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4 kittens

Ring pop

Posted on 2015.08.06 at 12:58
We're in Montana! I really feel like I earned this.

We left on Wednesday evening. This truck is me snapping a photo about five seconds too late:

The owner had a raccoon on a leash. He took it into the convenience store and it trotted along, sort of.  He pulled the raccoon up into the truck by lifting it by the leash, dangling by its neck.

We stayed with my cousins and their new baby in Dallas. They have a Keurig machine, except instead of coffee, it takes baby formula and delivers a perfectly warmed bottle.

They adopted this baby. At one point, Hawaii tensed up and said, tentatively, "So...did the baby come from the orphanage?" My cousin's wife explained about the open adoption. I think it's interesting that Hawaii wasn't sure whether or not her question was appropriate. I'm glad that her radar is up and she's tentative about staking out such territory.

Thursday morning we struck out through west Texas:

Rather blah. Full of mesquite trees and and barreness.

Ace decided to start potty-training that morning, which is not the timing that I would have chosen. But she did pretty well, speaking up when she wanted to use the potty at the rest stops.  We kept her in a diaper, though.

This is a photo of a train carrying coal, passing in front of a wind farm:

It was meant to be symbolic or meaningful or something. We're all doomed. Here are the kids, not giving a shit:

Here's a convenience store with a funny name, in Amarillo:

More like the toot-n-scrotum, right?! That little brown square to the left says "Beans&Burlap." So much gas being passed. (Around the corner, fudge is made.)

We stopped at a playground in Amarillo, and Pokey was very concerned by Hawaii's antics - going down the slide headfirst, trying out the monkey bars. Now, Hawaii is not a daredevil whatsoever, so Pokey's fretting was totally groundless. Later he was freaked out by the campfire, and still later by the boat. We seem to have timid children.

New Mexico by evening is pretty:

We drove all the way to Denver that day. It was long and tiring. On Friday we went camping:

I read the bear safety list to Hawaii and Pokey. No food in the tent. Keep all food and toiletries in the car. Etc.
"Are toiletries real?" Pokey asked later.
"Toiletries are things like toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner," I said.
A few minutes later, Pokey repeated, "But are they real? Are toiletries real?"
"What? Yes," I said. "They're real. Toothbrushes are real."
A few minutes later, he asked yet again, "But are toiletries really real? Are they real?"
Finally I said, "What exactly are you confused about?"
Pokey said, "A tree that's a toilet? Is that REAL?"
Oh. heh. No.

I think I hate National Parks, with their inevitable vertiginous cliffs. Am I the first person with this affliction? There is always some terrifying drop-off. We drove through Rocky Mountain National Park. I have these phantom impulses that we will swerve off the road, whether or not I'm driving. I consoled myself like so: "Tthere must be hundreds of cars on the road today. There are hundreds of days in a year. If someone drove off the cliff even once a year, they'd close the road.  Magically, everyone manages not to drive off the cliff with basically 100% confidence."

Me failing to capture terror-incarnate with my iphone camera:

The cliff in the first photo fails to appear scary.  I think it's because you don't see how boundless the drop is. In the second photo, you get some sense of scale, but it's not scary because it's a photo in a blog entry.

I do hate the National Parks, I think. I don't want to watch the kids climb on rocks overhanging a precipice. I don't understand why we, as a species, should ever court death like that.

We saw a moose, sort of:

A spooked lady-moose, an antler-free moose hemmed in on three sides by gawking tourists. She started nervously at some motorcycles, and generally seemed terrified but unclear on her best course.

Hokey Pokey ran over to me and held out his ring-pop on his finger, and said excitedly, "Hey, I figured out why they're called ring pops!"   Did you now! My boy genius.  I love that. (I loathe ring pops - the kids slurp and get colored spit on everything and then leave the sticky-half-pop somewhere sacred for later. "Don't throw it out! I'm saving it forever!" But I love Pokey's revelation. It's a ring and a pop.)

