I left the smoke and ash-shrouded SE “Colorado burning” in late June, and arrived at Earthaven into a deluge. Here are a few vignettes from the journey.
I found a motel in Limon, CO on that first night. I got there late, past 1 am, and nobody answered the bell. I finally walked out, looked back behind me, and through the window my eyes fell on a fine set of shepherd’s axes! These are my people, something said; I walked back in, the lady of the establishment showed up, and we talked up a storm about the old countries — she being, like me, a child of the Carpathians, but on the Polish side, from the Tatras.
In the morning, I discovered to my delight that these folks had created an oasis where in most motels you find a bare parking lot: a fruit tree orchard with berry bushes and a companionable fire pit in the middle, a small swimming pool, and a large vegetable garden on the other side. My kind of people, indeed. Stay at the Safari Inn if in Limon — the pics on the website don’t do it justice!
Passing through Kansas, I saw a sign for the “Czech capital of KS”, and needing gas, I dipped down to check out the town of Wilson. A dying downtown with a burnt out husk of what used to be the pride of the town — a fine stone Czech Opera House built in 1901 that could accommodate 500 for plays and movies, with meeting rooms for lodges and clubs and a gym downstairs. I asked the clerk at the quickie mart what happens at the Czech Fest. She said she’d never been, then turned to the young people in the back… equally clueless. She confided in me that the town hired some artist to paint shop windows with hokey, vaguely Slavic folk dancers, and put up lots of Vítáme vás (We welcome you) signs around town. The fest promises Czech heritage demonstrations (beer making? dumpling cooking?), polka, and suspiciously unspecified Czech food (koláče-flavored funnel cakes?). Another phony pseudoevent to draw a few bucks from the wallets of nearby bored townies, I figure. But the historic downtown with its many empty stores is still standing, so for those who aim to start a community in a small town in dire need of people, energy and ideas, Wilson may not be a bad place to do it.
I wanted a break from the endless roads of Kansas and decided to take a detour to Kanopolis State Park at a large lake where I thought perhaps to rent a cabin. It was not to be; but I realized why so many Americans call Obama a socialist. There are two kinds of socialism; I grew up under communist socialism, and it did not work very well. The version used by Scandinavians — democratic socialism — seems peachy. Anyways, it was shades of communist socialism I discovered at this recreational area: though there were a number of people who could have put me up in a cabin, and though most of the cabins were empty, and though the lowly clerk at the marina store extended herself on my behalf, I came up empty handed. People passed the buck from one to another, insisting that I should have registered online, and there was absolutely nothing they could or would do. Ah… I remembered the system well from my childhood: people’s focus is on building fiefdoms, ducking responsibility, and vigorously ignoring the customer. Or the citizen.
Stopping much later at a gas station near Frankfort, KY, I spied a car full of cute teenage girls who pulled up to the pump and proceeded to take photos of each other right there, next to a McDonalds, a few yards from the deafening racket of I-64. Mindboggling. Fraid I stared. And by the way, have you noticed how much noisier everything’s gotten as you drive east?
No rain on the whole journey until I reached the Tennessee border. It hasn’t quit since. Kitties weathered travel well, but they are bitchin’ about the wet. So are all the humans. The Carolina frogs, however, like it just fine.