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, and 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, our 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.