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Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Keep On Churnin' Till The Cows Come Home"

My Mountain Gal and Lizard Head,  Rocky Mountain Highs in Colorado

On this date in nineteen hundred and eighty six... back in those golden olden days before Al Gore invented the internet, when phones looked like phones because they hadn't changed in fifty years... Bobbie and I climbed into a flimsy wicker basket that dangled at the ends of stings attached to a hot air balloon. Joining us was an inexperienced pilot and an acrophobic Justice of the Peace; we ascended, clutching our chests and wicker, into a Colorado Blue Sky (patent pending).

At a breathtaking altitude of three thousand feet—over a lush June carpet of mountain greenery—we exchanged brief "I Do's" and sailed into the sun. Really... we did, we have witnesses. There wasn't room enough left in our little wicker basket so I hired a second balloon and pilot, a young gal that looked right out of high school. My brother, Dan, and reluctant sister-in-law, Elaine, ascended right along beside us for our little ceremony in the sky. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday—others, a hundred long years ago. 

Ah, our first date speaks volumes... a six mile run up to Black Canyon National Park's rim, and back. After that crippling run I realized I had met my "match." Later, over Red Barn salads that were as much works of art as feats of engineering ($3.95 for all you could stack on the plate), and a couple of Miller Lites (my conversion to "Beer Snobbery" came later) Bobbie and I learned that we shared common dreams and values. We talked of living out-of-the-ordinary adventurous lives, seeking out and exploring the west's nooks and crannies, camping, backpacking, climbing all 54 of Colorado's fourteen thousand foot peaks and running addictions, like grunting out long distance races through mountains that rise and fall like movements in a symphony. 

That was the humble beginnings of this couple with common denominators... a mutual agreement that life was meant to be lived in motion... outdoors, instead of sitting at a desk within the confines four windowless walls, scheduling well intentioned but meaningless meetings that give the illusion of productivity. 

I showed Bobbie my beloved childhood stomping grounds in southern Arizona each winter. She quickly fell in love with the prickly armed Ocotillo and statuesque Saguaro, icons of the Sonoran Desert. In summertime we spent most weekends in the mountains exploring or adding another 14'er to our "bagged" list. We'd drag our busted asses home late Sunday nights in order to go back to work on "Blue Mondays," me at the Water Factory, Bobbie at The Athletic Club. 

One of our common dreams was to retire early (duh!). Work has a tendency to get in the way of fun, not to mention keep you on a "short leash." After considerable blood, sweat and tears, that pipe-dream eventually stumbled in to town. I was only 49 when we bought our first real RV and ran away from our Colorado home. Bobbie and I played "On The Road" like Charles Kuralt's kids for a couple of years... no Blue Mondays, no time clocks, no bosses... before suddenly realizing that my little Excel Graph (actually, it was Quattro Pro) of Net Worth versus Time was falling short of Projections. It seems my Recreational Business Model for Retirement was contaminated with Optimism. Well, Shoot, back to the "drawing board" (work), because (Newbies, listen up) Reality RV costs about twice as much as Projections when you go hog wild and free whilst living on the road (note first photo below). More disciplined RV'ers disagree... but where, I would argue, is the fun in discipline?

The Artful RV Adventure is still a work in progress; it continues to mutate and unfold in ways neither of us could have predicted. It keeps us off balance, thus interested. After 26 years of marriage... and being together for (oh boy, better not screw this up... let's see, 83 minus a hundred... borrow the one... plus 12...) uh, dang near thirty years... we still have dreams to chase and enough love in our tank to "keep on churning till the cows come home." 

