Disappointments, Deficiencies

I can’t keep track anymore. Mountains, blue sky, snow…whatever.

Garth is getting concerned that endless tales of adventure and pictures of glorious vistas might start to wear on the readers. Worse still, though, would be any effort to pretend that we are undergoing any privation or suffering, especially as any such misery would be entirely self-inflicted. Instead, we will mention some of the things that haven’t gone according to plan without trying to imply that we are hard done by. If anything sounds like whining, it’s probably just the wind.

One of the biggest letdowns has been that enthusiasm for our truck hasn’t translated into free beer. The grins and exclamations of the guys as they approach seem to imply that some free beer is to follow but our ability to read people has apparently slipped with our time off.

Garth has proved to be a chicken. Although we are happily not staying at any highway pullouts, his willingness to park under “no overnight camping” signs has been wanting. No matter how obviously they are meant for a busy summer season nor how abandoned the area is, his background anxiety is not letting him do something that rebels against authority. When the revolution comes, don’t expect him to offer any assistance.

Fully Legal National Forest Campsite. Just after being regaled with tales of crackheads squatting in nice man’s nearby cabin.

The camper has leaked. Its imperviousness felt great and we convinced ourselves that clothes in the upper bunk were just cold for quite a while before we finally admitted that it was, indeed, pervious. It was due to the solar panels’ necessary breach of the shell not having been fully sealed and easily fixed with our December tune up but now we struggle under a cloud of fallibility.

You cannot be at every ski hill at once. It might be dumping at Jackson Hole but even a dedicated ski bum can’t get there from southern Utah in time to enjoy it. A private jet might be needed next time. The other ski issue is that one can only ski so much. The 120 days/ year guys are not us. A few good powder days and we’re sated for a while. Fortunately there are the skinning up and hiking and loafing about to be enjoyed.

Garth caught a cold. A really bad one. Sniff sniff.

The Canadian dollar has plummeted. Fortunately Garth got us into Bitcoins and the Russian rubble in the fall so we should be alright. We’ve been away from the news for a while but trust these two, at least, continue strong.

Garth has proven to be less entertaining than he had promised to be.

Brenda’s enthusiasm for the cassette toilet has not been equalled by enthusiasm for emptying that cassette.

Otherwise, it has been as incredible a trip as hoped for.

As mentioned earlier, Christmas was in Vancouver with our boys and Garth’s parents. It was great. Brenda decamped to Edmonton to see her family while Garth, ever the one to sacrifice his needs for the family, took the boys to Whistler for two days of really good skiing, Thanks to their racer learning they are marvels on the hill and a joy to watch (for a brief second before they disappear from sight). Brenda found her family doing very well and a delayed Christmas saw even her dad tucking into the feast.

Unrelenting knitting whenever in the passenger seat pays off with happy niece and nephew. Brenda says Christmas stockings, Garth says Christmas sleeping bags.

We returned to Denver to gather the camper and enjoyed the band CRACKER!!!! For New Year’s Eve. They made a joke about being a secret so your enthusiasm may be less than ours was. Wry, clever, jaded drifting towards despair now and then, witty alt rock with the occasional hint of country.

The warm up band was Camper Van Beethoven. They had morphed into Cracker in the early nineties and 3/6 band members including the lead singer, were the same. Straight-up guitar rock, though, with a few moments of honest-to-goodness prog rock. High School nerdom revisited.

There is no point sampling bits of Cracker. You must buy all of their albums (although I can’t speak for 2014’s release) and listen to them in order of their release. Then over and over and over.

We managed another splendid visit with former classmate Kim and amazing wife Mona, with Kim’s enthusiasm for Turkish tea and Northern Italian alcohol a key feature. A fiasco of winter hose/outdoor faucet activity to load up on drinking water and we were away.

