WH Chronicle No. 1.03

August 2, 2010
WH Chronicle 1.03

Whaleherdienda has been on the road this week.  Your roving reporter braved the weather, the wildlife, the car-bored children, and even the outdoors to bring you our embellished reality. 

We narrowly avoided a very interesting situation upon our departure.  Sam and Daryl attended a birthday party where a herpetologist (amphibian expert) entertained the kids with snakes, insects, reptiles, etc.  The birthday ‘goodie bag’ take-home present was a pet tarantula.  Trying to plan ahead, I clearly had two choices:  1.  Schedule dinner with Tudder and PawPaw (a.k.a. pet depository) and have them adopt the tarantulas, or 2.  Take the little critters with us on a cross-country car trip.    I was tempted to transport the spiders just for the sheer folly of saying we did; but it turns out that Daryl and Sam turned down the steroidal arachnids!  They explained to Herpeman about moving to Africa and they couldn’t take them.  Ahhhh….  Of course, that begs the question of how the kids acquired more sense than their mother.

After visiting the famous arbors of Lubbock, we headed west for Ghost Ranch to join Ian and family.  It was beautiful in a deserty kind of way.  Everyone had a good laugh at our $1 tent.  Of course the folks laughing the most were the ones housed in “Taj maTent”.   There were also comments about ours being a “fair-weather tent”— though, I don’t understand the allure of camping in any weather other than fair. This Craig’s list, $1 tent, complete with extra pole, resembled a tent well enough.  And as economical efficiency might have dictated for us to just drive away from the assembled tent, we aren't in the habit of littering.

After Ghost Ranch, the station wagon cheerfully lurched westward towards Four Corners.  Ready to partake in the mindless touristy photo op of straddling four states….

Evidently, they are moving the monument? Hopefully, to a more convenient location.  The graffiti on the sign was worth a postcard.  One poor tourist, “I drove all the way from Norway to see this %$#@ site!”

Then we propelled ourselves across miles and miles of vermillion landscape—all so dusty pink that even the bottoms of the clouds were blushing. 

Onwards to Zion National Park.  It has 2.6 million visitors a year, 4 of which are US Citizens.  Sam was so taken by the grandeur of natural beauty that he popped out his first tooth. 

After Zion, we continued west, again—down the Extraterrestrial Highway.  Tom said it was named that because the landscape looks like Mars.   Though, we didn’t see anything more alien than the inhabitants of our own back seat.

Determined to get our money’s worth out of that silly tent, we stopped in Virginia Lakes to camp.   At almost 10,000 feet, it was a beautiful sight with snow still on the banks of a crystal clear lake.  Apparently many other campers were equally entranced by the lake's loveliness long before we had arrived, evident by the fact they were all permanently moved into the Virginia Lakes Campground.  The tires were off and the garage sales were in progress.  Not to be thwarted, Tom inquired about any possible open campsites around the area.  Locals (?) directed us down the road to a free (the first red flag) campground with plenty of vacancies, and lots of bears---WHAT was that?  Bears—yes, for the first time in 35 years, it was a bad “Bear Year”.   Oiy….when the kids heard that, Sam immediately put on his bear-proof swim goggles and declared the only safe place for him (and for the bear) was in the car.   Our dollar tent doubled as blanket that night while we all slept (in theory) inside the Volvo.   In-the-car-camping is a sure-fire way to lower your standards (or extinguish them all together) for future motel lodging. 

We finally made it to Bear Valley—or Beer Valley as one very unsober musician called it.   We’re here two weeks.  This is just long enough for the inanity of our adventures to fade in Tom’s memory and to begin recalculating our 5000 mile lampoon journey home.   When it’s not a good time, it’s a good story… ”fodder”. 

By the Way:
Davie—our marine biologist and supersex snail expert turned 60 last week.  They had a cross-dressing birthday party.  Anyone who’s met Lizzy understands her artistry knows no boundaries, but this could have been her 'piece de resistance'.  

That's Davie and Lizzy!

Rooster is doing well with Aunt Tammy.  She and Charlie are now comfy with the 20lb furry sandbag holding down the blankets at night.

Colonel Mustard is still upside down at Don’s house. 

House sitter is still alive. 

 "No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one." 
-- Elbert Hubbard

"Those that say you can't take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip."
-- Author Unknown

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Hoarding supplies and bear repellent, 

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