Here’s another spontaneous story that I’d like to share. Also, so that I won’t forget any of the details and it will be stored safely here for posterities sake.
Deciding that it was time to visit my doctor back in Telluride even though I’d been in Texas for the entire year meant I needed to drive there. I really wasn’t excited about the trip, but I was excited about seeing the mountains again. All of my friends from Telluride, when I lived there at the end of last year were all gone since it was in between seasons, but it was perfect timing for me to actually use the health care I’d been paying for all year.
On Thursday morning, I had one last client before I’d decided to start packing since my doctor’s appointment was on Tuesday of the following week. That’s more than enough time, I thought to myself. Thursday afternoon, before I knew it, I was packed and heading out the door! Giselle was riding shotgun with her doggy seat belt on and I had treats just within arm’s length. We took off and didn’t stop driving for hours. I like driving during the week rather than weekends and also I’d rather drive during the day than at night. I was headed, in my mind, to Amarillo but when I got there, I didn’t feel like stopping so I kept going. I couldn’t decide where I wanted to spend the night, or if I wanted to camp, so I just kept going. It was getting dark and the roads just continued and soon there wasn’t anyone else out there but me. At least that’s what it felt like. Until it happened.
The car seemed to fly up and then down with a bang as the road conditions changed and that’s when I noticed that we had just crossed into New Mexico. Even if you miss all the signs, you can feel the difference between the border of Texas and New Mexico. It was actually kind of funny, now that I think about it. Boom! Welcome to New Mexico.
Giselle and I found a beautiful rest stop close to Ruidoso, NM and took a long nap in the car until the sun came up. Then, we took a leisurely stroll through the little city and walked back in time to the doggy store I’d visited almost 14 years ago when I first moved from TExas to Evergreen, Colorado. But today, it was still the same, including the doggy store appropriately named, No Bones About It. Needing more water, I caught myself walking really slow so we headed out to find a nice camp ground.
The closest one was in Albuquerque and I set up the tent before Giselle and I crashed early. When we woke up we had a neighbor and he had driven in straight from San Diego on his motorcycle and it was his first time to camp. I introduced myself and he laughed about his tent, so I offered to check it out for him. He couldn’t figure out what the extra strings were for on his new tent as we talked about how to use stakes. I laughed as I told him that I hardly ever use them since once I put my bed in the tent, it ain’t going nowhere! He finally says he’s headed up to Casper, you know, for 100% totality. I just could not comprehend what he was talking about and then it occurred to me that he was talking about Monday. And today was just Friday. I wasn’t amused or interested. I just wanted to sleep some more so I told him that I’d think about it and let him the next day. He had invited me to the camp he was headed up to on the mountain in Casper where he was going to meet other cyclists. I took a fabulous hot shower, had a session via Skype for myself from an amazing healer in New Zealand and crashed hard.
The next morning, I woke up and figured, well, I have enough time to get to Casper and along the way I can stop by Boulder and visit my favorite store I call, Alfa Alfa aka Alfalfa Market and then drop off Zoe’s ashes in Sunshine Valley as promised. I didn’t have a single reservation or plan or idea what to expect. My friend even told me that he had to be there by Sunday morning just to avoid the craziness that would happen for the Total Eclipse on Monday. I told him, no problem, as we switched cell numbers and he texted me the info about the camp he was headed to on the mountain. However, I did not see the text he sent since I was continuing to pack up and head out. He seemed a bit unsure about the drive on his bike but he was told to bring it rather than his jeep so he could split lanes since no one was sure just how much traffic would exist. I told him to call me if he needed any help on the way or if he needed me to carry any thing.
Taking off, as I typically do, I ask Google to give me directions and he has almost never let me down. All I remember that the radio stations got a lot better closer to the border of Colorado and I was funking out and thrilled to see the mountains as I crossed into Colorado. Then, it happened, there was a slow down and I am averse to traffic. Talking to Google there was no other way, so we just enjoyed the views for awhile. Then, we were going through Denver when there was a standstill and seeing a toll lane, I took the exit and avoided a whole lotta traffic. Whew!
Before I knew it, I was being welcomed to Boulder by all the signs for the students, which made me smile. That’s me! Knowing that I wasn’t going to let anyone know that I was in town since I was on a quick trip, I drove straight to AlfaAlfa and that’s when I felt totally at home. No one looked at my casual outfit with anything but love and as I hooked Giselle up to the outside area with her water bowl and treats, I saw all sorts of fun people who I’d love to know. There were cyclists and professors and families and everyone wanted to pet Giselle. I went inside knowing she was safe and that’s when I just stopped once I got inside to take in all the sensations of being there.