Garth had been enthusiastic about Bolder CO years ago and Brenda had always wanted to visit, such was the eloquence of his description. It was a bit out of the way (entirely out of the way) but we swung by, only to discover that 30 years in the life of a suburb can be a lot. We abandoned Generica and headed to the State Forests and found Golden Gate Canyon. Woodsy with nice hiking and a trial of snowshoeing at 9000 ft. Defenders of the snowshoe should look away for the next few lines. I will accept that in deep snow, the first couple of people through would enjoy sinking only to their knees instead of their hips but everyone after that could run along in sneakers and all involved could X-country or AT ski through it all way way faster. It was too reminiscent of tromping around hard packed snow in a frozen school yard for Phys. Ed. in Garth’s grade 5. Exercise is provided and one’s hip flexors get an extra workout but they will mostly go back to their role as emergency evacuation tools.

Just shoot me, please.

Modest fresh snow in an early winter that has been very dry for Colorado had us to Arapahoe Basin, then Breckinridge and almost Vail, all within 90 minutes of Denver. Vail was hoping for $160.00 /ticket. We tried to compare it to a high end dinner out and add in the staffing and infrastructure needed to run a ski hill to see if we could sympathize but decided 3’ of freshie and Go-Go dancers would have to be thrown into the mix to get us to pay so we enjoyed another hike in the snow in White River State Forest and left it to the wealthy to enjoy without us.

All alone in White River Forest, until hunters happened by on the lookout for cougars. I told them Bren too old to be a cougar.

Thence to Moab, famous for rock climbing, mountain biking, Uranium mining, and, we discovered, completely closing in the off season. “Back in March” was a favorite shop sign. It is still wicked-cool and we enjoyed yet another completely abandoned campsite, this one along the Colorado River.

Night along the Colorado River. U-shaped canyon walls magnifies every creak into a certain catastrophic rockfall.

Garth had been to Moab before, on a gentleman’s trip, to ride. Talk of visiting Arches National Park to witness a sunset over the iconic rocks, all of 30 minutes away, were erased with relentless suggestions that, yes, that would be a great idea and the guys would supply chocolate covered strawberries and champagne for the event. It was much easier to visit with spouse in tow.

As seen on Utah license plates
La Sal mountains, soon to be fracked!

We left the Arches via a clever shortcut that had “Impassable when Wet” noted at the entryway. As it was nicely frozen, we headed down and discovered that dropping 2000’ in 5 miles brings a rise in temperature. It became very wet on the flats and we were fortunate that they hadn’t counted on the absurdity of the Earthroamer when they said impassable. A return in the spring for the biking (+/- the Uranium) is planned.

This was all with the target of Las Vegas in mind. Brenda and friend Tina, who had Willie Nelson on her bucket list, had hatched a plan to meet up and see him. Tina and husband Craig were incredible fun and Willie was remarkable. We had appreciated him as a writer and icon but we were amazed at the musicianship. His voice has lost a bit (hard to imagine, as it was essentially just speaking even at his best) and he’s not the Red Headed Stranger anymore but everything he played was freshly rendered, often with loads of Jazz tossed in, and his guitar chops are bona fide. And he played flat out, standing the whole time, for an hour and a half and he’s 81 yrs. old. His braids are, I suspect, even 81 yrs. old.

Drink Bourbon, Smoke weed, stay healthy for ever.

Las Vegas has, surprisingly, not been engulfed in flames but I did not look back, just in case, fearing being a pillar of salt for the remainder of the trip.u

Bulgarian cabbie is all about the Benjamins. Someone just over-tipped

After consulting our powder website, we decided we could drive through a storm to get to Northern Utah to ski Powder Mountain or Snowbird, or stay only three hours away at Brian Head UT and wait for the storm to come to us. This worked, despite Garth thinking that driving through ice and zero visibility was critical to good skiing, The hill is a great Mom and Pop set up (we met Pop as he came over, sans beer, to wonder at our truck). We thought, though, that we had missed the advertisements for Retro or Gapper Days but apparently almost no one here ever wears a helmet, people still snowboard (imagine) or ski on long skinny skis while wearing rear-entry boots and jeans. Garth even spotted a chap with a wineskin. Take that, Vail.

Bren prepares to go under the ropes for fresh tracks at Brain head

We remain here with plans to ski a bit, skin up a bit, retry snowshoeing a bit, then it’s back to Las Vegas to see if divine judgement has finally been rendered and to get some cme (continuing medical education, see- we’re not retired) if it hasn’t.

Storm spent, bluebird skies call us out.
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