The morning after the election I woke up bright and early so I could get the dogs out before hitting the road for Trumpland, ie rural Colorado. Because Colorado may be blue now (it was purple when I moved here in 1990) but once you get about an hour or so west of Denver on US285 you start seeing the Trump signs. And if you unwittingly stop in the mountain town of Bailey because the internets told you there was a coffee shop there and you were expecting a breve latte at said 'coffee shop' you'll be sorely disappointed. In fact if you even try asking for a latte they'll look at you like you just pulled down your pants and took a big dump in the middle of the grubby cafe. And you get to wait 25 minutes for a simple cheese, egg, potato breakfast burrito while an old guy with a long grey beard and a limp is positively giddy about the election. 'His first 100 days in office he's going to get rid of Obamacare and lower taxes and fix the economy'. And if you're me you don't know if you should burst out laughing or crying. Because you're not sure how a racist, misogynistic, ignorant, bellowing orangutan stuffing the White House full of white supremacists and Goldman Sachs vampires is going to be good for anybody except racist misogynist billionaires but you're already hoping no bodily fluids end up in your breakfast burrito because of the snooty coffee request so I kept my mouth shut.
Anyway, I was on my way to Cortez/Mancos/Dolores to meet a realtor and look at houses mostly because Jonny and I had had our eyes on this little ranch that came on the market, went under contract, came back on the market, went back under contract and we made a deal that if it came back on the market a third time it was fate and we had to go see it. And it came back on the market so off I went. On my lonesome because we still have Lola and she still can't travel. So I packed up the GoPro and camera and braved the 7 hour journey to Trumpland. Because for the last 6 of the 7 hours I didn't see a single Hilary sign. Though to be fair I didn't see asstons of Trump signs either but they were the only signs I saw. At one point I saw a small Hillary sticker on a lamp post in Mancos and I though maybe there was a glimmer of hope but it turned out it actually said, 'Jail Hillary'. Not that I'm a Hillary fan but I'm for sure a not-racist, misogynist, fascist bellowing sex offender orangutan fan. Between a rock and an impossible to even contemplate place.
But that area, it's so beautiful. I left super early Wednesday morning so I could get to Phil's World in time to meet a friend who'd just closed on a place in Cortez right before we met. We only had time for a 1 1/4 hour ride before dusk but it was magic.
Then I went to see his new house and then went for Indian food and by the time I'd driven back to the motel in Mancos and talked to Jonny I was too tired for anything else so I missed all the Not Fun Election stuff on Facebook and everywhere else for that matter. The next two days were solidly full of looking at houses and hiking and more biking and then another full day of driving to get home and I know you're probably thinking how can I enjoy myself during all the horrorshow of End of Days and all and you're sort of right. Except here's the thing. We can't go around in a state of fear with the expectation that the sky is falling because then that's exactly what will happen. The fear puts us in a sort of hypnosis and all the bad suggestions of the internets panic of End of Days get in and we accept that racism, fascism, bigotry, sexism, white supremacists in the White House is now the new normal. And we can't let that happen. We have to be strong and adopt the attitude that No This Bullshit Will Not Stand. There have already been post-election racist and anti-LGBT attacks in Denver and we can't let this happen, we can't let this become the new normal, we can't accept that this is normal. We have to have each others' backs. Zero tolerance of this bullshit. Or next thing we know Trump is firing up the ovens and I don't really care how alarmist that sounds because we should be alarmed. But not wallowing in fear and sadness alarmed. Strong and thinking What Are We Gonna Do Now alarmed. And heck yeah I'm gonna ride my bike in the woods because that's when I do my best thinking. And if it comes to it and the world is going down in flames, well, I may as well enjoy what's left of it.
Phew. So the ranch we had our eye on was not as perfect in person which happens more often than not in real estate. The land was too sloping and the house was smaller than advertised and not laid out all that great. Plus a west facing exposure meant no morning sun when you want it and hot blasting afternoon sun when you don't. I saw a bunch more houses, maybe a dozen or so in all, and only 2 were reasonable possibilities and only one of those was practical. The other was a super nice house but 5 minutes on a hilly dirt road to get down to the main road which doesn't sound that bad but was a bit more excitement than what we're looking for. Plus the house was super fancy, way more fancy than we need. Paying for fancy is not a good value because after a month or two you don't notice the fancy but you do notice the drive down the hilly dirt road, especially in the winter. The other house was a great location and perfect size house in good condition but not super fancy or expensive. Land was sloping though and I'd like some flat land for an agility/dog yard. Wasn't so sloping though that I couldn't maybe pay to have some of it leveled and the house was cheap enough. But a long driveway and something I hadn't thought about rural living is the cost of maintaining private dirt roads. I'd done the math on the snow removal but hadn't thought about the expense and hassle of general maintenance. It's on the 'maybe' list anyway. We're in no hurry, trying to move several mountain passes away in the winter is not a good plan. But maybe by spring the right house comes up and Google opens their Boulder office so we sell our house quickly and hopefully the Goldman Sachs vampires haven't totally pillaged what's left of the economy by then.
After looking at houses on Thursday I had some daylight left and the realtor suggested the Chicken Creek Cross Country Ski Area for a hike. It didn't disappoint. Though I didn't have a trail map and there were so many trails branching off of trails that I got a bit turned around but I found my way out before dark.
On Friday the realtor couldn't meet until the afternoon so I took advantage of the time to myself and rode Bean Canyon up in the Boggy Draw trail system outside of Dolores. I was out there 2 1/2 hours or so and saw 2 women riding with a dog. That was it. When I got back to the parking lot there were a couple of guys unloading their bikes but they were going on a different trail. They'd come all the way down from Telluride to ride at Boggy Draw, maybe 1 1/2 hour drive or so. It was beautiful, even in shoulder season.
On the way home I stopped at a friend's place outside of Durango. She had come down with me on my trip last Jan. and when she and her husband went back a couple months later they bought a house. It was a fixer upper and they were still in the throes of fixing it up. They'd had to re-do the septic too and had drainage issues with the land sloping towards the house. It all looked a bit overwhelming. I'm hoping we don't end up with those types of issues but who knows. It'll be an adventure anyway.