Everyone’s gone here — and I have a few days of solitary contemplation. And some errands. I had to call Triple A yesterday to come and put the spare tire on the Subaru -a visiting handyman pointed out to me that I had a flat. I am so glad I was relatively motionless, and not on the freeway. Today I go over to Eagle to hopefully get the flat one patched. It’s a pretty new tire.
I also, the ex informs me, got called for JURY DUTY. (Date to report is the actual day of the eclipse!) Sheesh. So I wrote a letter that will hopefully explain my absence from California, possibly for good. Have to get that mailed today.
Perhaps it was writing that letter, or being alone, but some of the demons have returned. Just wondering how this will all turn out. Meanwhile, reading, walking, dreaming. Watched When we were Kings , the documentary on the 1974 Ali/Forman fight in Zaire, which was excellent. Obsessively explored all 1000+ channels on the TV here, and found 1000+ channels of crap. Back to reading my own strange stuff, thanks. There’s a chamber concert tonight: $50. I should probably go.
To Dixon, NM (south of Taos) on Saturday, the day after tomorrow.
Ford Amphitheatre, Vail, CO
It’s hard for me to believe I only left a week ago Saturday I’ve seen and experienced so much. I have decided to stay here until August 5th the before heading south to Taos. How could one turn down a chance to spend a few days in such a beautiful place, especially alone? (Says the introvert.) This is the off-season in Vail, which of course is primarily a ski area. (Vail was founded by a member of the 10th Mountain Ski Patrol, who trained here in WWII and were subsequently able to get a jump on the Nazis in the Alps.) I know nothing about skiing, but I’m impressed by the large network of lifts and the towering slopes all around us. There is a perfect, Disney-ish feeling here – tons of money, for sure, but the magnificent landscapes and plants are real. Saturday night, we attended the opening night of the Vail Dance Festival – excellent. Right next to the amphitheater is a garden of Alpine plants. California’s wildflowers peak in May but for the high mountain country (we’re above 8000 feet here) it might be now.
The opening programme was a mix of ballet and modern and featured a new-ish Los Angeles Company I didn’t even know about. LA Dance Project. I will be sure to see them again if I can.
It was a long drive through CO backroads from Vernal yesterday. After tons of warning signs, I finally really did see a cow walking along the road! And then a deer, a prairie dog and a jack rabbit. I was happy. Lovely country and some exquisite little towns near Steamboat Springs. I-70 a mess, as it has been on every trip to the Denver area. I put it in the category of RTFYUs (Roads that fuck you up — along with LA’s 405 and other traitorous thoroughfares).
I am fortunate to be here. Vail is just unbelievably green and gorgeous. Many of the same plants I grow at home but because of abundant water and FOOD IN THE SOIL, they are triple the size. The shasta daisies! The hosta!
It was just me and my SIL C. yesterday until almost midnight when the San Diego contingent arrived. So we got to have a long walk along the creek and a deep conversation about our respective marriages. My brother is a great dad and an excellent businessman, but a Trumpist. C. says it’s ripping her apart. It’s like having a family member fall into the hands of a cult. My theory, and C. agrees, is that he lacks some essential critical thinking ability. C. has sufficient resources to consider getting her own place — she feels the need for more space, so we talked about the dangers of a marriage with parallel tracks. This was a phrase that my ex and I often used. It turned out that I meant ‘parallel’ with strong if indistinct connections, and that he wasn’t so aware of those connections.
An IDY friend writes: “you are literally moving on with your life”. I just love that!
3 h 52 min (226.8 mi) via I-70 E
By tonight, my (so far) solitary journey will gain quite a few more characters: brother and sister-in-law, any of their children who aren’t off doing their various good works (my nephew and nieces are rather extraordinary), and my stepmother and her boyfriend who are flying from San Diego. I’m just piggy-backing on this already arranged gathering for the Vail Dance Festival, that my SIL attends every year. The house we’ll be staying at belongs to my SIL’s father. I will be glad to see everyone — and I’ll be ready to extract myself in a few days, if I’m honest.
