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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Big Hole Odyssey

   
Author Topic: The Big Hole Odyssey
Darth_Mauve
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When I traveled to India I wrote of my adventures here, and they were well received.

When I traveled to Russia to pick up my son, I wrote of my adventures here, and they were well received.

On June 10th I am going on my next great adventure. Consider this your official invitation to travel along. It will be amusing. It will be hot. It will be on a train.

We will be traveling from the small town of Washington, MO, to Kansas City by the not-so-famed "Missouri River Racer". Then we will jump on a bigger train, and travel to....

The GRAND CANYON!!!

Yes, I am going to visit a great big hole in the ground, dig around for ancient wisdom and Native American myths and walk in the sun until my brains leak out of my ears.

I am not going alone. I have my lovely wife, my wonderful son, my Mother-In-Law and a recent grad of a niece.

And I will have all of you--vicariously.

If you are interested, there is only one thing you have to do. Give me lots of encouragement so I won't forget to update.

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Dan_Frank
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Awesome! The Grand Canyon is very fun. Do you know yet which Rim of the Grand Canyon you'll be visiting?

I've been to the North Rim many times, but haven't seen as much of the rest of it. I've never been on the Skywalk, so if you do, let me know how awesome it is.

Will you be hiking down into it?

Also, is it incidental that your mother-in-law didn't get a superlative, or can we expect to hear of some dramatic tension? [Wink]

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Lyrhawn
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I saw the Badlands a couple weeks ago...a slightly different big hole in the ground, and it was utterly amazing. Grand Canyon is next on my list. I look forward to reading about it.
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AchillesHeel
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It is a fascinating sight to behold, just remember that if you can feel the water swish back and forth in your stomach you have over-hydrated, a lot of visitors make that mistake and blame their crankiness on other things.

Are you taking the Grand Canyon Express as well? its a bit hokey to we natives and it is most certainly not cheap but people seem to enjoy the "train robbers" and cowboy hats. If you do I would love to see pictures or the inside the train!

There are also cavern tours you can take, they work pretty smoothly in conjunction with the Grand Canyon tourism and have hotels as well.

Fair warning: gasoline, fast food, convenience store food and general necessities (hats and sunglasses etc) near the Grand Canyon are fantastically over priced. We've been gouging tourists for a long long time.

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Darth_Mauve
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I was getting ready to start writing. I was planning a 5 Days to Lift Off count down. I prepared the background history on the cast. I had historical references for the town in which we were to leave all set with footnotes on Jesse James, The Civil War, and even Mark Twain.

D -4 and counting.

My father has another stroke.

All plans on hold. All family in crisis mode. Lets begin with some drama. More as things develop.

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rivka
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Dan, I'm so sorry. I wish your dad a quick recovery.
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Dan_Frank
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[Frown]

Sorry to hear that. I hope everything turns out as okay as possible.

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Darth_Mauve
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Good news everyone.

The rushed my father to a hospital--the one that is 1 block from my house, and gave him a new/experimental anti-stroke drug. I don't have the details, but it is working.

This is the 4th or 5th major stroke my father has had, but my father has 3 major benefits going for him. He is too stubborn to give up. He is lucky. He has a way with medical procedures and drugs that makes them work very well on him.

He seems to have regained most of the movement he had remaining in his left hand--which should allow him to continue using a motorized wheel chair for mobility, which means he won't be bed-ridden. Yea.

He will be heading back to his home, with my mother, hopefully tomorrow.

Vacation, and this vacation story shall continue.

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twinky
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I'm glad it turned out okay.
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rivka
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Hooray for the wonders of modern medicine. That's great, Dan. [Smile]
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AchillesHeel
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It is always a bit scary when the doctor says "we're gonna try this new thing." My brother was guinea pig for many juvenile cardiology breakthroughs, glad to hear your old man pulled through Mauve.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Vacation, and this vacation story shall continue.

a stroke of good luck!

*kicks HIMSELF out the window, to save everyone else the trouble*

srsly though that is all good news and glad he pulled through.

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Darth_Mauve
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<B> Preamble

Part 1</b>

How do I begin?

I get a headache facing the big blank page and wondering how can I start all the story rattling around in my head.