On Sunday we packed up - giant tent, two portable cribs, and this marvelous contraption:

(which folds up rather small.) There were two days of dirt crusted on the children. I didn't fully anticipate how gross it would be to pack up from camping and drive for two more days. Jammies and I stopped and showered at a laundromat with pay-showers, but the kids stayed caked in dirt and marshmellow goo.

On the way to Wyoming, Hawaii made up this joke:
Hawaii: Do you know when French fries were invented?
Straight man: No, when?
Hawaii: Friday! Do you know which one?
Straight man: No, which one?
Hawaii: None of them, it was a Saturday!

Wyoming has these charming pink highways:

and a tiny fake-bison on a cliff marking the state line:

We listened to The Summons, by John Grisham. It is the WORST! The most surprising thing about this book is that there are absolutely no plot twists. The main character finds a mysterious pile of money. The main character spends five CDs rehashing failed theories long after he's established that they are failed theories. Eventually he meets a very wealthy man who tells him a long complicated backstory, of which there were no clues. That's not how a mystery works, John Grisham. That's ridiculous. (Maybe there is a twist yet, in the last CD. I'll keep you posted.)

Wyoming is vast and unpopulated:

but we don't care:

We pulled into a gas station, with some car part draggin on the ground. That carried its own sense of vertigo. But it turned out to be a sagging grill-part, which we zip-tied in place. (In fact, I'm blogging from the Honda repair place in Montana.)

We spent the night with Jammies' cousins in Billings, and arrived at the in-laws lake house on Monday afternoon.  It feels so deeply nice to be here, where the adults outnumber the kids and I get stupidly pampered. My in-laws have eccentric details like:

the pine cone and bark chandelier, which I've come to love, and:

my father-in-law's philosophy on civic duty, which I'm happy to ignore.

I tried out a stand up paddle board on the lake. I loved it so much. It was peaceful and solitary. It took concentration, and it was pretty out.

Next weekend we'll be driving back home, again. This is the solitary mid-vacation post, and regular weekend posting will resume after that.


(Anonymous) at 2015-08-07 17:25 (UTC) (Link)


The park recommended you keep food in the car?? In Yosemite (at least, in the days when you used to be able to drive into the park) they hand you a flyer that shows how bears can peel into cars like bananas. All the car camp sites have bear lockers, and if you are back-country camping you're supposed to suspend all your comestibles in a complicated tree-rope-pulley contraption.

heebie_geebie at 2015-08-16 15:46 (UTC) (Link)

Re: bears

It seemed clear that the park wasn't actually concerned whatsoever about bears. They were sort of toe-ing the line about not keeping any food in your tent, but they didn't provide anything meaningful beyond that. Our conclusion is that they were basically trying to not un-train campers to be less vigilant.
(Anonymous) at 2015-08-08 01:26 (UTC) (Link)

Mountain Driving

"I have these phantom impulses that we will swerve off the road, whether or not I'm driving. "

I hate it hate it hate it hate it. I'm always of the same mind. Driving over high bridges, too.

Not at the same scale or anything, but where I grew up the main highway ran through some mountain passes and I hate it to this day--even having driven them hundreds of times.

Helloooo, lizard brain! So nice to see you!
(Anonymous) at 2015-08-08 01:26 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Mountain Driving

Oops. That was me.
Turgid Jacobian
heebie_geebie at 2015-08-16 15:47 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Mountain Driving

It's THE WORST. Also I particularly hate watching the kids against any sort of ledge or visual illusion of depth. I never ever want to take them to the Grand Canyon or anything with the word "canyon". In fact they can just stay in their car seats.
(Anonymous) at 2015-08-16 16:33 (UTC) (Link)


These missives make me kind of miss the Wide Open Mountain West.

Not having to drive five hours to the airport has its advantages, though.

heebie_geebie at 2015-08-16 19:01 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nostalgia!

It is definitely grand, but I wish Montana was half as far away.
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