02.11.2001 (fr), Atlanta
I even found a penny at home, put my hand between the couch cushions and suddenly had a penny in my hand. I get the feeling luck is trying to make it really obvious to me. Something like: attention, be prepared, I am going to happen.
04.11.2001 (su), Atlanta
I am really getting serious here. I am not used, to think
over decisions. I am really not used to question my intentions. But I did it
anyway. Puca really confused me - that is nothing special, she is supposed to do
so and she is great doing it. (She made the proposition to move in together,
actually she didn't propose it, suddenly the topic was on and later she said
that she would like it.) For me it was like saying "yes" in mind then thinking it over to search for
the "but", not actually for the reason. I was so convinced that the
environment I live in is exactly as I want it to be (not only as I am used to
have it), that I watched out for intruders who are intending to change it - or
me. The contradiction is, that I like trials but I don't like changes. The thing
is, in this case I love the intruder and I really enjoy the intrusion (this has
actually a dual meaning, I am sorry, but this is the language I have to use;-)
Anyhow, you noticed? I AM thinking it over. May it comes to town that going to America wasn't a that big change (or better: trial), there are bigger challenges. Bring it on:-)
06.11.2001 (tu), Atlanta
Jepp, now it is "official" I will return to Germany at the 22nd of December. Still have to go to San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Rockies. It will get pretty tight doing all this until then. But I am seriously stress approved, if I can do it for work I will manage to stand it for fun either;-) I will book the flight for San Francisco tomorrow (Thanksgiving weekend), checked already out the Rockies and found a place near Salt Lake City (Utah) called Snowbird. Looks good.
11.11.2001 (su), Atlanta
Wow, sitting here since 12:30 this (actually Saturday)
morning (I call it morning) reorganizing all this stuff I taped in this year (by
removing all of the commercials). I am getting really "friended" and
"seinfelded" here. Somehow I got the video-gene. While doing this (and
I lovehate to say that;-) I spend my weekend in working around bugs (as you can
see, I still keep up my good mood, work is proceeding fine). Actually the plan
was to drive to Charleston this weekend but after Sam and Gunnar figured out
that several features are no longer available (Germany, I
know, all my fault) but are unfortunately required. Gunnar tried two days to
workaround, now I spend the weekend to solve the issue. (I have to say it: by
reusing a nearly finished interface I wrote a year ago it is not that hard to
do... ok, and it is fun.)
Booked the flight to San Francisco on Friday, will be all on my own. (Stefan is not willing to go, Mark is in Germany, Jimmy moved to Fort Lauderdale). I confess that going there alone is actually something good. Will be nice exploring again.
11.11.2001 (su), Atlanta
I am used to eat hot and I am used to cook spicy, but this dish (Geschnetzeltes, was sonst;-), is hot like hell. Actually it was only one Jalapeno pepper (only part of the seems) but it is spicy enough to put sweat on my forehead. I wonder how I get a few of this peppers back to Germany. And I am only writing this because the computer was on (in front of the plate) and I have to wait a few seconds until I collected enough courage to go on with the next few bites - you haven't really expected to get a deep thought, haven't you?...;-)
13.11.2001 (tu), Atlanta
Hehe, maybe I haven't to spend the money for a trip to the Rockies:-) We defined a meeting in Denver, Colorado for the 29/30th of November (should be snow safe enough;-). The customer required this days (Thursday and Friday), and the flight gets cheaper if I stay over the weekend... actually I am doing the company a favor.
14.11.2001 (wd), Atlanta
Found again a penny.
16.11.2001 (fr), Atlanta
Now it started, the Christmas nightmare has begun.
Everything gets decorated, buaehh. In the foyer of the towers they hung a few
huge bells (approx. the size of a man) and... you know those balls which are
used to embellish Christmas trees. (Just looked up my dictionary for an
appropriate translation for this stuff, there is none also leo.org fails to
translate but anyhow looking up my dictionary: what the hell is a "Weihnachtsklotz"
Stick to the topic: Christmas, it has begun. I confess actually I do not refuse Christmas the issue is I also find nothing in particular for it. Actually that is not the issue, the issue is anybody else seems to find something special about it, especially retail;-)
And also, I going to hate Christmas in the USA because even middle November any grocery store STINKS of cinnamon. I haven't deserved this. I hardly am able to hold my breath because you cannot avoid the section with cakes and cookies, it is usually at the entrance (and I can no longer get my pie because the display is in the middle of the bakery section and I cannot hold my breath that long. This is America, ANYthing is packed into plastic film and cartons and again plastic film, there is no way that a part of the natural outside of something is exposed to the environment without protection of chemical engineering. The only possible explanation is, they have some ill room spray "Cinnamon Peak" which is now directly injected into the air conditioning until Christmas is over... I am going to die here.
