Last weekend, you’ll remember, we drove straight through Kansas. The moisture warped the pages of my datebook. We forced ourselves through rest stop calisthenics under an unrelenting sun and drank sweaty cans of iced green tea and, in the evenings, cold beers and heavy pours of white wine. The generator ran the air conditioner as we drove because it was the only way to keep the RV below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
By Monday, we were at 7,700 feet above sea level in Golden, Colorado. We slept with windows open and woke up to black-out blinds tapping out the wind’s Morse code, the RV a cool 57 degrees, and socks and sweatshirts necessary to get out of bed. We took our morning hike (to 7,900 feet) with our hoods up, sipping hot coffee and searching out sunshine. Whatever we said to each other (especially uphill) had to be breathed out, a few slow words at a time, through the thin air.
And then this weekend: We crossed into New Mexico and the landscape over the state line seemed to change just as quickly as you imagine it does when you’re a child. At one campground, we drove over unpaved roads, kicking up dust behind us and coating the RV and car with a layer of light brown powder like Nestlé's Quik. Sunday, at almost 90 degrees, we sat outside a coffee shop in Santa Fe, and, for the first time in my life, I lifted an iced drink from a hot metal table on a summer afternoon, and it didn’t leave behind a ring of condensation. Not even a drop.
So, we’ve changed climates quite a lot in the past week. It’s a bit strange to realize just how much animal I am as I experience these shifts in temperature, relative humidity, altitude, and terrain. It's as much a physical adjustment as it is mental. Both he and I are nursing colds, popping Ricola and falling victim to, what I've dubbed, snee-zures (three or more consecutive sneezes), several times a day. [Ed. note: I just sneezed. Thankfully, only once.] What was curly hair this morning is now barely holding a wave. And lip balm applications since I opened my eyes today? Four and counting.
Through all this change, I’m finding myself eager for the next thing, the next adventure, the next travel day, the next location. I’m eager to grow accustomed to new license plate colors and to familiarize myself with the ways of this week's locals. I don't want to be a creature of habit—not when it comes to this. With every new state, new city, new humidity percentage, I’m eager for more. I could keep doing this, make a habit of exploring, stay rootless a while longer.
Notes from the week of September 6
CAMPED AT CHIEF HOSA
+ American magpies
+ Western meadowlarks
+ more bunnies
+ more cattle
+ three-bean chili
+ saag paneer
+ cherry naan (!)
+ fish tacos
LOCAL COLOR EXPERIENCED
+ Chief Hosa Loop
+ Cold Springs Gulch Road
+ pinecones of every size
+ shandys (the season is nearly over!)
+ pinot grigio
+ chai tea (the best of my life, at Sherpa House)
+ French roast (we keep swapping between this and Italian roast; I still don't know which I prefer)
+ Luzianne Orange Pekoe (we purchased the "family-size" tea bags accidentally, so I reuse each one three or four times, shhh...)
ATTRACTIONS BOOKMARKED FOR NEXT TIME
+ Garden of the Gods
+ Table Mountain
+ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
+ Rocky Mountain National Park
+ Estes Park
+ Coors Brewery (free samples, I hear)