Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time to get out of Dodge

Well, not really, but it was irresistible as a title. In fact, I just arrived yesterday at about this time. Unlike the last two stops, this one is again about relationships and not seeing new geography or soaking to increase core temperature. The relationships include my wife's parents and a long-time fellow member of the Yahoo Slash 2 group.

Yes, this really is the Dodge City of western fame and some of you may have visited Boot Hill and Front Street and tipped one with Kitty, Matt and Doc. The city is growing from a tourist perspective, new hotels and restaurants since I was here. One of the new eateries is a Thai restaurant that I noted as I entered town yesterday. Imagine that, increasing diversity in the old west.

Today we enjoyed eating at home and visiting with family members including a great-niece that I had never met before. She is about the same age as my grandson, so it was fun to compare their behavior and absolute cuteness. I also got to see Mid-Ohio raceway on TV as they were hosting a Grand Prix race or something like that and I got to see my old camping spot from a helicopter shot of the track. It was a pretty cool look at next week's location.

For dinner, Ann and I met my slash 2 friend (slash 2 is not a sequel to a killer movie, but describes an era of BMW motorcycles built from about 1955 to 1969) and his wife for dinner at Sarocha's Thai restaurant. Sorry foodies, the stuff was too good to take my sporadic photos. We enjoyed a combo appetizer that contained all the good stuff seen on Thai menus everywhere and included a few things new to me, like Thai toast. I ordered Massaman Curry, Ann had Panang Curry, my friend had Red Curry and his wife had Almond Chicken. The owner remarked that we had ordered four items from the menu in the sequence they were listed. First time that had happened he said. First time for everything! It was all good and all too much to finish.

The restored slash 2 bike that he rode to the dinner is a really nice example of a ridable classic. Paint was very sharp and an outstanding bike of the same vintage as my own R60/2. I love to see others riding these bikes. He has had the bike a long time and several years ago got serious about getting it on the road again. His work is rewarded by a thing of beauty.

So here comes the strange co-incidence, getting more common on every step of the trip.

Friend's wife (I don't tell names to protect the innocent) is into stones and Ann is too. So she came over to our truck and confirmed that the big stones Ann freeloaded along a road cut are alabaster, and will be interesting to sculpt. Not only that, but when I go to change the rear tire at their house, she has other rocks for Ann to see. She is a artist that works in jewelry, so we can hardly wait to see her things. Once again I am impressed with the quality of the community building that happens on-line. I have met so many fine folks this way, but spent face-to-face time with only a few. It is a pleasure when it happens, and food, of course, amplifies the occasion.

Plans from here? It now looks like we are leaving Tuesday late in the day and driving to Lawrence, Kansas where we will overnight and go to look at (girl talk for what guys call buy) some more rocks. Can't beat buying the rocks when you have a truck instead of literally paying to ship rocks around the country. Helps justify the gas money and when is the last time you heard of rocks getting stolen out of the back of a pickup? Ah, if you know of such a theft, please keep it to yourself. The super-slabbing it to Mid-Ohio via Newark (the haircut and walleye special) for checking in at the Malabar Farm hostel and 3 days of VMD fun.

I want to continue just a little more on the water theme. Lots of parts of the country are experiencing continued drought while others have floods and still others bask in hot springs. Well, the area I rode through in eastern New Mexico, the Oklahoma panhandle and southwest Kansas have been dryer that usual this year. So my encounter with the rain coming onto Clayton, New Mexico was a blessing to many while being a threat to me. Several people told me they had not seen rain in about one year. Man, that is bad in farm/ranch country. It relates to the reason they suspect the people left Mesa Verde so long ago.

Two of the blessed people are depicted in my July 2008 trip Silly Photos collection you can see at the left of the blog page. Eric and Garrett were really, well, really real. They embodied what being a kid is about. I wish I had done video to share with you, but I think you can get it from the series of stills. Go jump in a puddle near your house!

Lessoned learned:
  • From people of advanced age: enjoy each day, really
  • From children discovering new motor skills: enjoy the attention of the crowd
  • From you: we are a community even if we don't see one-another in person.
Technical note: I have learned by looking at the blog that the photos I have put up are too large and I will be resizing them as time permits, so that if you choose to click on the small in-line photos, they will fit on a normal PC screen. Please let me know if you find other technical difficulties.

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