22.11.2001 (th, Thanksgiving Day), San Francisco, CA
If I look down to my feed (sitting on the bed, my hurting
back covered in cushions) I can see smoke ascending slightly. Let me see, if one
unit on the map is the size of my thumb, I walked... 9 thumbs. Well a few of the
paths I took are not a complete thumb so I summarized a few partly thumbs to one
total thumb. Oh, a polyglot map, a thumb is not a mile but 1.1 km... nothing I
need to understand. Anyhow that makes nearly 10 km and as I can tell now, San
Francisco is build on hills...
OK (while checking the map), no first of all: I was aware where I was and where I was going all day, never got the wrong way, well actually I went the wrong way but I intended it, and the wrong "thing" was the 3rd dimension not the way itself. Back to the map. Starting at 450 Post St (Kensington Park Hotel, got a good deal for $98 a day, pretty good price for a nice hotel in downtown), talking to the Concierge (married to a German woman, spoke horrible German which makes you feel guilty because those people are so convinced that they pronounce it correct but you don't get a clue what they are talking of). I HAVE to stay focused but my feed are consuming most of my concentration right now. Lets start again.
San Francisco, sightseeing, you are following?
Started at 450 Post St basic target was to reach Fisherman's Wharf at the other end of downtown where I guessed to find the Sea Lions who (or is it which?) occupied a pier (of what I heard about in a documentation on TV a few years ago), then left on Stockton St facing the steep hill the Concierge warned me about. With a mental "pah!" on my mind bringing my manhood into play, striding out (lighting a cigarette) and after 100 meters realizing that Nob Hill is really steep (deciding this cigarette is finished). At last reaching the top of the hill very nice up there The Fairmont (some kind of noble hotel) and a nice church on top of it, view is also very nice up there (it is not really high, all San Francisco is build on hills). And for sure proud of having stand the first challenge of the day (actually getting up at 6am at a public holiday was the first challenge) also counting on the fact that getting up a hill means to have the opportunity walking it DOWN on the other side. Then down Nob Hill until Broadway (San Francisco has a Broadway.) entering Chinatown from the west. Down Broadway (Nob Hill is much steeper from south to north as I climbed it up then to the west:-<) crossing Chinatown (also crossing the only crowded streets of the day, guess Thanksgiving has not that serious meaning to the Chinese;-) , left on Columbus leaving Columbus following Grand Ave north (a few nice bars and coffee shops there, check it out) leaving Chinatown and again climbing up a hill not that steep but on half of the way having this idea that getting up the hill on the right would be a good idea because I would like to have a look down that road (Filbert St.), recognizing that Telegraph Hill is even more steep then Nob Hill. On top of hill Telegraph Hill (as would it.. have been (?) the original plan) I found the landmark Coit Tower (I confess, never heard of it before). Actually it is a lighthouse without sense. The tower itself (approx. 30 meter high) was closed due to Thanksgiving day. I decided to need a break, actually my feed told my brain that this wall - even if I have to climb up to it - would be excellent (and cool) to put the part of the body which is in between of this both entities onto it. Got then entertained by a few old-aged tourists who stand in the wind shadow (pretty windy up there actually pretty windy in the whole town) of a combined info and toilet stand and another group of tourists (Asians) who tried to get information of the printed on map. The wind evaders were not willing to move because they apparently found the ideal wind avoiding position there and probably thought they Asians want to have their spot, within a few seconds they started arguing. You could see at their body language, that no group understood the other but both groups knew exactly what it was about. And - how could it be different by any chance - the wind evaders spoke the language I still call my mother language and they behaved, as we are supposed to, like they owned the whole place. Well, my cigarette was finished anyway and my feed felt asleep so they couldn't complain before they got used again. The Asians already decided that it was not worth to go on with the discussion (was only for two or three minutes anyhow), I stepped beside them asked whether I could help them with my small map, after two minutes of hard work (Asian English is still - beside German English and Indian English - the worst) I could explain them the way to the next cable car pickup and I avoided the tip. (OK, I don't know whether I did it correctly, the pickups are not marked on the map but the cable car lines are and I guessed - pretty convincing - where the pickups are;-)
They were really neat (a family I guess), I avoided the tip they try to give me, said goodbye and stepped by the info-toilet stand to the stairs down looking at my compatriots feed and telling him "Sie wissen das sie in einem Hundehaufen stehen?" (You mentioned that you stand in a dog pile?) and disappeared down the stairs. (OK, I conceived that while I was talking to the Asians and the German guys looked at us with this you...-are-unworthy glance.)
