God, the devil and other large rock formations

We have finally arrived home, glad to see that our fair town has managed to survive without us for a few days.  I’m too keyed up to sleep, so have decided to finish my travelouge tonight. 

OK, so on Friday morning we left Rapid City, our base camp #1 for the previous 3 days, dt-2.jpgand drove to Wyoming to Devil’s Tower, hoping to make contact with the mother ship where we were expecting further orders regarding our total domination of the planet Earth, but it seems our rendevous was not to happen.  We had a nice hike around the tower anyway, watching the rock climbers with our binoculars and talking to the other humans who were also hiking.  It was a pretty groovy time.  Nobody is exactly sure where the name “Devils Tower” originated, but I think the Souix got it right when they called it Human Penis Hill.   I didn’t even make that up! 

We then drove a few hours to Laramie where we spent the night in an el cheapo motel with an erratic wireless internet connection.  After taking a drive around the home of the University of Wyoming Cowboys and with blogging no longer an option, we instead watched Napoleon Dynamite for the umpteenth time, drank amaretto sours and laughed our asses off .  I was also very happy to finally find a radio station worth listening to that played some great blues and jazz, and heard a great song that had lyrics about the virtures of loving a fat man.  Rapid City had nothing but crap commercial radio and I was jonesing for an NPR station bad.

Saturday morning, we spent the day driving the back roads to Divide, Colorado to join Ken’s family reunion (at a church retreat camp! Whooo hooo!), which had been in full swing since Friday. This was the part of the trip I had been dreading, as our families are vastly different.  Here is a short compare and contrast to give you a picture of what I’m talking about:

Ken’s family has lots of nice people and so does mine.  We both have very large, close families that enjoy being together and both our families are intensely loyal to each other.  They enjoy sharing old family pictures and I found the similarities between our family pictures very interesting.  Both our families have pictures of couples in front of old cars, women holding babies, a horse pulling a sleigh, the family farm, teenage boys mugging for the camera, etc.  Most families have these same kinds of pictures, I imagine.  That’s pretty much where the similarities stop, though.   Ken’s group does not drink.  My family’s main priority is determining how many coolers will be needed for the beer.  Ken’s family prays before meals.  Mine does not as a general rule.  Ken’s family sings wholesome songs around the campfire.  With harmony.  Michael Rows the Boat Ashore has been stuck in my head ever since Saturday night.   My family has been known to toss full beer cans into the bonfire, and then time how long it takes for the cans to blow up.  Once we burned a plastic lawn chair, just to watch it change shapes.  Ken’s family brought board games to play.  My family plays a drinking game with dominos. 

You get the picture.  Anyway, as we were leaving Sunday morning (thankfully, before church services began) and saying our goodbyes, many people commented that they were glad I came and gee, they hoped that Ken’s “crazy family” wasn’t too hard for me to handle.  I just smiled.  If they only knew.

We then drove into Colorado Springs and drove to the top of Pike’s Peak, pp.jpgour last tourist stop of the trip.  Wow.  Ascending 10,000 feet in a 30-minute time span is almost as good as having about 5 drinks back-to-back.  After staggering around the top of the mountain for 15 minutes and freezing my ass off in the 45 degree weather, I was ready to get back to a more normal altitude and a seasonal temp.  Ken did a great job on the descent and we passed the mid-point brake check with flying colors.  He’s a driving stud, that guy.

Putting the pedal to the metal, we motored several hundred miles across the rest of Colorado and the whole flatness of Kansas and a mere 10 hours later, we were back to 95 degree weather and 80% humidity.  Home sweet home again. 

If you ever want a great traveling companion, Ken’s your man.  Never a complaint, never a bad day – this guy is just happy to be wherever he is at the time.  I think I’ll keep him.


9 Responses to “God, the devil and other large rock formations”

  1. 1 Deb July 16, 2007 at 5:10 am

    I have such a hard time with altitude! It is one reason I’m happy to have moved from Denver. Ironically for my last 3 weeks in CO, I lived in a friend’s cabin at about 9500ft, and had to drive back and forth between the “plains” (around 5600ft) and the cabin every day. My head constantly felt like it was going to explode, but I at least stopped feeling like I was going to black out on the trip up! Fun fun.

    Glad your trip went well!

  2. 2 Simonne July 16, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Ken sounds like an absolute delight! This is funny OB! Your family comparisons are great. Well, I’m very glad it all went so well and you can be conversative when the need dictates 😉
    It’s good to have you back!

  3. 3 poseidonsmuse July 16, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Ditto on Ken! You two sound like a match made in heaven. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip too – many memories to enjoy over many glasses of Pinot Noir. Thank you for taking the time to blog while you were on vacation…we felt like we were with you the whole way…Welcome Back!

  4. 4 observantbystander July 16, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Deb/Simonne/PM: It’s good to be back too. I had a mini-meltdown Sunday morning due to too much vacation and it will actually be great to get back to work tomorrow. I’m a routine person, so vacations are a little hard on me. I enjoyed keeping my blogging routine, though and I’m glad no one deserted me while I wasn’t reading your blogs! I’m getting ready to catch up tonight, so get ready for some comments…

  5. 5 RubyShooZ July 16, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Welcome home. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I wish you hadn’t mentioned Michael and his boat though, now it’s stuck in my head!

    I can empathize with having meltdowns and vacations being hard on you since I have the same sort of things happen to me when away from my home, my routines and my safe haven here.

    Rest easy my friend and thanks for the pics as well.

  6. 6 observantbystander July 16, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Ruby-I’m glad to hear you had such a good visit with your family. If you’re tired of Michael Row your boat, try thinking about Home on the Range for awhile!

  7. 7 Simonne July 17, 2007 at 7:01 am

    Desert YOU? Pffft!

  8. 8 poseidonsmuse July 17, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Tsk tsk tsk…we would NEVER desert you!!!! Ditto Simonne…another big Pfffft from me!!!!


  9. 9 observantbystander July 17, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Awww. You guys are too sweet. I love it!

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