Chautauqua On the Road Ch. 2

Five years ago if anyone had told me that I would someday be living in my car, actually residing in my car on a regular, extended basis, I would have told them they were nuts. To me at that time, the idea was crazy.

I mean, I had a wife and two kids. We had built and lived in our home for fifteen years. I worked for a major international paper company as an environmental technician and had lots of “mill toys” like a new Honda Accord, a Ski-Do snowmobile, a Honda Gold Wing, etc. I had a big vegetable garden in the back yard, and over the years I had planted more than 40 trees on the half-acre lot that was the biggest one in the housing addition. Every Christmas I would hang about a million lights all over the house and the trees, and in the summer a whole lot of Weber grilling took place on the big deck. We had our own well and a septic tank because we lived outside the city limits and we liked it that way. We knew all our neighbors and our kids all played together.

So what happened? The usual things. Dorothy and I had slowly started to drift apart till eventually we separated then got divorced. Mowing all that grass once a week was starting to get old, Michele, the oldest, had moved out when she turned eighteen.  Josh was fourteen and it had just been him and I in the house since Dorothy left.

Just the two of us for seven years. In that time we went on some great trips together. We went to the Black Hills on the motorcycle, and drove the Accord to Florida where we spent a week in Sarasota. We flew to Orlando and took the Disney cruise ship to the Bahamas where we went para-sailing together and went snorkeling on the reefs.
After that we spent five days at Disney World. One winter we flew to Las Vegas to see what that was all about, and one year we flew to San Diego and spent ten days with my folks who winter there. We’ve done a lot together, Josh and I.

I turn the music off and roll down the window to have a smoke. The car is running good and the miles unwind like a ball of string. The road from Newcastle in northern Wyoming to Cheyenne in the southern part of the state is a pretty cool road. I’ve driven this road a number of times and it doesn’t get old.  You go through towns with names like Mule Creek Junction, Red Bird, Lusk, and Lingle.  Actually, this road parallels the old “Cheyenne to Deadwood” stagecoach road.  I think about stuff like that sometimes when I’m driving these less traveled country roads.

Back in the day, the stagecoach trip from Cheyenne to Deadwood must have been a hairy ride. I bet that stage road saw a lot of action. I always try to imagine what it must have been like for those people back then. No cars, no roadside rests with lights and bathrooms, no bottled water! Did they know they had it rough or was it just normal to them? Will some future people try to imagine what it must have been like driving a car on a road between Cheyenne and Spearfish with nothing but a cell phone, air conditioning, and CDs to listen to, and wonder, “How did they do it?”

Just south of Cheyenne and I’m in Colorado already. It’s only about six hours from Spearfish to Boulder.


2 comments on “Chautauqua On the Road Ch. 2

  1. Kyla asked me the other day if they had colour in the ‘olden days’, or was it black and white like the TV and photo’s. I’m sure life was hard, but it was just life really. I often think of life without my vacuum, dishwasher, clothes washer/dryer….the internet!?!?!?!?!
    And yet occasionally, I yearn for the simpler times.
    Another amazing entry.
    You’re a great dad you are.

  2. Thanks Hay. So many things I remember and wish I had done better. And I think you’re right. Life, whenever it happens, is just life.

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