OK, lets walk on. Down Telegraph Hill, make a right back on Grand Ave until you reach the Pier 39, and the Sea Lions. Pier 39 is like a mini-cosmos of tourist shops, snack bars and tourist shops. At the end of the pier left to the Waterfront Walk (actually going for get-out-of-here-you-have-been-here-you-can-tell-I-have-seen-it-that-is-enough) and suddenly confronted with a bunch of almost 200 Sea Lions (and as much tourists) who occupied the right area of the water between the two piers, most of them sleeping a few of them complaining. Spend almost an hour there while sunset. Sea Lions are gorgeous, anybody knows that who has seen them clapping their fins together in circus and grunting oukouk. In wildlife (and it is wildlife even wildlife which has taken its piece from civilization) they are very human. It is like this: the Sea Lions come out of the water and filling the pontoons from the outside (getting out of the water, blow their snot all over the place, falling asleep) to the inside. Whoever is late, has to climb over all the other buddies who already are in deep sleep which then causes the one who has the major weight to carry to complain (oukouk). You easily can check out the bosses by finding Sea Lions which have a security area all around them, even on totally crowded pontoons because nobody has the courage to get near of them (particularly on top of them) and easily you identify the outsider who are - totally undisturbed - sleeping peacefully on their private pontoon.
Lets walk on. Westbound following the piers (41, (don't know about the destiny of 42;-), 43, 43 1/2 (no joke), 45, 47 and reaching the crab stands. Actually small diner stands one after the other (most of them closed due to Thanksgiving day) but the few opened were enough. Whenever you are in San Francisco, try it and eat Clam Chowder in bread. It is real bread! (Not that... stuff I call Weichwichse although that it is even in German not a word) and they fill the cob loaf with real tasty Clam Chowder, GREAT stuff. (And it make me forget the chicken breast I ate in the plane at 11am in the morning.)
Then I decided - actually my feed did - that it is enough for the day continued westbound to Beach St. to reach the read dot at the end of the cable car line printed on my map, which - so I thought correctly - marked the central pickup of the cable cars. It was and approximately 300 people waiting in the line produced also the same brainchild (it was already dark, time to go home for anybody). My map gave me the idea to walk on the the other cable car central at Bay St and I did, so moving up Columbus (now southbound), left on Bay St and exactly reaching the central where nobody was waiting at all and they just prepared a car for... takeoff. Got in, actually sat at the outside waiting for the things to happen.
Cablecarriding (;-) is NIIIIICE. Cannot describe it, it is noisy and it rumbles and jiggles and it accelerates and decelerates in a very own way while the car driver is having a comment for any happening whatever it is ("You people wanna've a ride? I will not ride to the curb to pick you up, hop in.", "I have no Jaguar on my hood but I know how a brake works.", "I let you try to move this lever if you let me try your... never mind... you guys are married?", "Move this... thing you call... never mind, brother, I wanna go home, I need turkey!"...). Try it, you will see.
Get off the cable car at intersection Powell St and Post St 30 meters away from the hotel. And decided that the day was not over yet. So walked down Post St again until Grand Ave, again heading north passing the Chinatown gate and had a nice sightseeing through the "public" streets of Chinatown all the way up until Columbus finding a descent Italian coffee shop called "Caffe Puccini" got a cappuccino (a real one) and a strawberry/blueberry cake and sat outside at Columbus looking at th people passing by for almost an hour (I didn't ate the cake, the only nation which is make sweets sweeter then the Americans are the Italians, but it looked so good).
