Durango, Colorado

Finally underway, and I made it to Durango. It took twelve hours but I’m here.

I left at 9:00 a.m. and it was still snowing in Denver. The roads were total shit. They don’t plow very well here. If figured if they can groom a ski slope they can plow a road. Nope.

And I was having some trouble with the rental car. Budget washes the cars, even in freezing weather, so when I picked it up the wipers were caked with ice and the washers were frozen. I finally got all the ice off the wipers, but couldn’t get the washers to work, and the windshield got so dirty I couldn’t see. When I couldn’t get close enough to a truck to get water splashed on the windshield, I left the highway to clean it off. So in Colorado Springs, I diverted myself to the Budget outlet at the city airport, which they are hiding far out of town so nobody will find it. Turns out you have to PULL the lever to squirt the blue liquid, not PUSH.

What a fucking idiot I am. What a waste of a college education.

The trip was much better from there, except for the passes. Passes are what connects the two sides of Colorado. They are high and narrow and, in this weather, covered in snowpack. Coming down Wolf Creek pass in the dark, I hit another snowstorm. I crawled down that mountain. Yeep, quite a novelty.

Frederick, Colorado

It snowed all day. I picked up my rental car this evening. Tomorrow morning I’m getting this trip underway come hell or high water. If I can’t cross the mountains I’ll stay the night somewhere, but my friends father who lives in western Colorado says the passes are passable.

We spent the day at a local mall. After I bought a gift for my mom we saw “The Incredibles,” a very good movie.

End of one curse, beginning of another?

This may be the end of what I like to call the “Adam effect:” I always, always have good weather (defined as weather that does not alter my plans) when I travel. Probably it has something to do with the Red Sox. I am ready to leave Denver tomorrow, and it is snowing in the Rockies (there was a rock slide along I-70 on Wednesday too). It is snowing worse in New Mexico. Not sure what to do execpt stay here another day or two. Not what I wanted to do.

This weekend’s been great though. Lot of food, loud talk, and poker with my family.

I’m ready to go

If I had been able to get out of work early today I would probably be on a plane right now. But I’m leaving early tomorrow instead. Last night I called to arrange for a cab ride to the airport. So at 5:30 this morning I was awakened with a phone call: “You’re cab is waiting outside.” Poor cabbie; the guy probably had to get up at 4:30 for nothing. I called again tonight to confirm for tomorrow. There damned well better be cab waiting for me.

Let’s get this holiday underway already. Cripes.

Maybe next year.

Work went fast today despite its uneventfulness. I have a long week this week: I still have five more days to go. I finished out my second year here last week and got a raise. The notice came today. Woo ha.

I’m thinking about cutting the Mexico portion out of my vacation. It gets too complicated with a rental car. I’d have to return my car in Tucson (more money), cross the border somehow, rent a car there, and then pick up a new rental when I come back. Probably I’ll just park in Nogales and walk across into the other Nogales.

I’ll go to Mexico next year. I like Mexico. I’m a little disappointed, but what the hell, I’ll see more of Utah and Arizona.

Blah Thursday

Work was uneventful. Spending an afternoon at our information desk is making me dread the coming winter. Thank god for volunteers.

I’m trying to plan my vacation without planning it. This is a problem. The rental car companies aren’t very breezy about when and where you return their cars. I figured with over two weeks of vacation I could just take it easy, be flexible, and get there when I get there. Crossing into Mexico opens up a whole other (almost typed “nother”) can of worms.

It’s still humid here, I see.

I’m back from visiting my folks in Colorado. The weather there was great! Dry, clear, and sunny. I come back here to humidity. Despite the nice weather there, I only got a very little bit of hiking in. Sort of a disappointment.

I’ve immediately set to work trying to plan the logistics of my next trip: Argentina.

Back on the Coast

I’m back, safe at home. My apartment and belongings are fine. There seems to be only minor damage to the area. The hurricane struck further east than expected, and unloaded it’s energy on the Alabama and Florida panhandle coasts.

Vicksburg was a hoot. I watched my friend agonize over a difficult career decision. We made potato pancakes for the Jewish new year. Last night we went to an art exhibit opening in Jackson. I never saw so many lesbians in one place in Mississippi. I almost said that out loud, too.

I just finished typing my letter to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s director. The guy blew off the mind-numbing delays like we were all headed to the county fair or something. In my letter, I described my five-hour odyssey though the small city of Hattiesburg. When you live in the Second World you get to put your life in the hands of incompetent public officials and underpaid cops. Woo-ha.

Vicksburg

It took me 10 hours to get to Vicksburg. It is normally a three and a half hour drive from home. The same state that ordered a mandatory evacuation of the Gulf Coast yesterday afternoon shut down a lane in Hattiesburg and let the lights on US-49 run their usual cycle. Meaning, the quarter-million people heading north from the coast had to wait for two or three cars to turn left, then squeeze into one lane.

While stopped in traffic in the Mississippi pines, the two bitches in the car ahead of me kept throwing their garbage out the window. I had nothing better to do for two and a half hours except stare at the scenery, and they were polluting it.

I’m puttering around downtown Vickburg today, while I wait for Hurrican Ivan to pulverize my apartment. The weather is still fair. Lots of Louisianans here- refugees as well. The two waitresses in the one lunch shop downtown were a bit overwhelmed. H. Ivan should make landfall tomorrow morning.

Spinal cord and spirit still unbroken

I received my birthday gift from my brother and sister in-law: the book “Still More George W. Bushisms.” Apparently the book has a couple of predecessors, which shouldn’t surprise me (recently W. said that terrorists “want to behead us so they can break our spirits”), but does. His father was good for only one book.

McLeod will not leave the building

I went to Oxford, Mississippi to visit friends this weekend. Northern Mississippi is very pretty. Rolling hills and rustic farms. I saw an old rusted Dodge pickup driving around, and vultures feeding on the road. Unreal.

I also visited Graceland in Memphis yesterday. We took the regular mansion tour. The house is not as over the top as I thought it would be, but there was indeed an exhibit full of jumpsuits!

Now, the day before Graceland, we went to Graceland Too in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Talk about a truly unique experience. The proprietor, Paul McLeod, turned his house into an Elvis shrine. You can show up any day, at any time, and he (or his son, Elvis Aron Presley McLeod) will give you a tour. In addition to Elvis memorabilia, he collects any reference to his place in the popular media. Anybody not satisfied with the Graceland Too experience is guaranteed their five bucks back.

Fun weekend, especially sitting around Friday night and drinking an effeminate British drink called Pims mixed with apples, cucumbers, and mint.

“Anybody can show up here at any time. This is America.” -Paul McLeod