Cold night, for sure. We’d guess it dipped into the 30’s, but quickly warmed up with the sun. Dave came through again, this time with coffee and fried potatoes with onions and chicken sausage. It was good, but had the added benefit of using up some heavy groceries. You gotta love that!
Our fate for this day was sealed on day two, early in the trip, when Charlie and Jennie were complaining about always having to go horseback riding. Dave, ever the Yes-Man to Morgan was goading me by asking, “Well? What do you want to do? I haven’t heard you offer anything up.” Very confrontational, indeed. Never one to bow under pressure, and wanting very badly to burst Morgan’s smug bubble, I blurted out — having just passed a sign that said “Rock Shop” and getting a great idea — “I WANT TO PAN FOR GOLD!”
Instantly, like some magic dust sprinkled from the sky, Charlie came out of his Firestar book catatonia (fill in underlined area with any of the following: iphone, Gameboy, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Call of Duty 4) and said “Panning for gold? Panning for Gold? Where? What do you mean? Did you say panning for gold? Can we? I want to pan for gold.” And, he pretty much adopted that as his mantra until this morning, when — you guessed it — we were scheduled to pan for gold.
Ironically enough, I was excused from the exercise when I volunteered to make tacos and pack up the camper for the long drive home. A seriously brilliant move. I had an enjoyable hour to myself, chopping and packing and organizing.
There wasn’t much information offered up when they all returned, so I suspect the panning wasn’t all it was imagined to be, but Morgan wasn’t pissing and moaning about it either, so it couldn’t have been that bad. Charlie bought a geode and cracked it open and it turned out to be a very perfect and cool one, so all-in-all, he seemed quite satisfied with the outcome of the morning.
While waiting, I had cooked the last of the edamame (why can I not remember how to spell that stupid word?!). My GOSH we brought a lot along! [note: it’s a good thing, too. Friend and frequent responder to this blog, Michelle, took a great liking to this particular garden crop of mine and shared it with all of Watertown both in my absence and after my return. So I was happy to have had any at all. On the up side, I have spread the good and healthy news of soybeans in the home garden.]
I all but force-fed the pods to the kids and when that didn’t work, hid piles around the campsite telling myself the little chipmunks would just love it!
We were all hooked up and ready to go, pulling out for the trip home around 12:30 pm. We drove north to Montrose, then east on hwy 50 toward Gunnison. Incredibly, we passed the very place I had been just thinking of where we bought the Green Tea ice cream on the way out. I could not believe my luck. I’m not an ice cream person, but this stuff was amazing. (Don’t let the sign sway you, the green tea was much better than the pad thai frozen yogurt. At least I think it was.)
We also stopped to fish in Salida along the Arkansas River. Morgan caught a rainbow (or something that looked like a rainbow) on her first cast! She had another one on right away on her second cast, but lost it. Everyone was so excited to get their line in the water, but that was pretty much it. I think, when trout fishing (and I’m pretty much an expert on this subject), you gotta keep moving. Why do I know that? Well, something tells me that the trout know when the Loud Family is fishing in their neighborhood.
We were back in the car for a few hours, and then a stop in — and this really was serendipity — Canon City at a big Shell Gas Station to microwave our taco meat (a new low for us), and pull all my chopped veggies from the cooler to eat at a picnic table in their parking lot. I say serendipity because when Dave and I were cooking up this plan and trying to sell it to the kids (who love this driving trip almost exclusively for the chance to eat at crappy fast food joints on the way out and back), I said, “We can heat the taco meat up in a microwave at a gas station. It’ll be easy!” And Dave added, “Yeah. Maybe we can find one with some picnic tables nearby.” At the time I was thinking fat chance on that. Honestly, I can’t think of another gas station with picnic tables in their parking lot. And yet, there we were in Canon City.
Charlie was so worried people would think we were homeless and feel sorry for us. He was very relieved when I went to get my big camera to take pictures that he told me to keep it around my neck since, after seeing the camera, people would realize we really weren’t homeless after all.
Actually, I just read the rest of the journal and it’s really boring stuff about who drove how long and how great I am because I drive so much, blah blah blah. You all already know that by now, so I will spare you the details.
Within an hour of home, I made one more co-pilot navigational error, setting us back a whole five minutes. Morgan is freaking out and hanging over the seat, fretting about making the bus for her soccer game at 4pm and wondering whether or not she owns the right color socks for the first game.
It’s official. The vacation is over. And I’m back in Hell.