. Posted at 9:20 pm on March 28th, 2006
Spring Break came, went, and I took as many pictures as I could. We (Dave, Kelly, Mary Beth, and moi) spent the first weekend in Champagne, at the Illinois school system’s largest University. They snuck me into one of the bars and we had all sorts of good times that really can’t be translated or communicated via email.
Some of the stuff we did that weekend can, though – good eating being the first. We had some Steak and Shake (and I’m a man who loves his S&S), some Cozy Dogs (the original corn dog – they dip ’em in batter and fry ’em up right in front of you), and a Horseshoe or two (an open faced hamburger, smothered in cheese/ketchup). We got a little gluttonous there towards the end, but we all exercise pretty regularly and I’ve always tried to follow that sound advice of RA Heinlein: “Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. – moderation is for monks.”
Springfield, being the capitol of IL, makes a big stink about Lincoln. I think it’s bogus – he was born in Kentucky and spent the significant parts of his life either Sentoring or Presidenting in the DC area. But if you’ve ever met anyone from Illinois, you know they love their Lincoln all the same. So we wandered around and saw a lot of Land of Lincoln things.
I also had the misfortune of being in Springfield when all those tornadoes came through. Growing up in the NW, we go through earthquake drills quite regularly. I’m not going to lie – something about being smack dab in tornado alley, during tornado season, and hearing the warning sirens go off, well, it scarred the hell out of me. We were all there huddled in the basement, trying to play Cranium by candlelight. All my Midwest pals didn’t think anything of it, but man was it nuts – the winds got louder and louder, the lights flickered and then went out, the wind got even louder and then – all the sudden – things got real quiet outside. Too quiet. That was the worst. Oh man, was that the worst. Nothing bad really happened – I’ve still got full use of all ten fingers, but a few roofs got torn off four blocks away from the basement we cowered in (well, I did most of the cowering).
After that it was all pretty much downhill – we drove on back to Kirksville where we dropped off David and picked a whole contingent: my buddies Paul and Iowa, Iowa’s girlfriend and Iowa’s girlfriend’s sister. Also, Iowa‘s snowboard.
From there we drove straight through to Longmont, CO. My Pa grew up there, and we stayed with the grandfolks, which was nice. My Pa’s sister and her family live out that way, too, and we got to see them, which was also nice. Especially since we spent the whole day shredding (half of us skied, half snowboarded). It was real nice to eat some good food, hot tub it up, and relax with family. My hombres tell me they had a pretty good time, too.
For the short time we had in Colorado, we certainly kept busy – we spent two days sloping our little hearts out at Winter Park. At the end of our second day, we stopped in Idaho Springs (a litte town on the way down the mountain) and had good-good pizza at a place called Beau Jo’s. One of my ROTC bus also tipped me off to a microbrewery – Tommyknockers – two blocks away from Jo’s, so we checked that out and found, to our delight, that there was good-good beer to be had. And had it we did, because I turned 21 that very same day.
We also took a day to see Colorado without ski boots on, and trekked up to Estes Park (a charming mountain town) and the Rocky Mountain National forest. and since it’s such a beautiful state, we packed up a picnic and ate lunch right up there, among the peaks and trees and elk and Coloradoans. My G-ma told the story about my G-pa scarring off a bear that was after his new grill (a story I’ve loved to hear since I was a tot), and other fun stuff.
That’s about it – although we fit in more than we’re letting on – we packed up and trekked back to the MidWest, bellys full of good eating and quads aching from good slope’ing and ears popping from the altitude. On the way out of town we went by New Belgium brewery, the only brewery in the world which is entirely wind-powered.
and what I will one day consider the worst column I’ve ever written