The last mile was westbound Vallejo St, then realizing that Vallejo will require me to get up Nob Hill again (and I decided that the day WAS over now) so back (eastbound) Broadway (the same path I used earlier this day) then right (south) Stockton St. That was a bit tricky because Stockton is suddenly on two levels (with a tunnel underneath) and the stairs to the upper level looked so should-be-experienced (in other words: I wonder what is up there), for the record: there is nothing special - but I was there. At last right on Bush St (west). There I entered the biggest tiny grocery store I've been in. Needed to have cigarettes and while I asked the Chinese owner for Lucky Strike he pulled out cigarettes from five different location behind his desk and any batch he showed was consisting of several branches well mixed. The whole store was filled up with grocery stuff as you find it in Publix or Walmart but the walkways were so small that I sometimes had to step sideways and while trying to open a display with soda (in there at least five different branches mixed but I could see a coke covered by a Pepsi on the left and a Dr. Pepper on the right) I realized that it was impossible to open it because a batch of water was blocking the way the slide had to go. Wasn't a issue, after I found my way back to the counter (was not that easy, got lost behind a shelf with peanuts, chips and dog food), I saw a second fridge with more soda in it (and butter and milk).
Well, left on Powell St, right on Post St and here we are. 12th floor, descent room to Post St. (smoking). Now it is 11:45pm (PT) that is 3am eastern.
Even though it is Thanksgiving day, maybe because it is Thanksgiving day, San Francisco is cool. It's not like Savannah where I felt in love with the city the very first minutes (and there it was raining). Anyhow, had a great day and looking forward for two more days to come (in San Francisco, for a lot more in common). I think I can resign for the city tour, already did that somehow. Have to have a look at Golden Gate (the last time in New York I thought I can do the World Trade Center another time, will never happen again) and also I really would like to have a look at the Redwood forest (Sausalito as far as I know) and Alcatraz (did you know that it means pelican in Spanish?). Also this show Stomp (the drumming guys) is here in San Francisco (already had a look at the theatre today - hey, forgot to count this 1/3 thumb for walking up and down Sutter St. for that - but the ticket counter was closed, due to Thanksgiving day;-)
And see, while writing this the last... two hours I had also a descent toping and don't need to think over how to find a bar or restaurant which is open at Thanksgiving day and not filled up with dressed people (actually if going out tonight I would had to go without my feed, I feel a strike coming on)
23.11.2001 (fr), San Francisco, CA
I guess San Francisco had both eyes closed yesterday. Got
out at 10:30am today and found myself in the California version of New York.
Crowded streets, horns everywhere, traffic like hell. (San Francisco has the
worst traffic in the country after Los Angeles and Seattle, in this order).
Don't know where all this people have been yesterday (actually I do know but I
say I don't know because of dramaturgic reasons.).
OK, did 7 thumbs today. Down to Market St which is San Francisco's version of 5th Avenue until The Embarasco which is going all along the bay until Fisherman's Wharf where I got my Clam Chowder again (I am some kind of addicted to this fish diner street up there). Also I stepped by the Sea Lions again but it was not that much fun because approximately 500 tourists also were watching. Then I booked a tour to Sausalito and the Muir Woods for the afternoon.
With the tour bus and a very entertaining guy we drove from Fisherman's Wharf over the Golden Gate bridge (another reason to go for Sausalito), first to Muir Woods. Don't know what to say (actually I do know but I need a proper sentence startup which... forget it). Lets say this: the woods are great. The last area with coastal Redwood trees huge and very interesting but the combination of the very impressing nature with this... crowd. People everywhere on this small walkway (which you are not allowed to leave) was hard to stand. The issue is (in common also valid for the further reports of my San Francisco visit) is the tourist crowd everywhere which I never've seen so.. intrusive (I confess, checked the dictionary for this word;-) AND I am part of it (that's what I hate so much). It is not that the people are noisy or boring or annoying, it's just the mass. Actually if I think it over the people are in a pretty god mood, neat and - even the German and the Swiss - very polite and open minded. But there are way too much, everywhere. Guess that's it. It is crowded and very restrictive and you see the good reason for both. This forests are really beautiful so everybody wants to see them but this means they need to protect the beauty from the crowd. I hate those rules and apparently I hate it more if I see myself forced to follow the rules because they are indispensable and avoid me to follow my basic instinct - to explore (actually to explore and to conquer but I decided - after experience of 31 years - to give up the conquers, doesn't work out).
