Grand Mesa rolled in magnificent swells of all colors Autumn... an undulating sea of molten gold, rust and orange, with a few waves of "late-bloomer" green... down to their last drops of chlorophyl. It was an explosion of brilliance under such favorable morning light, and it warmed my soul.
We were taking in Cedaredge, indulging a prodigal sun and view from The Apple Shed... formerly a cold storage depot for local apples, now, a collection of various shops, art galleries, and an old fashioned diner that specializes in gooey, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls. How long had it been... a dozen or more years since we were last here? My stomach has a powerful memory for tummy treats, which triggered another memory of a near-miss marriage to this bone charming berg.
As the name implies, Cedaredge lies nestled on the edge of old growth cedar groves that monopolize Grand Mesa's genteel foothills. It's an unspoiled, cunning little town... the kind that steals hearts and charms wanderer's socks off formerly itchy feet. To happen through Cedaredge when Ms Autumn spills down Grand Mesa's pockets and folds like tipped buckets of paint, flooding town in nothing short of neon glow, is pure folly for road roamers. It's the kind of homey place that melts in your mouth, sort of like The Apple Shed's cinnamon rolls.
We don't roll Grand Mesa's way often... too many mosquitos on it's lake pocked flattop, for one, and the bruise of near real estate "marriage" that didn't quite work out. Back in our "treadmill" days it was fun to go in search of "the perfect town," someplace quiet and quaint to retire and call home base. Cedaredge rang that bell loud and clear. Over the course of several visits I think we drove every street and backroad, looking for a modest fixer-upper... a little plot of land with an orchard to tend, a creek to dip our toes in, and a warm, cedar stoked hearth to cozy up to when frost and snow collected in corners of windowpanes. But fate intervened and it didn't work out. We stumbled across Lovely Ouray... the most adorable (and mosquito-less) mountain town you'll ever find.
I thought I was over Cedaredge... that I'd moved on. She was just another ex. I'm all grown up now; I wasn't going to go all ga-ga if she still happened to look good in a "little black dress." Best laid plans have a way getting way-laid. It was the prettiest week of fall, though, and I found myself flirting... tempting a trifecta of fate, folly and fidelity. All those old feelings came back in a fevered rush of Rockwellian lust. I imagined undressing and redecorating little cottage properties, backsliding like some TV evangelist, caught with his pants down.
Almost everyone, and by that I mean even freedom loving, born again full-timers, if you roll through Cedaredge when Ms Autumn is in town you're rolling destiny's dice... gambling with your RV future and lifestyle. I looked around. Why else would there be so many used motorhomes and RVs for sale... parked askew in manicured front lawns edged in rosebushes? These retirees traded in their big screen windshields for fruit trees and cultivated gardens with pumpkins bigger than your gosh darn Hula Hoop. They were canning what they couldn't eat fresh or sell... lining up Mason Jars on root cellar shelves like army men. They had black soil under fingernails, homemade quilts on beds, unfinished knitting in baskets by rocking chairs. The Road's magical allure has a way of shriveling up in the company of white picket fences, trees loaded with crisp juicy apples, and neon hillsides.
It was a struggle, but I managed to get a grip... to put eyes back in sockets and tongue back in mouth. I can't explain my dual personality disorder... how I'm so affected by-polar (pun intended) opposites of roots and the road. Is there a defective chromosome? Does my affliction come from the outside in, or the inside out? Do I define my milieu and lifestyle, or does my milieu and lifestyle define me? Chicken/egg; heredity/environment; who knows. What I do know, though, is that this wanderer's heart often aches for what it doesn't possess. It keeps me off balance, on the move, on "the hunt." One minute I seem to be content with a full-time RV life, the next, I'm ogling a cottage and steeple in a tranquil Crevice... or on the edge of aspen groves and cedar forests in the shadow of Grand Mesa.
Cedaredge plucked a few heartstrings... roads not taken, life, purpose. I have no regrets; they are a terrible waste of today. I wound through Grand Mesa's shoulders of gold, oohing and ahhing like it was the Forth of July. I thought about how different our lives might be if we had landed in Cedaredge instead of Lovely Ouray. Would I have grown tired of a picturesque centerfold town, airbrushed to perfection? I have weaknesses... certain things target my Achilles Heel. I seem to struggle when I sit too long in one place, no matter how comely they are. Who watches the same channel month in and month out? If I can't hitch-up, or, as of now, climb-in my Lazy Daze and do a little channel surfing once in a while... meander down a lonesome backroad with little more than a credit card and a map, then dear God, take me now.
Speaking of Goldie, we are making progress on the ole girl. And just in time, too, cause October is upon us! Yes, this is the month I get to be in charge of the remote control, and I'm changing channels! I hope to finish Goldies new floor this weekend... I had a setback and had to put down a three eighths inch subfloor due to deal with bolt heads sticking up. Arrrrggghh. Then a couple more blinds to hang in the rear lounge, some trim, install the new chair, find or make some cushions for the Psych Lounge... a little paint around windows... valances... batteries...
Ok, some of this will have to wait. I'll take some tools and finish up on the road. We hope to explore our way across Utah to Zion... find a few places we haven't boondocked. It's down to a couple of weeks, my friends. I'm excited. Have a great weekend. mark