“I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas." Scarecrow to Dorothy, from "The Wizard of Oz."
Life is a tornadoCaught in peculiar twist of Bizarro fate, Bobbie and I find ourselves swept up, up and away in a freak tornado. We land far, far away from rainbows of sandstone in beautiful "Oz," where bluebirds sing from treetops and troubles melt like lemon drops.
Somewhere on the plain planes of Kansas
This is not the dream that I dreamed of. Where are the bluebirds...the stars to wish upon?
We grind on and on, silo after silo after silo—topped to the brim with this years bountiful harvest of shredded corn stalks—into a blinding sun that hangs in the muted, dry, blue-gray haze of cow gas, down an endless four-lane Interstate that vanishes into the oh-so-fucking distant horizon.
In bygone days of youth, strength, endurance and ignorance, I made tedious odysseys across Kansas' featureless landscape more times than I have fingers upon which to count. Kansas the barrier, of sorts, a mental and physical impediment that stood between my home in Les Miserable and a future in the mountains around Lovely Ouray.
The 60's and 70's were restless times, and I was a restless young man. My peon job at a Yamaha Motorcycle dealership only offered a paltry one-week's paid vacation per year. FYI, people...grief from 51 weeks of toil for "the man" cannot be undone in 7 fucking days.
So every September I'd make the long trek to Colorado, dreaming of quitting that job, moving west, and shaking up the doldrums in my inane, rut-of-a-life. To this day, the interminable tedium of crossing Kansas is forever etched in both memory and ass.
I'd leave Les Miserable on a Friday after work...brave "Bloody 13's" carnage, north to Highway 50 West, a two-lane endurance test of oncoming semi's, cow-pattied stockyards, shadowy silo's, night-black darkness, and unimaginable fatigue.
Then came the "all-nighter," crossing the endless pancake plains of Kansas behind the wheel, alternating between Mountain Dew and truck-stop coffee in order to keep my eyes open. Sometime around 4 am, I'd finally reach the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign...a regrettable, if not premature ejaculation/geographical misnomer as the Kansas plains do not effectively conclude until one is midway across Colorado.
After 17 to 18 bleary-eyed, over caffeinated hours, I'd roll into the loving arms of Lovely Ouray, set up a tent in the Amphitheater Campground, pull the pop-top tab on a can of Coors, and proceed to die from exhaustion. It's one thing to ride the leading edge of anticipation and euphoria when going on vacation, another thing entirely to endure the wretched and onerous return ride back home and to work. It's like my dear ole daddy used to say, "If you wanna to get to heaven, you gotta do a little time in Hell."
Now, and more to the "point:" Our annual autumnal getaway to "Oz" was cut a month short this year. Son, Caleb, and his beautiful bride of one year, Kelli, recently cropped the tops off their Colorado roots in order to cultivate a new "garden" of opportunity in Osage Beach, Missouri. In partnership with Kelli's gracious and loving parents, Jim and Joyce, they are now owners of the Osage Beach Rv Park, a beautiful wooded oasis that borders State Park Land for hiking trails, as well as boat access to the humungous Lake of the Ozarks.
Funny, life's "tornadoes." Just when you think you've put "crossing Kansas" behind you for good, it sneaks back in front.
|Juliet with her "nomad dad," Chris...a great guy with a great daughter.|
Aside from pain-in-your-ass, Kansas, our trip to Missouri was fine. Jim and Joyce put us up in the master suite and prepared tasty and hearty home cooked dinners.
|View from Master Suite...|
With hands full of renovation projects to do this off-season, we were eager to help out by laying new flooring in the main office while there. But first, Kelli and Caleb wanted to take us on a hike... :))
Time to lay some flooring...
I hope to finish posting the rest of our hikes in "Zion," then maybe even "The Johnson Thanksgiving Reunion" blowout in Golden, Colorado...if and when "motivation" returns.
If not, have a glorious and happy holidays, and we'll see you down roads less traveled...