when the rooster crows at the break of dawn / look out your window and i'll be gone

July 11, 2006

341 miles. Not much eventful today, and a lot of just driving. We made one important decision ... there is a campground for sale right outside of Custer SP, the Spokane Creek Resort, and we are going to buy it and live happily ever after. Come visit!

On our way out of the Black Hills, we stopped at Jewel Cave National Monument. You know the difference between a Nat’l Park and a Nat’l Monument? Nat’l Parks need to be sanctioned by an act of Congress, and any ol’ President can designate a Nat’l Monument. (Excepting, of course, our current President - he’s too busy destroying the environment to bother with preserving it. Ha ha ha. Cry cry cry.) Many Monuments are later promoted to Parks. We went on the “moderate-level” guided tour of Jewel Cave. It was really beautiful; it reminded us both separately of the Goonies cave. Definitely worth it, but we were both pretty ready to get under way and put some serious miles on the car.

So we did, and drove through Wyoming. We were going to stop at the Cheyenne, WY KOA, and we found it, but we did not stay there. It was almost the opposite of charming. It bordered some huge factory, was directly off the highway, and must have been near a cowshit processing plant. We’re not talking natural, fresh farm manure here. This smell bowled you over if you even cracked the car door. Shoogs vetoed it post haste, hurried back into the car, backed up to get the hell out of there, and hit a brick wall. Seriously. He actually knocked over the KOA decorative brick parking lot wall. I laughed my ass off while he got out and laid the bricks back together. I wanted to help, but it was too funny! Wiping tears from my eyes, we crossed the border and dragged on to Fort Collins, CO. Our luck held out once again, because we found a lovely campsite that bordered a large field of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. They wandered around all evening, playing games with each other and galloping here and there. Thoroughly captivating as we sipped our post dinner whiskey. (We found out later that they were exotic, foreign-bred, famous show horses!)

I did some late night laundry and read my book while Shoogie went to bed early. I think he might be getting that cold.

July 12, 2006

240 miles. Yep. Shoogie’s sick. And, well ... he’s not the most patient sick guy. I mean, who is, right? But Shoogie. Oh Shoogie, Shoogie, Shoogie. I love him. That’s all I’ll say.

Another almost full driving day. We drove through CO today, and decided on the spur of the moment to stop where we’d be able to do a little white water rafting. I haven’t been for years, but I used to love it, and Shoogs has never gone. So we found a campground & resort, and signed up for a trip for tomorrow. I hope he’s feeling up to it, but they said we could get our deposit back, if not. He’s really feeling crappy today.

We got a campsite right on the Colorado River across from an immense cliff and some train tracks going along the base. Really nice site, and we were lucky (again) - it was really the only super cool site left; the place was really filling up. As we were setting up, it clouded over very quickly, and started to sprinkle just a bit. Shoogs walked up to the camp store to see about a tarp, and I started to unload. By the time he got back (sans tarp), the sprinkle had upgraded to a light rain. We hustled to get the tent up while the ground was dry, and good thing, too. Just as soon as we laid the tent down, the downpour started. And the lightning, and the thunder. We were soaked through instantly, and then just as quickly muddy from the knees down because of the sand & dirt we were kicking up. We finished erecting the tent (quickest time ever, probably), with no major water distress to the tent itself. It was a warm day, but a cold rain. Poor Shoogie was miserable. If you’re tenting, once you’re already wet, there’s no place to go. You might as well stay in the rain. But all sickie-pie wanted to do was relax, which was entirely impossible. So I worked a little magic, and produced the cure-all for this trip - a whiskey on the rocks. Refreshing!

So. We’re standing and sipping and generally getting soaked. The wind picks up a bit, and I’m watching the rain hit the river and turning my face up to the rain, and generally having a great time. And I don’t mean to be, but I can’t stop giggling at my poor sweetheart. It’s AWFUL, he’s SICK! But there’s something about his hunched shoulders and the way he’s holding his arms, and his dripping windbreaker, and his sad puppy dog expression as he takes sips of his whiskey that pushes me over the edge. I wander closer to the river, so he doesn’t see me laughing, which (rightfully so) would make him FURIOUS in his current state. Then I hear him say, “Oh shit.” I think he’s referring to my inappropriate laughter, so I turn to apologize. But he’s not even looking at me. I twist around to see what he’s looking at, and immediately see our tent spinning towards us. We hadn’t staked it down! I have a quick horrifying flash of us chasing the mother-effing tent all the way down the road through the campground, but it somersaults over the picnic table and smacks right into Shoogie. Even sick, Shoogie can withstand the power of an empty tent, so we’re saved! Except I totally, completely, 100% Lose. My. Shit. I can barely stand up. Jeez, it was funny. I’m laughing right now writing about it.

The rest of the evening is uneventful, and the sun comes out full force and dries everything. (Even my laughter-induced tears.) We spend the rest of the evening chillin’ and cooking and watching trains go by right across the river. Sometimes the engineers wave and blow the train whistle. Fucking cool.

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