Listening to the music made me smile, so did all the beautiful organic fruits and veggies and it was as if I was a kid in a candy store, because I didn’t know what to look at first. I flitted around like a butterfly touching and sniffing all kinds of fruits and then noticing that I forgot to get a bag or basket, my hands are already full. I went to the back to check out the Ghee I had purchased last year before Burning Man that had saved my life while on the playa. Then, I exclaimed, Wow! It went up from $13 to $16 but it’s totally worth it as I passed it up this time. I actually took pictures of myself in the aisles because I was so excited to see Hanuman Ayurvedic Chai and all the beautiful treats and foods. Seriously, I am silly! I looked at my basket and it was full of random things, so then I had to focus, I said, Sandy you need a protein! Now how about a veggie? What about a salad? And chips? Until I had a complete picnic. Then, I checked out and headed back to the table that Giselle was closest to. While I nibbled on everything, cute guys asked me about Giselle and before I knew it the entire patio was in one conversation about dogs, and how I am not a Patriots fan even though Giselle and I are looking to adopt a male dog and name him Brady. Not Tom, but Brady. And maybe he can be a bit red like in Sex In the City where the little boy is named Brady and he is a red head. Then, this guy seated at the table closest to me says, “What you need is a totally loyal dog like a lab or red healer. Not any other dog that would say, Oh, I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to cheat.”
I was eating when he said this and let’s just say that there wasn’t any talking or response after he said that. (LOL)
You can read an earlier post about the ceremony for Little Zoe that happened after this stop, but then when I got back and took a nap, I felt invigorated and ready to go! We headed up North when I stopped at three campgrounds that were all totally full and that’s when I knew I would be car camping again, which was fine. The entire back seat was covered with my duvet while Giselle had the lookout seat in the front. We slept like babies at a local rest stop that was completely full with others just like me. Actually, every hotel was packed, all rest stops, you name it, it was full. But we had food, ice, gas and we were set. Sunday morning, I flew into Casper without anyone else on the road.
Sunday morning, I flew into Casper without anyone else on the road. It was a breeze and I took out my phone and checked the text about the campground we were headed and found that it was just a set of coordinates. I plugged them into the car’s GPS and continued ahead to the mountain in Casper, WY. Knowing that it was probably full and I didn’t have time to stay long anyway, since my appointment was in Telluride on Tuesday morning, I figured I’d check out some other camp sites to find something quick and easy for a backup plan. I stopped at two camp sites that had “a few” slots left open but they where pricey and included programs through Tuesday that I wasn’t interested in. I even stopped at a Girl Scout camp that had been sold out since the beginning of the year. I continued towards my destination and after passing a few homes, I was on a dirt road in the middle of no where, when my GPS said, “You are here!”
I looked around for bears and saw that I was on top of the mountain with the radio towers and tall antennae to my right. Immediately I was mad but I got out and took photos of myself. Yep, I am here all righty. So, that’s when I sent a text to my friend letting him know that I was there but not quite there. If he could just call me then we could meet up. And that’s when I headed back down the hill and came to a magnificent overlook with a view of the entire state and my car just pulled right in and stopped at the guard rail. WOW! this is the spot! And that’s when my phone died. It’s black and just won’t respond. I’ve learned that this is a sign. Sign for me to get off the phone. So, I got out and just checked out the entire area full of others like me and campers and even an astronomer letting people look at sun spots from his telescope. Then, I went back to my car and seeing that my phone was still dead, I was holding it when it rang. It’s still black, when I pretend to answer it and say Hello. Then, I heard my friends voice on the other end, Sandy? How have you been?! It was my very first CanCare match and I’ve known her for years. She retired from Continental airlines and has been diagnosed with cancer three times. She’s amazing. I told her about my trip when she listens and then says, Well, the eclipse is in less than 24 hours… so why don’t you just stay where you are? Well, this was the best idea I’d heard all day. So then, we talked about moving to Boulder and living on Mapleton when I was feeling really happy about my trip instead of wondering WTH and when I got off the phone, I was excited. Even though I still couldn’t see what was happening with my phone. It was still black. But then, my friend is an angel so of course she go through. And so is the guy that told me to come here! He is just an angel. He doesn’t need to call me. I am fine. I am supposed to be HERE.
I got out of the car and everyone just starts talking again and you know who is the ringleader. The guy to the left of my car was sleeping in his car until he finally came out and I found out that he was from Arizona and he couldn’t get his wife or his daughter to come with him, so he came anyway. Nodding in agreement, I said, That’s how I got here with Giselle! Then, I met the guy to my right in the VW bus. He was a cyclist from Santa Fe and he was just looking for a good cycling city to live and then decided to come out since no one else would come with him. Yep, I agreed. Then, I notice the guy with the best stories and he is talking to lots of people when I start listening and he is on a motorcycle from Ohio also by himself. Before I know it, the sun is starting to go down when I hear someone asking someone else, Did you get a camping pass to park up here? Smiling to myself, I know I am not moving and we’ve got the best spot on the mountain when I see a 1800CAMPER pull in a car length behind me and notice that there is an older German couple with the wife driving, and she looks a bit frustrated. I walk up to her window which is a bit cracked and point to my car telling her sheepishly that I am not moving if she wants a place to park. Her face dropped into calmness almost immediately. She and her husband didn’t speak much English but I pointed and nodded yes and she got it. Then, two young ladies in a rental car pulled up to the left of the Germans and they got out. Everyone wanted to gather in front of the railing since there were drones humming around, and even paragliders and hangliders all around. It was getting crazy! Then, I knew I wasn’t getting out for awhile when a film crew from NOVA pulled up behind the Germans. It was a party. It turned into a festival kind of community. We were all helping each other quickly. At one point I cut my finger when slicing a crooked apple to share with everyone and before I could stop, there was a band aid being handed to me. It was like that. And then I found out that one of the two girls spoke German so I took her to see the couple who were set up on the other side of the railing and they all conversed for awhile. It was really fun! I even found a big boulder and suggested that all the girls use it for the potty break since it was close but private. People kept coming and going and before we knew it there were cars parked all along the highway going both ways from our overlook. Cars were also three rows deep behind me.
