Hitting My Travel Stride: Willie Nelson In Tow
I’m having dark days. All writers I’ve read about sink into deep holes once in a while. It’s not my style, but lately and particularly on this trip….I’m in a hole. The drive out of Wyoming had a few hiccups, but nothing serious. Just enough to anchor my attempt to buoy my mood. The boy slept most of the travel time leaving me to my circling thoughts. Not a good thing. We did run into a couple of great character in Wells, Nevada.
First, the gas station geezer completed a walk around of my rig checking the tires. “Good day.” He grumbled.
“Yes it is. Those clouds have cooled things off.” I smiled at his white caterpillar eyebrows.
He shaded his eyes. “Thunderstorms today.” He shook his head. “Where ya headed?”
“Lamoille Canyon.” I answered.
He grunted. “Thunderstorms today.” He walked off.
Quincey waited for me to catch up. “What did he want?”
“To tell me about the weather.” I said. We grabbed lunch at Quiznos. A fabulous, crusty woman in her seventies worked the counter. She’d been rode hard and put away wet, but it hadn’t worn down her bubbly cheer.
“Where are you two from?” She called out over the counter.
I smiled. “Colorado.”
“Everyone we had in here today was from Colorado.” She exclaimed. “Coming or going?”
“Going to California.”
She placed her hands on her hips. “Why I swear the last folks in here were leaving California to go home to Colorado. What can I get you?”
Quincey ordered. “A Baja Chicken sandwich, please.” “You can never feed them enough. They have hollow legs!” She said, giving away the fact she’d raised her own batch of long legged boys. “They’re never full! Oh and the pants!”
The construction of our sandwiches accompanied a long diatribe about boys, tall boys and the folly of trying to keep them full. It was fabulous.
We left food in hand, and Quincey turned to me to say, “She was great.” I agreed. It couldn’t be easy working at her age in a small sandwich shop in Wells, Nevada, but she did it and with style.
We headed our way to Lamoille Canyon. As promised by our weather oracle, there were thunderstorms. Cracking, shrieking thunderstorms worthy of Noah. Balancing the line between hilarity and hysterics, we managed to get the trailer up. After squeezing out our clothes, we settled down to snack and play a game while the rain surged down upon our little haven. Quincey decided to go to bed early having spent a difficult day sleeping in the Jeep. At the exact moment that he laid down the sky opened up to clear, and the sunset graced the canyon with golden light. I wrapped up serape style and walked the campground.
Whew! Lamoille Canyon doesn’t disappoint. Dark quickly fell and bed called my name. Our campsite was surrounded on three sides by the rushing river; the perfect lullaby to sleep. I learned something about my son. He’s a fidgeter. I thought, given the state I typically find him most mornings that he was a coma dreamer. Nope. He tosses and turns. Wouldn’t matter much, but in a pop-up camper….are you kidding me? I felt adrift at sea.
Morning arrived; none too soon and I roused early to practice yoga graced on three sides by rushing water. Finishing up with seated meditation offered me another surprise. My entire practice I’d been eyeing a giant black ant that seemed interested in my yoga mat. Eyes closed, focused on settling into practice I felt something on my toe. I very carefully opened my eyes as not to receive a bite to find a large chipmunk paws planted on my foot.The beauty of yoga is the deep breathing. I didn’t panic, and my little guest scurried off. I closed my eyes to finish off my practice and felt the feather weight of an animal squarely planted in my lap. Yep, my little furry friend, decided I was worth another, closer peek. I cracked my eyes and remained still. My little guest retreated to the shelter of the picnic table allowing me to finish up. Amazing.
Quincey finally roused and we took a short hike up the mountain. The river tumbled to the west. The glacier beckoned in the south. Quincey giving me gray hair.
A relatively short drive brought us to Sparks, Nevada. It must be said that the northern Nevada desert requires Willie Nelson. I thank the Hanrahans for my introduction to Willie, though I think they didn’t know what a pot smoking, pacifist hippy he is. My request for Willie sparked a full recitation of the Wikipedia entry on said singer. It sounded a lot like this:
“Did you know….?”
“Yes, I did or Nope, that’s cool.” The conversation finally culminated in the declaration that “Willie Nelson is a bad ass!”
“Yes, but he’s a pacifist.”
“But he’s a pacifist who’s a sixth degree black belt in a martial art I’ve never even heard of. He’s a pot smoking, hippy pacifist bad ass. He’s officially my new hero!”
Who am I to argue? I’ll leave you with this great image. Willie Nelson lives in a green community in Hawaii. Solar power, off the grid, sustainable building. His neighbors are Kris Kristofferson, Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. Yep, that’s a neighborhood.
A water park wooed Quincey, but a cute girl at the campground pool waylaid our plans, and we took a swim instead. A delicious pizza later (yes, I’ll pay tomorrow) with a couple glasses of wine and I’m right as rain. That isn’t falling tonight though it threatened. The sunset illuminates the mountains to the east as the cool breeze drops the raging temperature. The cute girl camps one-space over and our neighbors to the south have two intrepid youngsters who’ve introduced themselves and helped me sell a book. I’ve asked my nosy questions and found out about their father in the hospital in addition to one wife’s recent cancer surgery. I can’t help but ask…I like to know the story! I haven’t seen the boy…I think he’s found a pool game at the campground clubhouse.
Tomorrow I will spend another morning hour in yoga practice and we head to Calistoga. The company of family and friends beckons and I’m hitting my stride on the road. I may even find time to write this trip.
I love riding shotgun with you on this trip. The weather oracle and Quiznos rode-hard queen were intriguing. Yoga plus chipmunks show the unexpected delights of getting out of our routines. Thanks for sharing!
Perhaps we should apply for the Amtrak Writer’s In Residency….not AS colorful as driving, but surely an adventure.
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