Tag Archives: road trip

McDermitt

The Great Basin cowboy population descended upon McDermitt for July 4th, largely because most of us couldn’t afford fuel to drive to anyplace with a shade tree.  The rest of us went because we knew it’d be fun.

Immediately upon arrival, Kyla painted her toenails and I fixed my makeup.  We felt very ranchy.  Next, we slathered sunblock on every area of exposed skin, plus some that weren’t.  You can never be too careful.

After the horse and muley jackpot roping on Saturday, ice chests came out and shade awnings lined the arena for two days of rodeo excitement.  Jim Young made a good bronc ride, but unfortunately it was during the branding contest.  No official score was given, and he declined the reride option.

After the rodeo, everyone gathered at the Say When.  Where else can a person buy 6 mixed drinks for $18.75?  Or order a beer, hand the bartender a $10 bill and receive 2 fives, 2 ones and a quarter in change?  Bars that pay customers to drink are rare.  Actually, they’re probably bankrupt.

The band was good, and free.  Myles looked at my dress and said, “This is a ranch rodeo, not a formal event.”  But it’s so fun to twirl!

After twirling around the street dance until…who knows when, we all took naps and headed back to the rodeo grounds on the morning of July the 4th.  By then, partying didn’t feel like a celebration of a national holiday; it felt like punishment.  But, we powered through to watch the ZX team win the rodeo, then loaded up the trailers.

It takes 4 1/2 hours to get to McDermitt and 3 days to get home.  My traveling partners decided to relive their Squaw Valley days and take the longcut to Elko, through Tuscarora.  What follows is a sample conversation.

Driver (me): Hey, guys, was that the Midas turnoff back there?
Kids in the backseat (Rolly, Jim and Ryan): Oh, no – it’s up here a ways, just keep going.

A few miles later…

Kids in the backseat: Man, I don’t remember this power line being here.  And this turnout wasn’t here before!  I haven’t been out this way in forever!
Someone: I think we missed the turn.

The driver (me) pulled over, just as the tackroom door flew opena nd Jim’s saddle fell out.  We repacked and made it to the resevoir, where we watered the horses and Jake did his impression of a bareback bronco rider.  His mistake was letting the horse out of the pond and onto dry ground.

We eventually made it home, and I consider my trip a success because of two things.  #1: I had an actual, two-person, dialogue-style conversation with Jake Brennan (the one who works for Rolly, not the one who works for Matt Mori).  #2: We didn’t get thrown in San Quentin.  Can’t beat that with a stick.

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Mama and Me in A to the Z

I drove to Wickenburg, Arizona last weekend with a dual mission: to pick up a horse for a gal in Elko, and visit my mom.  I hadn’t seen my mom in nearly two years.

After I checked into the motel and while I waited for Mom to arrive, I fixed my hair and touched up my makeup.  I was first-date nervous for some reason.  Mom and I talked regularly, but so much had happened in nealry two years!  What should I talk about?  Which stories had I told her over the phone, and which ones had a huge impact on my life but I hadn’t mentioned?  Would she want to know my big-picture “this is what I think is the purpose of my life” thoughts, or would she ask if I’ve been eating my vegetables?

I brought a couple publications containing my articles to give her.  Would she be proud of me?  Last winter I was too broke to afford kerosene for the heater, and I ate oatmeal twice a day when I was between paychecks.  Did she think, “That’s my tough, determined girl,” or did she think, “She had a Bachelor’s Degree at age 21 with zero student loans debt.  Why can’t she get a real job?”

Mom didn’t tell me her judgment on my life during our visit.  Her only comment directed at the state of myself came when we hugged a long good-bye.  “You’re so little!” I exclaimed.  “I was just about to say the same thing about you!” she replied.  We laughed.

We slept in, hiked through the saguaro cactus, split entrees at dinner, ate fried ice cream and margarita key lime pie, checked out the Wickenburg museum, and played a fair amount of pool in a dive bar.  My mama is a pool shark; Arnold Palmer on the table and pool cue in hand, she will take your money.  Luckily for me, she just gave me a lot of useful advice. 

In the afternoons we lounged on the motel beds and watched reruns of “Friends” and “King of Queens.”  I was thinking how different our visits will be in several years, when I’m sleeping in the next room with a husband (preferably my own).  When I wake up cold in the middle of the night, I won’t accidentally grab Mom’s sweatshirt in the dark and wake up smelling like her laundry detergent.  It won’t be me and Mom road tripping at the same pace (“the family that pees together gets there faster”), she with her chai latte and me with my decaf afternoon coffee moseying through tourist trap shops in Prescott. 

Or, maybe our relationship won’t be so different in a decade.  I’m sure I’ll still be pestering her with questions: Did you get along with Grandpa Joe?  How did you know you were pregnant with me?  What was Yreka like when you were my age?  Was I a good baby?  Can you research my thyroid disease and tell me what I should eat to help my symptoms? 

And I’ll still want to hear the same stories: How did you get kicked out of Iowa again?  What was Southern California like when you were a kid?  Tell me about playing pool at the Fish Hook when your parents owned it. 

She’ll always be my mom.  The original expert on me.

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