Apr 8, 2006

Rambling to the Rockies

    It took me 23 years to do it but I finally moved back to Colorado. Tyler and I just moved to the Mountain state from New York, a round trip starting a little before Christmas in my sixth year when my family moved the opposite way.

    We almost didn't make it anywhere back in 1983; on our way to NY we were caught in the worst snowstorm seen in years. When the engine of our tiny Honda Civic stalled out under a thick and falling blanket of snow on a desolate stretch of highway our our eastbound motion disappeared but more importantly it took the heater with it. The car was tiny, so small that when our family of four moved across the country we didn't have room for luxuries like winter coats or boots. We huddled as much as we could, but it got cold really fast. A guardian angel trucker eventually picked us up and brought us to the nearest motel but I still see the look of fear in my mothers eye when she tells the story. Happily, I was oblivious to everything. My biggest complaint about the whole experience was that my feet were freezing when I had to walk across the snowy parking lot of the motel in sneakers.

    Tyler and I both travel light or at least we thought we did. We've lived out of a shrinking backpack for much of the year and returned home to purge even more. We intitially figured that because our family of four could move to NY in a little Honda Civic the two of us would surely be able to move back to Colorado in something similar. But, the more we piled stuff up the more we saw it wasn't to be. Our computers and camping gear alone would fill out a trunk so when we added a couple guitars, three bicycles, a couple dozen books we couldn't bear to part with and a feast of Madre MacAllen cookies we reluctantly gave up. We rented a mini-van and still just barely fit it all.

    The ride itself zipped by as quickly as 30 hours of mostly flat straight highway could. We drove in shifts, listened to a Harry Potter audiobook and daydreamed about what we're getting ourselves into. One odd highlight of the journey is a random rest-stop we pulled over in Iowa, the Herbert Hoover memorial rest stop.

    I've been fascinated with Hoover for years, much to the chagrin of those I inflict Hoover trivia on. His life was incredible. He went from working in the bottom of a mine to being the most highly regarded international expert on mine engineering in the world within ten years. He found a treasure map to an ancient and lost chinese treasure mine and then proceeded to find it ( organizing the defense of a city during the Boxer rebellion along the way). Although he was a Republican he was also a pacifist, so when WWI broke out he focused his formidable energy and resources on keeping european non-combatants fed and healthy. By the end of the war he brought 34 million tons of food, clothing, and supplies to people in twenty nations. He was elected president on the strength of his massive humanitarian achievements and then muddled up his presidency so badly it soured his reputation ever since (even though he did equally amazing stuff after). He is one of the few people that has ever walked the earth that can count the human lives they've personally rescued in the MILLIONS. So, as I walked around his Memorial rest stop I couldn't help but think one thing... "I hope no one ever tries to remember me with a rest stop."

    Undeterred, but slightly exhausted, we finally made it to the state of our birth. Tyler and I rolled into view of the mountains listening to John Denver's Rocky Mountain High trying to imagine what'll happen next.

Rockies Landscape

Apr 4, 2006

Courageous Convoy to Colorado

Downtown Albany

    When I hit the post button on this blog the MacAllen Brothers will officially be back on the road. We've spent the last five weeks reconnecting with our roots in the northeast and time has flown by much faster than we'd thought it would.

    Our long streak of good luck has continued unabated. When we learned, while in Peru, that Madre MacAllen started renting out rooms of her house we were a little nervous. We needed to remind ourselves where we came from, and there is nothing like stranger housemates to turn a home into a house. We arrived home to discover that our new housemates were two lovely and talented art grad students named Lisa and Mihee. The awkward introductory phase lasted all of 3 seconds before their sweet and friendly nature took over and made us feel like we had returned home to dear friends. Although we've got the relaxed daily schedule of the broke and unemployed we found our selves spending the month running from one merry reunion to another.

    I have a selection of former lives to return to, so I chose another of my favorites and revisited the Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts where I lived for two years before the trip. I caught up with old friends, stayed with a sweet and generous dancer and generally just thrived on watching spring arrive to one of my favorite areas in the world (which means we had a 3 week winter this year, I should migrate below the equator every year!). I went in to my old office one day to check in with friends there, and accidentally fell back into my routine. It took me three days of going back to my old job all day to help catch up with a deadline of theirs, reacquaint with that whole "work" thing and remind myself of what a good life I had. I really miss everything about the valley but mostly the people.

    Such a wonderful time at home made me wonder if leaving this side of the country again was a good idea. But the wheels were already in motion. Tyler and I had rented a big van, loaded it up with all our worldly goods and are momentarily going to leave for a mad dash halfway across the country to Colorado. Is it a good idea? Methinks the universe approves and it's letting me know by a bit of chronological mathematical magic. We officially will transition from this life to another at time so special it won't happen for another hundred years...
...It is exactly 01:02:03 04/05/06