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June, 2009:

Notes on the Journey


We rolled back into Colorado Springs at 4:30 PM this afternoon, right into the thick of a whompin’ thunderstorm that was rapidly flooding streets on the west side of town. When we left, there was snow on the daffodils. Now summer is in full roar. I wonder sometimes where spring went. No matter; we’re back in our own house, and tonight I can sleep in my own bed. In the meantime, a few notes on the trip that admittedly may be a bare half-notch above sock-drawer reports:

  • Trucks were not speeding on I-80. In fact, they were often going 5-8 MPH below the posted limit in states where speed limits apply identically to all vehicles. (This has not been our experience in past trips.) One wonders if trucking companies are strapped enough by the flagging economy to tell their drivers to back off on the lead foot a little and save on Diesel.
  • There were an appalling number of deer lying dead on the side of the road in central Iowa. In fact, I’m guessing that the nation’s deer held their village idiots’ convention just east of Des Moines this year. We saw twenty-five or thirty in a fifty-mile span of Interstate.
  • Near Lincoln, Nebraska we saw a convoy of six or seven black SUVs marked “National Severe Storms Laboratory” with a rack of the damndest geegaws on top of them, and a mobile radar unit bringing up the rear. I took some notes, and found out once I got home that this was part of the Vortex2 project, which has been getting much coverage on the Weather Channel. The vehicles in question were part of a “mobile mesonet,” which gathers data on winds out where tornadoes happen. Even the weirdest Texas Bugcatcher never had anything on those!
  • I must be getting really old. Faced with paying $9.95 for one night’s Internet access at the Sheraton Iowa City on Saturday night, I said “no thanks” and went to bed.
  • And you know what? Nothing of value was lost.
  • Lake McConaughy was higher than we’ve ever seen it. In fact, the lake is starting to put feelers back into the upper reaches of Martin Bay, where the less-than-half-full lake hasn’t been in over eight years. The dogs romped in shallow bath-warm water between low dunes, and we ran them along the beach until they dried out. The flies haven’t come out yet, and a wonderful time was had by all.

There’s much to be done this week, as there always is after five weeks away–and we’ve got the Colorado Springs dog show next weekend. Quite a few bichons are entered, enough so that the show will be what they call a “major.” Aero needs a second major win to get his championship, and this may be the one, if we can spiff him up sufficiently and get him to behave in the ring.

And I have a book to finish. But “finish” at this point really means putting the icing on. The cake itself is done.