OK, after the woods (was only an hour) the bus droves back and made a stopover in Sausalito on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge. I had no interest in the shops (the bus driver warned us about the horrible prices) all along the waterfront but at I sat down at the mole and had a awesome look at the city on the other side of the bay (smoking a few cigarettes) while dawn. Really cool view, check it out.
At 6pm we were back at the Fisherman's Wharf, actually in the near because of the traffic I left the bus earlier and 5 minutes later I was at Bay Street and joined the line for the cable car, was very entertaining because there was a guy juggling (not that good but funny). As the car was made ready they announced for Chinatown only and those who know the city joined the car because it is better then wait another half an hour for a car which is riding all the way down (or up?) to Market Street. Anyhow even while standing at the end of the line, I hopped in, I still LOVE cable car riding. At Powell St we had to get out but it was not that far to walk (and not that steep, actually also possible that I am getting used to it;-).
Right on Sutter St into the Marines Memorial Club to the box office for Stomp (the theatre is in there). The guy who sold the tickets ("Is there any chance to get a ticket for today's or tomorrows show?", "Ouwaa, how much tickets do you need?", "Only one.", "Ouha! Then I have a excellent seat for you."...) was so gay that he actually was another species besides men and women. But he was very helpful and neat. It was 7pm so I searched for a place to eat something (and which is not that far away;-), found a diner "Loris"' at intersection Sutter and Powell. You know, I now ate fried Shrimps in any town all over the states (actually not all over the states but dramaturgic... you know what I mean), but never something like that. Don't get me wrong, was really good, it was something like deep, shock-fried shrimp, very tasty. The highlight of Loris anyhow is the chief waitress (I actually think she is the owner). The whole place is styled as a 50" diner, quite nice and she was wearing a 50" dress (not really pretty actually). But she had tattoos of cherries above both elbows. And in her neck line you could see the ends of another tattoo on both sides. The cherries were looking like the bonus symbols you can earn in computer jump-and-run games (you know what I mean) and all the guys at the counter up and down were whispering and discussing the "full content" of those tattoos. (The guy right to me confessed to have a tattoo on his ass which he got in Vietnam when being pretty drunk. "And I even know no girl with such name."::-) Finally they picked me to check out the full content (because I was the youngest, for dramaturgic and arrogance reasons also the most handsome;-)
I told them that I just paid 45 USD for the tickets and I will not check out anything because I cannot imagine anything which could stand the picture I've in mind lately (I actually said that, isn't that some kind of compliment, Puca?)
I went to the show "Stomp", easy to understand concept, drumming anything you can get a hold of, starting with brooms, hands, shank, face, feed, cans, signs, tons, basketballs, pipes, even Zippo lighters in total a looot of noise and also a lot of fun. You fairly mention the two hours passing by, really great, check it out.
Let me see, today that makes 7 thumbs plus 3 miles through Muir Woods (no thumbs there) and a mile through Sausalito.
24.11.2001 (sa), San Francisco, CA
To make a long story short. The lower end of Market St is
not the place you want to be alone;-) and you are not allowed to eat anything on
Alcatraz. I would love to tell you more about Alcatraz but accidentally I
grabbed a Spanish version of the map and history. Actually the highlight was
that voice in the German tape of the audio tour through Alcatraz. One of this
German Virginia guys who has never seen the mother country;-) Especially when he
is trying to accentuate feelings it gets really entertaining. ("...stellen
Sie sich die grausliche (!!) Stille vor (!!!!) (nicht leicht bei fuenf Dutzend
herumwusselnden Touristen), versuchen Sie die Kaelte (!!) zu fuehlen (!!!)
(das war einfach, San Francisco IST kalt). Gehen Sie jetzt weiter und bleiben
sie vor dem Schild mit der Aufschrift "Block B" (akzentfreies englisch)
I thing the people around me must have assumed me to be an idiot or a sadist because I was running all around with a smile on my face and from time to time I suddenly started laughing (when the old man in my ear started to explain the real funny stories which usually were about death, killing, cold, frightening and other serious topics (I am sorry but I am a cold hearted easy to entertain guy).)