The exhibit of dinosaur fossils dug out of the quarry (about 15 miles east of Vernal) was quite wonderful. Easy to see that my troubles, to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, don’t amount to a hill of 150 million year old bones. The vistas of the rivers and canyons were awesome as well. Rivers older than the Green and the Yampa split mountains in half and swept these gigantic corpses into what became a scientific treasure trove. Worth the trip to hear the squeals of delight from dino-mad children 🙂
On my way out of town, I’m driving up from the Canyon park HQ to see some last views. The Green River Campground inside the Park looked like a place you might never leave until winter.
I was hesitant to bring my coffee stuff, but I’m glad I did. My hotel neighbors aren’t going to be happy when I grind beans in about a minute here, but hey, it’s 5:38 AM. Up and at ’em I say. Glad this hotel still has an old fashioned coffeemaker that lets you heat up water. (Insert rant about Keurig here.)
Utah is a funny combination of constraint and heedlessness. The speed limit on the I-15 is 80mph for large stretches (wow!), but don’t you dare drive into Nevada for liquor you haven’t paid State tax on. (And now they have recently legalized pot to worry about too.) The map was not kidding about the squiggly-ness from the turn-off just south of Provo, UT over the mountains to connect with Route 191. At the highest point it was over 9000 ft, some of it barely paved, with only a scrawny shoulder for allowing sturdier, speedier Utahans to get around me. It was all beautiful though — green pastures against the hills, complex pine/oak/aspen forests, those wonderful red mesas and rock layer cliffs at odd angles. Well OK, Roosevelt is an uninspired looking town. Vernal is not a whole lot better, but has a brewpub, an interesting pizzaria and the dinosaur bones. And the petunias. Way too many petunias. May qualify for Accidental Wes Anderson. Lots of gentle rain today — which was wonderful too.
I promised the ex that I would check-in. When I do he texts back what he’s fixed around the house. I don’t know if that’s to butter me up or create guilt. Try not to think about it too much.
5 h 27 min (350.1 mi) via I-15 N
It’s going to be a longer drive tomorrow, and I’ve never been north on I-15 from here. I want to leave pretty early in the morning. This morning I spent at the laundromat — sort of built into the KOA campground and that was interesting people-watching for sure. Two Warren Jeffs style women (long dark dresses, boots) were there when I arrived. They were each amusingly engrossed in crossword puzzle books. Today was a parade too, with a good part of downtown blocked off for a celebration of the arrival of Mormon settlers. This had the annoying result of cutting me off from any possibility of lunch. Thunderclouds hovered all day and there was a little rain. Cooled off nicely.
Puck – Utah Shakespeare Festival (SUU)
Loved the performance of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ I went to this afternoon. As with all the plays I’ve seen here, they pay extra attention to clarity of diction and the acting was excellent.
I got an email from hometown folks (“oh you poor thing”) and it plunged me into gloom. Perhaps I am just plain tired of talking about this predicament. It’s 3 days out and I have a wall of exhaustion I notice that pops in right about this time on a trip. I really need to pace myself. I got a hotel in Vernal for the next two nights, because they are cheap and I can be alone ahead of a good two weeks of family. (Vail, Taos). I want to see the dinosaur stuff!
I will keep writing, but posting will depend on the internet connection. Far more in the boonies.
2 h 31 min (170.6 mi) via I-15 N
Virgin River Gorge
Almost as soon as you escape Vegas, the landscape starts to pink up. Suddenly, just before St. George, the road gushes between tremendous towering rosy cliffs. This marvel was created, apparently, by the Virgin River. After hours of desert and Joshua trees, it’s invigorating. Utah always has a bit of green in the picture and Cedar City is downright lush. The Russian sage and the Rose of Sharon – WOW! I hear the culvert flowing right outside my window and saw some stellar vegetable gardens on my walk.
SUU campus – GREEN
I have a great AirBNB tonight, a separate little apartment above a garage on a quiet street, walking distance from the Shakespeare Festival. I have tickets to a matinee performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” tomorrow at the SUU campus. This is my third visit to Cedar City and the second time I’ve been able to attend a play. I like the town, despite a Stepford-wives quality — the Mormon influence.There was such a Sunday stillness today — many restaurants closed. Kids in their church clothes playing on lawns. (I finally just bought a salad from the grocery store, which was thankfully really fresh.) I stay here through tomorrow night. (Monday) I’ve decided to get a hotel in Vernal, UT for Tuesday and go see Dinosaur National Monument before going down to Vail.