There are a few more nooks and crannies awaiting exploration before "Revelations"... before the "End-Time Message" get's the best of us. Eventually, when "the cows come home," well, we'll have one hell of a scrapbook from the "good old days" to thumb through. Till then, "we got to keep on churnin'." 
Happy Anniversary, BJ,
All My Love, 

            Keep On Churnin'
Layin' round makin' butter from the cream
I know that we seen each other in a dream
My heart starts yearnin' when I'm all alone
So keep on churnin' till the cows come home

Keep on churnin' and don't go slow
Keep on churnin' everybody knows
You got to keep on churnin'
Or it just don't mean a thing

Fryin' pan's goin' crazy on the stove
A blue sky's growin' hazy in the cold
If I'd quit now it'd surely be a sin
I got to keep on churnin' till the end begins

Keep on churnin' it ain't no lie
Keep on churnin' till the day we die
We got to keep on churnin'
Or it just don't mean a thing

Love is like honey from a bee
Found in the bottom of an old oak tree
It may sound funny but it's a shame
If you lose your honey, then you lose the game

Keep on churnin' it ain't no lie
Keep on churnin' till the day we die
We got to keep on churnin'
Or it just don't mean a thing

"Keep on Churnin'"  by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

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  1. congrats and much love to you both!

  2. What a great journey it has been so far! Love you back BJ xxoo

  3. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Best wishes for many more anniversarys!

  4. Happy Anniversay to two very special people. I hope we can make it as long. Can you only imagine how we will look in another 23 years!!!!!!!
    Love to you both,
    Benny and Amos

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary!! I loved the journey through your years of adventuring. You've been to some beautiful places yet there are still more to see! Did I see the harbor at Anacortes in there?

    Last year was #40 for the Hubster and I and instead of having a day with cake and mints we opted to live in our RV for the year! It was so great!

  6. Walden Creek Cr RV steveJune 21, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Congrads you 2-- Many more in the future!! Mark- you are soooo lucky to have found Bobbie!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALright I will admit=Bobbie found a special guy! Toast a couple of Leinenkugal(WISC BEER-made in Chippewa Falls) beers to 30 good years! Enjoy!

  7. Very cool photos. Wishing you many more adventures.

  8. Rather fitting that your anniversary falls near Summer Solstice, you two are a great couple and a privilege to know!

  9. Walden Creek RV steveJune 21, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    note-- John Q - FINALLY spelling error!! LOL privilege- I get every other word wrong! Maybe I can edit Marks first book!

  10. Walden Creek RV steveJune 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    My bad-- I owe John Q a beer! I thought John Q had made a spelling error finally! I guess this means no chance of editing Marks first book!When Marks goes off on one of his good rants I have to run to dictionary to follow along! except for the swear words!

  11. Happy Anniversary!
    I love that you got married in a hot air balloon. Keep on churnin'.

  12. Well done Mark....
    Many more happy trails to you and Bobbie....


  13. Darin,
    Thanks, nephew.

    I hope you know this post was your anniversary present... and the card :))

    Benny and Amos,
    Thank you. I think it was Big Ben who coined the term "Blue Monday" after years of seeing me drag into work after a weekend of fun. He also is responsible for a nickname that stuck... which I won't mention here :))

    Good eye... that is Anacortes! One of my favorite places to be in Septembers. I love camping at the Port/Harbor with all the fishing boats and yachts in view. Now you've gone and put itch in my hitch :))

    Walden Steve,
    I am a lucky guy, I just hope she's a lucky gal :))
    You got yourself in trouble with John Q. That will cost you more than a beer.

    John Q.
    Likewise... looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks!

    Spotted Dog,
    Thanks... those photos sure stir up memories, and the desire to make a few more. I know you sympathize...

    Thanks for stopping by. Your aunt is an amazing woman.

    If one churns long enough they get butter. I like butter.
    Thanks to all commenters!!!

  14. Happy Anniversary and here's to many more years together "adventuring"!

  15. Thanks Chris and Mindy!!!
    See ya in july for pizza and beer.

  16. (Belated) Happy Anniversary and Happy Soltice! Great post. Wishing you both continued happiness and adventures.... Los Dos Scamps

  17. Dos Scamps,
    Thank you!! Hopefully some of our adventures will overlap with yours.

  18. What a great story and awesome pics. Keep on churnin!

  19. 54 fourteeners? That's a whole lot of Ups and Downs :) and as for "churning" ... I'm mixed up 'nuff as it is!

  20. CowBoy,
    For you it would be "stirrin' the pot." :00


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