(Tip: if you get of the ship step around for half an hour do NOT join the queue for entering the prison itself. Enjoy the sightseeing (San Francisco), wonder about the few meters of the island you are allowed to put your step on, THEN walk up the stairs (where the line has disappeared) and enjoy the German audio tour.)
28.11.2001 (wd), Denver, CO
It is coooold. Atlanta has pleasant 75 degrees (F) and
Denver 17. That means 23 Celsius versus -9 Celsius within 3 hours. We got in at
8:30pm. Then I tried to get the rental car it took the guy approx 5 minutes to
insert all my data (to type in your phone number is for rental car companies
"I can make you a very good offer on a 4WD Mitsubishi Montero, its a new car."
"How much is it more?"
"Only 20 Dollar."
"Hmmm, no, if we get a intermediate 4WD that is fine, thanks."
Then mentioned that Steven has a major credit card therefore we don't need the insurance (because his card will cover automatically), so start again from the beginning now with his data.
After he inserted Stevens data (5 minutes) he then informed us that we actually had to pay 20 bucks more because Steven is younger then 25. Because the insurance is 17 bucks I asked him to get back to the original plan, and he did, he was quite neat and apparently was having fun (Denver airport is some kind of dead after 8pm.).
After inserting my data again, the guy showed me a piece of paper written 79,95 and 89,95 on it.
"This is your current rate (pointing at the 79,95) this would be the price for the SUV."
"Nice deflation. But no, the car mainly will be parked at the lot so I don't think we need a SUV."
"So you guys will not visit the mountains?"
"Oh I will, but as long as I have a 4WD I am fine. I am a bloody European, I don't need that much steel around me."
He continued to insert data (and also continued with small talk). At last he handed me out the paperwork's and with a smile he informed me that he had to give me the SUV anyway to the original price. Actually for one dollar less a day. I was not able to complain.
I tell you, this car is huge.
OK, the plan is to have the meeting tomorrow and on Friday and then ride up the mountain. Actually I don't need a hotel room anymore up there, I can sleep in the car.
29.11.2001 (th), Denver, CO
Well fed with 8oz of best Colorado Buffalo tenderloin.
Check this place out, Denver Buffalo Company at Lincoln and 11th St. Quite pricey
(38 USD for the steak), but really, really good. Our customers CTA took me out
(he really knows about the area).
This is something you have to say is truly cool in this town: the people are amazingly friendly and "talky". Had a nice conversation, also enjoyed the meeting today. Our customer recommended to go for Winter Park for skiing also recommended a bed an breakfast called Outpost and I called the owner, was a nice lady called Barbara, somehow I come along good with older ladies (remember Savannah?). This one told me that the price per night is 129 USD but for me she make special price of 79 USD. That is nice, isn't it;-) (She also faxed directions right away, because "it is a bit tricky to find us". I am not afraid, I am used to get lost but arrive.)
30.11.2001 (th), outside of Fraser, CO
This is truly an Outpost. While lunch break our customers
guy took me to a neat shop to buy some ski pants, worked out fine, learned that
this stuff is in the US less expensive then in Germany. Now I am the proud owner
of Goretex gloves and pants. I left their office at 3:00pm (then accidentally
drove east instead of west, made a U-turn found myself at the office where I
could get the tickets for the ski area (Garth told me they are cheaper if I buy
them in Denver not up in the mountains). Then following Garths description on
I-25 east (passed accidentally the exit on Colorado Blvd and had to make two
U-turns again through rush hour - was fun), exit 6th Av. then through the city
until I reached I-70, all west entering the mountains
(passing downtown Denver (again)). I stopped at Idaho Springs and walked into a
Tommyknockers Pub having a coffee. (Actually I did that because it was Pucas
phone time (approx 6pm ET) and entering Idaho Springs on the I-70 was the only
spot I had a signal on my cell phone.) As usually, if you are prepared, nothing
happens. So I left Tommyknockers and continued my journey up the mountains, left
I-70 onto highway 40 to Winter Park (and then got the hoped for phone call;-).
