“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

PANDEMIC ODYSSEY: PART FIVE


As the virus ran amok, snow fell on the sumo wrestler guardian of Evanston’s Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse. When we returned to the road we saw children playing in snow-covered schoolyards.


The sun slowly burned through the cloud-cover.


Now I know why westerns set in Wyoming are full of scenes of cowboys riding across snowy vistas.


Margaret was talkative that morning, after a couple of days of being quiet. It’s her cycle these days. It takes time to recharge.


Windmills spun in the mist. 



You could film a weird/spooky version of Don Quixote here. The landscape conjures visions of Latinoid, quixotic vaquerx on mystic quests, fading into a glowing,cosmic mist as the sun blazes through a sky full of microscopic crystals. 


Margaret got a lot of satisfaction and stimulation out just holding her cranberry oatmeal cookie: “My cookie is flashing on and off.”


I’m reminded that sometimes you have to forget about making it into something and just enjoy the view . . . then I grabbed my phone and took some pictures. They weren’t bad for zoom shots from a moving vehicle.


 

Mike, an expert on rough weather driving, was slow and careful, looking out for snowy/icy, black ice conditions. Some vehicles whizzed past us. He made some unkind comments.


Margaret said, “My cookie hasn’t said anything for a while.”



I made a note to put some Martian snow scenes in my Paco Cohen, Mariachi of Mars novel.


We passed some of the vehicles that passed us, wrecked by the side of the road. 


Then the flow of traffic slowed down, and stopped. And it kept snowing.


“Cookie just told us to be free of it all,” said Margaret.


Cookie had become a Zen master.


And a sign reminded us, STRONG WIND POSSIBLE.



“We can now scratch being stuck in a traffic jam during a snowstorm off our bucket list,” I said.


It turned out that there was a crash in a tunnel, causing the jam. Soon emergency vehicles arrived, flashing lights, and sirens wailing. Eventually, things started moving again.


Our bladders were straining when we stopped at a Maverick station in Greed River. I felt compelled to take a picture of the murals in the hallway to their restrooms.



And I kept seeing Mexican food places in Wyoming.


There was a place selling fireworks and artillery shells in the snow. It had a fresh paint job.


Suddenly, there was a milky, white fog. Almost white-out. Then light snow. That thinned . . .


And we were in Colorado.



Heading for Craig, Colorado, there were Trump signs. We encountered sleet. A Kum & Go gas station had BREAKFAST PIZZA ALL DAY. There were lots of American flags in Craig, and at least one Mexican food joint. Almost no masks, even though there was a state-wide mask mandate.


Also, Colorado went for Biden early.



Next morning, our coffee expedition in Glenwood Springs, where an antique firetruck was for sale in our motel parking lot, took us to their historic downtown.



We found coffee and steampunk paraphernalia at the Bluebird Cafe. Steampunk and Wild West go together. Maybe it’s the shape of things to come.



We also learned that Doc Holliday is buried in town. There’s a saloon named after him. And a Doc Holliday Historic Society.


They also have a lot of thrift stores.



Across Glenwood Canyon has a gigantic Habitat for Humanity ReStore with incredible, gigantic furniture, mysterious anthropological artifacts, and, among other things, pianos. When I wandered off, checking out their book selection, I wondered how I was going to find Emily. Then I heard “Clair de Lune.” It was her.



There were also some smaller thriftstores with interesting stuff, the most interesting were FOR DISPLAY ONLY.



We then took off, going through the Palisades.



Later, there were Trump signs as we got to Grand Junction.



Fruita had a dinosaur mural, a masked dinosaur statue, and a muraled liquor store that also had a patriotic flag. We saw a lot of American flags on this trip. There was never any doubt that we were in the United States of America. And people were thinking about the country.



Then we swung back to Utah, and more Max Ernstian landscapes.



We stayed in a Travelodge in Salina, that had interesting bedspreads with mooses--this is moose country.



We got dinner from El Mexicano. The decor was outrageous Mexi-kitsch, and the food wasn’t bad. Mexicans worked there and hablaed español. But while Mike and I, masked, were waiting to pick up our takeout order, twenty-four people came in and were seated, and only three of them had masks. Should I mention that Utah was a hot spot?


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