Catching Up on Things While Traveling
by Art Goodtimes
Aug 13, 2009 | 928 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ON THE ROAD … Traveling with my 10-year-old (soon to be 11) on our way to Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula for a five-day hike is an interesting trip. Even though over 50 years separate us, we share some common traits …. We both love our computers, and bring them everywhere. Motels, even in the smallest places, have to have wifi – that’s one of our prerequisites. We spend a lot of time “catching up with the world”, as Gorio put it the other night. Email, internet, facebook – we do them all. It even allows me to continue to do county business, even while supposedly “on vacation.” I can keep in daily touch with staff on important issues, read letters and backup material, and interact with constituents … And Gorio and I share another new tool in the communication arsenal, cell phones. Like our computers, Gorio has a nicer one than mine. Which is fine. I don’t like using cell phone much. In fact, I don’t like using telephones much. Something about disembodied voice that has always bothered me. But each night we plug in our machines, charge them up, and that allows us to talk and text folks while riding in our Honda Civic. I found myself catching up on my answer machine list while driving (cell phones work best in cities, and mine doesn’t work hardly at all in Norwood) … Both of us are addicted to TV. Gorio prefers cartoons while I like movies. And that makes for a tad of conflict. But since we don’t have TV at Cloud Acre (since we’d both be lulled into becoming couch potatoes, and I have real potatoes that need a lot of attention there), we indulge ourselves at our motel stops … Oh, and that’s another thing. We enjoy staying at motels. In fact, Gorio will agree to long drives (we’ve put in over 500 miles a day on this trip) so long as a comfy motel awaits us at the end of the day (and not camping out in the woods – which I also enjoy, but Gorio doesn’t) … We both like music while driving, and if the CD choice annoys him eventually, he has his iPod to take him to a different place … Actually, I have to say, I enjoy traveling with my son more than anyone else I know. And since we both like to talk and joke, even a grueling cross-country road trip passes relatively quickly. The only hard part (for me) is that he doesn’t drive yet. And so this old man has to take occasional roadside naps when the sleep urge becomes too strong.

FOLEY STATION … Other than locking us out of our car in the motel parking lot in Green River the first night (and requiring roadside assistance from a nice couple who had to drive up from Moab), our biggest disappointment to date (actually, my biggest disappointment) happened in La Grande, Oregon. I’d found a wonderful restaurant on my way through there a few months ago for a Western Interstate Region (WIR) meeting in Pendleton. It was delicious food. The menu was amazing. The service phenomenal. I salivated all the way from Boise, as it became clear we’d pass through La Grande in time to lunch at Foley Station. Even though neither of us was particularly hungry and we were on a tight time schedule in order to meet our hike-mates in Washington, we pulled off the Interstate and into La Grande, drove to main street, parked our car and walked to the door. But alas, it was closed. Seems it was only open weekdays and not on Saturday and Sundays … One thing about Oregon, they do things differently up there – from requiring attendants to pump your gas to keeping weird restaurant hours.

WEEKLY QUOTA … “You can fool some of the people some of the time, and that’s enough to make a decent living.” -W. C. Fields

FARM SERVICE AGENCY … This office of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture here in Colorado has a new boss – Telluride’s old friend Trudy Kareus. Trudy, who often visited an old family cabin at Trout Lake, has left her job as Grand Junction rep for U.S. Senator Michael Bennett (and before that Ken Salazar) and moved to Lakewood, by Denver’s Federal Center, to head up this important agency … Locals should know that we have a great connection at the USDA, should we ever need one.

OBAMA … I can still hear Grandpa Vince railing against our last disaster for president, George W. Just the mere mention of that unfortunate’s name sent the Bontempi patriarch into a blue streak of oaths and cusswords. Grandpa passed away before Barack Obama took office. But I know it would have been a great comfort to him to know the Republic did an important self-correction, and threw the Republican neo-cons out of the White House … Of course, six months into this new Democratic administration, already voices on the left and right are loudly criticizing the way things are (or aren’t) going. We’re still at war. The Feds have bailed out big banks and spent huge sums of money they don’t have. And health care reform is imminent, even if at the level many think is insufficient … But I think back to Grandpa Vince, and I know he would be giving this new president a lot of leeway to fix eight years of disaster in his first term in office. No volley of swearwords. No sir. But support for a change that takes time to implement (as anyone involved in government understands who inherits past mistakes) … I think the recent beer-at-the-White House resolution of the Gates controversy is a tremendous example of what a wise man can do to promote harmony and balance on a tricky national issue (in this case, racism). Obama may not be going fast enough for some, and too fast for others, but what an amazing difference to finally have a wise man back at the helm of government in this country.

THE TALKING GOURD

Smoke

death’s incense’s

lush & baroque

while life blazes

spare & elliptical

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Zach Snyder
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August 17, 2009
Art - I hope that you had an exciting trip to the northwest. I've never had the opportunity to explore that area of the U.S., but hope to.

I've enjoyed reading about all of your adventures, and those of my old classmate, Iris.