That’s when I knew I should have bought more food and water, but then there was another couple that had plenty of water to share and they were from New Zealand. The wife was a nurse who had just left her post to take some time off. She was so sweet. I suggested she go back into Oncology because that’s where the best nurses reside. Then, a big wind gust came up as the sun set and took Giselle’s big blue bed over the cliff with it. I asked DroneDude if he could see where it went and he found it in seconds and then off goes the nurse’s husband down the hill to get it. Diane, the girl that knew German didn’t know what was happening. I told her, the blue bed will be delivered to me any minute now. She laughed! And it was perfectly fine. I put the bed back in the car for G.
Later that night, when most people left and it got quiet, it was just a small group left of us talking about all kind of things from Burning Man to Cancer. Plus, I met a set of twins who drove from, I think it was Wisconsin and they were so nice. Another couple loved our view so much that they decided to stay up here even though they had a camp site down below and they swore they could see their tent from the overlook. That night all I wanted was some ice cream when Russel says he’d take me down to the store on his bike. I said, Do you have a second helmut? No, he said. Then, I shook my head. Nope sorry, no can do. I’m here for the after party. I won’t take the risk. Then, later the cyclist is cooking dinner of veggies and chicken when Diane says she wants to go down to get a Tshirt and pick up some ice cream for us all. Then, I couldn’t beleive what I heard, but Russell says to Diane, since I don’t have a second helmut that I won’t wear mine so if you die, I’ll die with you. I am just shaking my head as I watch Diane grab onto Russell as they leave on the bike going down the hill.
Some time later, they finally return and I am so excited about the perfect choice she made for ice cream that I seriously ate the entire pint. Diane couldn’t beleive it! She said her mother does the same thing and that’s when I figured out that I’m around the same age as her mother. It was hilarious. We had a great time together. There was a camper full of kids and a family and they actually slept on the ground by the railing and snored while we were out there eating our ice cream. I finally got in the back seat and laid down and passed out myself from a sugar coma. While Giselle took the front seat with her big blue bed.
The next day I wished I’d stopped by Santa Fe on the way and got another box of baked treats like I did on the way home from my last trip, but alas I had Love Crunch and Organic Kefir as my all time back up plan, which was perfect. And then the circus started to intensify. New people kept showing up and NOVA was back with a sign on their windshield that said if we didn’t want to be in their footage than we needed to let them know. There were more telescopes appearing and then the drones and random flyers kept buzzing our outlook with a building crowd of onlookers. I figured I’d peak my head out of the sunroof to get a good view when I decided that I wanted to go Live on FB for the 2+min eclipse since everyone would be able to find perfect photos. But I wanted to share the experience of being there. Of being in 100% totality. I’d turned on the car so that I could charge my phone and there weren’t any calls from the motorcycle guy that sent me the coordinates. My phone had come back from the dead just in time for the eclipse. During this time, an old crumudgeon showed up in front of me, he was shorter than me with leathery skin and he was just looking around at the crowd when I commented that we had the best view. He didn’t agree and said, his spot was down below and that he’d see more the mountain or something and besides, he added, when the two minute orgasm starts you all will be, as he mimics chattering with his hand, you all will be loud and I want it to be silent when it happens. I am just staring at him when he finally glances at me and then disappears from where he came from. That’s when I keep asking the audience, what’s the time? They are all telling me the countdown has begun. You’ve got a few minutes until it starts. And I grab my phone and think I am filming live on FB and narrating what is happening, when I push the button to stop it and then I notice that it’s actually Live NOW! And that’s why I’m so surprised! It all happened so fast that I thought I had plenty of time, but it was perfect timing after all.
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As soon as the eclipse was complete, the group that had stationed themselves in front of my car caught my attention when they popped a bottle of pink champagne and I was so excited when they handed me a glass to toast the eclipse with them! The daughter was visibly shaking as I put my hand on her shoulder and asked if she was ok. She said, it was the eclipse. We
After all the commotion disappated, I was exhausted and took another nap. Then, when I got up the German guy is so happy to see me that he wants me to stay where I am as he runs to his RV and returns with a bunch of beautiful old German postcards that are handwirtrtten and dated from the 1920’s. Diane has already left, so we are nodding and pointing a lot. Then, the twins offer a ham sandiwch for Giselle and I before we say our good byes with big hugs and group photos. We had the best time.