cheese sandwich from Albertsons. Laramie is lovely. It is also home to the only university in Wyoming, which explains the fast food amenities, abundance of young girls in short shorts and flip flops and why I felt a sudden boost of normalcy in what would soon become a strange, sad journey through the crust of the brown west. NPR comes in perfectly in Laramie. I listened to melancholy Willie Nelson songs on NPR. That day’s segment was “Americans On The Road.” I threw my hands to the sky in hallelujah. I had been joined by my people! I was driving with Willie riding shot gun … that is until I crossed into the outer limits of wild westdom and the only reception I picked up was the occasional jerk-braking trucker on a down hill curve. Lovely stuff at first. However, Wyoming quickly became a crouton when what I really wanted was the whole salad. The dusty browns made me miss Sarasota. I ate oranges in Wyoming for the color alone. I drove for hundreds of miles between towns where I saw nothing but high desert. When a prairie popped up from beneath the browns, I crossed my fingers and kissed them for good luck. Please prairie hang around longer.