Road Warriors Three Day Seven

PinExt Road Warriors Three Day Seven

Thursday, 8/4/2011

Eggs and toast for breakfast. Then sandwich making and Jeep-packing and off to Imogene Pass.

There was lots of traffic this year, as expected. In 2009, we were never quite sure if we were on the right road to the pass, since we only ever saw about four groups throughout the whole day. This year it was a veritable convoy of Jeeps, ATV’s and various other vehicles. Still, compared to what I imagined based on the campgrounds and town, it wasn’t quite as crowded as I thought. Not too much waiting, which was good.

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We were stopping and taking lots of group family shots for potential Christmas Card shots, generally enjoying ourselves.

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..Until a ranger  told us Imogene Pass would take 3.5 hours to Telluride. Some quick math from the backseat told us we would have about 9 minutes to shop in Telluride. Whoops.Dave took the wheel determined to break a new record. Shopping in Telluride was a very close second in importance behind the Dunes on the kid’s “must do’s.”

We stopped once at the peak for pics and raced to the bottom.

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Dave upped the RPM’s, cut out all scenic overlooks and we made it in 2.5 hours, increasing our shopping time to one hour and 9 minutes. It was a little rainy — just like last time! — but not too bad. Good people watching. Seriously, who are these people?

Morgan bought a bracelet, Charlie a hoodie, and me a necklace & earrings. Dave was content to watch us while he conducted business on his Blackberry to pay for our indulgences.

A quick stop at the grocery store for french bread and bananas and we were back on the road. This time, like two years ago, by way of Ophir Pass.

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Dave was gunning for Ouray since the Jeeps were supposed to be returned by 5 pm. There was no way we were going to make that, but he was going to try. God help us all.

[non journal addition: does anyone else besides me realize how stupid this entire trip sounds? vacations are supposed to be restful and instead we created for ourselves a trip mired in stress. every single day it seems like we were 'late' for something; hurrying to get somewhere. it sounds no different than yesterday, today and tomorrow. I can assure you it was fun. But sill. I want a re-do. end of non-journal edit]

It was 4:00 when we left Telluride. The ranger’s estimate of 1.5 for Ophir from Telluride to Ouray turned out to be more accurate than his estimate for Imogene. So it goes without saying that we were late. It didn’t seem to matter though. The Menke crew was all whipped up over nothing and the laid back, sight-seeing Koo-car never even realized there was a problem. They had it right.


The menu for our last night of camping is always the favorite. Not mine, mind you, but the kids. And Dave’s too, since I just asked him. (Spaghetti.) I was a little nervous though, about my quantities. My “thing” when prepping for the trip is to predict the exact amount of food we will eat and yet have NO leftovers. As you can imagine, this is a fine line. However, over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it by keeping notes. When packing for our trip, I pull my list from the previous year and see things like this:

• 1 can green curry, 1 pkg chicken thighs (do not even think about bringing 2 cans. It’s too much!!)

But the addition of  the Koo’s put a whole new, complicated spin on things. So far I was doing OK, but not without the strain of worry and hand-ringing.

My green curry meal went OK. I brought 2 cans and lots of ingredients, and we did have leftovers, but nothing unmanageable.

I was verbally heckled about the meager taco meat amount, but it ended up being PERFECT, only having to throw away about 1/2 cup of meat.

The lead up to spaghetti, though, had me sweating bullets. And Jan upping the ante with her voluminous amounts of food for kabobs and foil dinners didn’t help my insecurities.

The anticipation for this meal was epic. And all I could think about was my carefully laid plans, standing at the stove in Watertown, carefully measuring out 8 precise cups of sauce for 8 people.

WHAT HAD I BEEN THINKING?? I was going to be flayed alive by this spaghetti-loving crowd, who had already scared me into buying more linguine by convincing me the box and a half I brought with would be insufficient. What would happen if I didn’t have enough sauce? Would they try to eat me? Where is that switchblade of Charlie’s….

I decided to bluff my way through.

…and make a LOT of cheese bread. Those dumb kids always fall for cheese bread, eating way too much and not leaving room for dinner.

And some veggie apps to clean out the cooler.

And wine. Lots of wine. Those dumb Koo-cat’s always fall for wine.

Yes. This could work.

Then I laid out the rules. I serve this same crowd spaghetti every Christmas Eve, and I know how much gets thrown away. There was no WAY I we were going to be throwing away plates of food tonight. Not with this much riding on it.

So I sat the kids down and scared them good about not taking more than they planned to eat or face the wrath. Well, I should qualify that: I scared the Koo Kids. My own kids aren’t scared of me anymore. –Except when I’m giving Dave the silent treatment. For some reason that gets them kinda freaked out, which is at least something since it doesn’t get any reaction from Dave…

So anyway, they started small and ate what was on their plates. I got to approve each plate as it went to the dishpan. I think I scared them so much that it suddenly appeared they weren’t eating enough and I had to start yelling at everyone to eat more! I mean really. The whole affair was very stressful.

In the end, it was perfect. We ate ALL the noodles I brought with me and NONE of the new noodles. And we threw away about 2 spoonfuls of sauce.

I really am amazing.

Really. I am.

Lydia had disappeared with her new book into the magical world of muggles and wizards. Yes, after 10 years or whatever it’s been since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first hit the shelves, Lydia Mae wants to read them. I said, “Good for you!” And, “We’ll see you in about two years when you are done.” Regardless of the timing, it’s a worthwhile venture. They are great books.

And she’s obviously enjoying herself enough to forgo the night’s other anticipated food event: Banana Boats — Surely the most disgusting dessert ever concocted.

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I mean really.

It was enough to make anyone head off to bed. Or at least me.

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