There is something about waking up in North Sterling State Park Campground that reminds me of a parking lot. A nice parking lot. But still, a general parking lot feel.
And it is early! Jan the RacKOOn was rustling around the inside of their van, parked about six feet from our heads. She was either trying to be quiet and the sounds were magnified like those of a loud whisper, or she was purposefully trying to get the Menkes up and off their lazy asses so we could make tracks to a more suitable locale.
Either way, it worked. And while we didn’t break camp and leave quite as early as Ms. (rac) Koo (n) might have liked — there were Froot Loops to be consumed, after all — we were out of there by 8 am. And that’s not too bad. Not too bad at all.
The theme emerging today is that the Menke’s are not on their “A” game. There’s a lot of pressure to act like we know what we are doing, what with this being about our tenth year doing a big road trip, and I find our performance thus far to be a little embarrassing. Jan has this ability to have a place for everything and everything in its place that defies explanation. I spend insane amounts of time striving for this same state. While, for her, it just seems to “be.”
And frankly, it pisses me off.
They took down two tents long before we got our one pop-up down.
Then, after leaving the campground, we:
- took three wrong turns
- forgot to buy ice
- And I forgot to pee when we stopped for gas. Not my kids, mind you. Me.
That was all within the first hour. Clearly we are going to have to step it up if we want to compete.
- Jennie is a terrible navigator
- Dave is a finger-pointer
Now, where was I…
O. M. G…. I swear to God, I just looked down to commence writing again and we missed the second road in to Rocky Mountain National Park after missing the first. So now we are on to Plan C because — God forbid we turn around…
I think the Koo’s are considering a Plan D where they simply take the correct road and meet up with us at the Sand Dunes in a couple days. If I were in a car behind Dave, I know that’s what I’d do right about now.
Anyway, did I mention that Fort Collins is a lovely town? I think I did.
I pick up this writing this the next morning. It is never fun to have to portray yourself in a less-than-stellar light. But as I have mentioned before, I am duty-bound to the truth. Just because it is my version of the truth doesn’t make it any easier. And the truth is, I have been a crabby-pants.
Because we missed the roads to the first and the second campgrounds, we continued north to others on the (northern) list. It was hot, dusty and everything and everyplace was full, full, full. The area was ugly and seemed to be overflowing with hillbillys. Not that there is anything wrong with a nice hillbilly, but it did not add a positive element to the situation.
As afternoon faded to evening and as we were faced with a potential no-place-to-sleep crisis, we began the hunt for a dispersed camping spot.
For those unlearned in Colorado dispersed camping, this is where you camp if you have a trailer full of ATV’s and dirt bikes, a boom box with choice tunes, and a handgun with a full clip and an itchy trigger-finger.
Ahhhh, peace and…. not quiet.
And no water or bathrooms, either. But I don’t really care about that. In fact, I far prefer to find a tree rather than visit any outhouse. Any day.
Did I mention it was hot and dusty?
And hot? I think I did.
The site itself was kind of nice, if you ignored the broken glass and nails. I mean really. Are you getting a mind picture?
We made some lunch and lounged in the shade and got ready to go on a hike. Now I’m not one to complain (I actually just laughed out loud as I wrote that, and that’s saying something, considering my mood), but my swollen foot was still swollen. I was just able to get it in to my shoe after unlacing it all the way. But was still pretty sore.
I remained quiet and moody.
I really had no reason to be crabby, mind you. Aside from my foot. And the heat. Did I mention it was hot? So, I determined that I must be in my “adjustment phase” of the trip. This has been a feature of my personality since I was a child. When I was little, my mom and dad would tolerate my mood for as long as they could bear, and then they would yell at me and scare some sense in to me.
No one in my current circle has the sense to do this, so I have to do it myself. I prayed for sanity during the entire hike and sanity returned.
Thankfully. Cuz that was getting old.
Morgan is struggling with headaches. Not sure if it is from the altitude or the concussion. Either way, she is gobbling Advil and taking it easy. She is quite good at that, you know.
Charlie is picking up the slack, which is nice. But in general, both kids are being very helpful and productive. I’m not exactly sure what to make of that. Maybe they are trying to one-up their cousins. Yes… the more I think of it, that is probably it.
And I have no complaints about that.
We hiked “Big South” along the Cache Le Poudre River. There are three things that stand out from this hike:
- Kayaks galore
- Mosquitos galore
- Dave will simply never learn how to operate a camera.
We found out later that this stretch of river is top three in difficulty and quality for kayaking in Colorado. Due to a late snow, the road just opened the previous week — one of the reasons it was so busy. This area is also considered to be the buggiest in Colorado.
As for the camera, we have lots of “pictures” like this one:
OK. Got it! (click that)
And only one like this one:
Did I mention it was hot?
We stopped for ice in Rustic, Co on our way back to camp and were almost hit head-on by a big souped-up Jeep on a hairpin turn. Idiot hillbillies.
Upon return, I popped the requisite beer and Dave made vodka tonics for himself and the Koo’s. HEY! I would have had one of those! Darn it! He promised to make me one later. Green curry was the dinner plan, along with tomato mozzarella salad. I know I always say this, but: mmmmmm. I’m a little sad though, because my favorite meal is already over. During the course of the evening, we modified the plan yet again.
Since we are about two hours from Boulder (don’t ask me how we got so far away), and since Jan really wants to spend some time in Boulder and visit her old haunts (she went to CU), and since, based on the crowds we have encountered so far, we are thinking it might be hard to secure a camping spot by the time we get to the dunes tomorrow…
Anyway, many marshmallows later, it was decided that we would find a spot half way between Boulder and the dunes. This is starting to feel like deja vu.
It should be noted that I never did receive that vodka tonic.