I loved this road from the very beginning, tiny (USA measure;-) highway 40 goes up Berthoud Pass. While talking to Puca (no chance for a stop because the street was covered by snow heaps) I passed a SUV where a dog held his head out of the window (temperature -5 degree Celsius), then he passed me and so on (uphill two lanes).
At the end we ended up in a small convoy of 5 SUV (this is the favorite car type of Colorado) driving up the mountain and over the pass (I was the second in the convoy). I loved it, as I said. A few clouds in the sky, full moon, light snow fall and everything all around is snow covered. After the peak of the pass I took the first opportunity to stop along the road (I thought I drive a powerful SUV why should I be scared of the snow:-). I stopped the engine and got out of the car, here I am in the bright moonlight and...
"Are you alright?"
Looked behind me (actually behind the car) and the other 3 cars of the convoy standing behind me, the guy of the car behind me was asking (actually 2 cars behind mine and the third was just this second stopping beside me, while lowering the window)
"Trouble with your car?"
"No, I guess not..." Looking at my car trying to see some smoke arising or whatsoever. In this second I just spotted what was going on. Driving in the darkness (you cannot say in late night, it was something around 7pm;-) over the pass suddenly stopping for nothing. Something must be wrong.
I told you, the people in this state are really friendly and helpful. They may have no understanding for enjoying the mountain landscape at nighttime, but anyhow.
About a minute later the leader of the convoy came up the steep hill again driving backwards (actually it was not a SUV but a small truck). The driver got out his car "'llright yo guys?"
"Jo! Moonstruck!" the guy who first asked me about the state replied.
I LIKE the people in Colorado. I really felt a bit lonely after all of them drove on and left me their in the moon all alone (time to howl to the moon, and I confess, I did). About half a cigarette later another convoy passed by and the first car stopped to ask me whether I need some help, that was the moment to decide to drive on (this time as last in the - actually another - convoy).
About half an hour later I reached Winter Park drove on until Fraser (what is two miles away). Then (activating all my navigator-genes) I followed the description on the fax Barbara sent. First make a left after leaving Fraser (by counting two street lights NOT traffic lights) onto country road 5. That was fun this road was totally snow covered. About 3 miles later another left onto country road 517 (actually the map said two miles and I was already sure to have missed the left turn and was searching for a opportunity to make a U-turn without turning the car into the ditch beside the road) and half a mile later I found It. It is not only called The Outpost, it IS the outpost.
As I got in, nobody was there (the parking lot, 20 centimeter snow covered, all empty), I stepped in anyway because the door was not locked, after I called loud for somebody I heard a dog barking and it sounded not like welcome-you-are-my-friend it sounded like you-are-not-supposed-to-enter-and-I-had-no-dinner-yet. This is the reason why I like cats more. They just attack you from the dark (actually from the dark AND from the behind as long as they know that you wear sunglasses and are well known to have impaired vision) so you have no time to think over your mistakes while dogs... anyhow, I Out of the kitchen at the other side of the hall a dog jumped in and was within a second all over me.
OK, lets take out the suspense. The dog was of that kind which even wearing the mask of a alligator is not able to frighten anybody (some kind of a Cocker Spaniel I guess). He was unable to decide whether he should let me pet him (I'm really good in doing this) or whether he should play with me (he had that millimeter-byte, once he (actually she) recognized that it was hurt-able flesh between her teeth she opened her mouth, closed it again, opened it a millimeter, and so on). The other dog I mentioned later was a bit more careful and was trying to hide behind the lady (Barbara) who entered the hall then and was going to welcome me to the Outpost.
The room is nice, some kind of "Western Style" with cowboy boots and hats and whatsoever. Nice and clean. There is no signal for the television set but Barbara informed me about a Video library upstairs where I should take whatever I want. (Just was there and now I am watching "Saving Private Ryan" while writing this, man this movie is depressing me.)
I left The Outpost at 8pm to get something to eat. Try the hmmm Fontenont or, ... anyway, try that Cajun restaurant in Winter Park. Is not that bad but I cannot remember the name (Garth recommended it to me).
One more thing, standing on the veranda of The Outpost, looking over the small clearing surrounded by trees everything snow covered (in the bright moon light, you know) (smoking a cigarette) is... nice. Actually it is quiet, what is nice.