That is the most difficult question any writer faces. Worse than, "How do I end?" Worse than, "what should I put in the middle?" Its worse than finding the right phrase, the right tone, the right word. Its the most difficult question, even surpassing question of punctuation.....

That is not how to start.

Try again.

Where do I begin?

The wise answer is, "In the beginning." That sounds easy, but what is the beginning?

Is it 225 Million years ago a flood ravages down a nameless river. A great tree stretched high and over the river its fern like leaves weighted down by recent rains leaves an unbearable strain. With a loud crack, the roots give way and the tree tumbles into the flood....

No--too wooden.

Is it 5 Million years ago when a river began running its way through what would later be called the Colorado Plateau. It was not a great river, rarely growing as broad as the great Mississippi or Amazon. It did have one advantage. It was consistent. Consistency is not something rivers are known for. For this one, it works wonders....

No--too deep.

A bit over 21,000 years ago a group of stars cavorting away spewed for a spectrum of light. These photon began their endless trek across the vast void, heading eventually, to be gathered up...

No--too distant.

A bit over 1000 years ago, in the semi-desserts of Arizona, a small family gathers to discuss the future. "The ground has grown warm" the father says. "And it has begun to shake all too often" the mother adds. The grand-father shakes his head. "Tradition says when these things happen we must leave. Let us go toward the great canyon."

Meanwhile, in the fields cracks began to grow. Fire, gases, dust began shooting from them. Slowly a cone began to form...

No--Too volcanic.

In the early 1850's a train leaves St. Louis heading for the new station at the western end of the line--Washington Missouri. Among the reporters is one Samuel Clemens. He can picture the day when rails of steel bind the entire country together...

No--Too Twain-esque.

I could try something about the times when blacktop and concrete called Route 66 was a second seam used to tie this country together--but that would be way to Pixar.

When did this little adventure start?

Lets try the Christmas of 2010. Yes, that is a good start.

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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
We will be traveling from the small town of Washington, MO. . .

Well, Dan, I didn't know you were still living in Washington. I may have come across you at some point without even realizing it.
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Darth_Mauve
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Part B

Actually this journey began about a month before Christmas. I was doing the usual husband thing, panicking over trying to find the perfect gift for the wife. I was recycling the days junk mail when an ad caught my eye. It was in the magazine AAA sends out. There was a promising ad for the vacation of a lifetime--a rail road trip to the Grand Canyon.

My wife has always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. When we first got married we made plans for where to go on vacations. Her number one choice was The Grand Canyon. My number one choice was a cruise. We went on the cruise but never got around to the canyon.

Luckily the AAA had an office near my work. I took a long lunch and talked to their travel experts. After 15 minutes of discussion, and 30 minutes of waiting, I had a stack of brochures and options. We were going to the Grand Canyon.

Just prior to Christmas my son Sasha and I put all those nice brochures in a decorative bag and waited for Christmas morning. Sasha was 10 at the time. He was at that age when any present I gave my wife should come from both of us. He agreed readily.

Christmas morning, and Sasha excitedly tore open his presents. I opened mine, but I hate to admit I've forgotten what it was. We then waited for Cindy to open hers. She is great at giving presents, but opening them was not her strong point. She removed the tissue paper from the top of the bag and asked "What is this."

"Its where we are going on vacation" Sasha said.

She smiled just a bit, then put it all aside. "We have to get going to get to Breakfast." She ushered us out and to our next stop on our busy Christmas day schedule. Had I failed in my gift giving?

Like most folks in this modern world we had two families to visit on Christmas. Christmas day was spent with my family. The next day we headed to visit Cindy's family. Her family was meeting at her mother's house. We lived in Washington Missouri. My mother-in-law lives in Auburn Georgia.

It was not a short commute.

We spent 12 hours driving the day after Christmas, then half a dozen days in Georgia. During all this time Cindy barely mentioned her Christmas gift--while I was with-in ear shot.

It was on the long trip back that she let slip what she had been thinking about for the past week. "You know" she said while driving up I-75 "I always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon."

I smiled. "That's why we are going."

"Did you know, my Mother always wanted to take me there." There was a pause. "Would it be OK if she came to?"

Cindy's mother is a fun, caring, wonderful woman. We may not agree on everything (politics) but I could only think of one reason not to invite her. She is a plant expert. She works for both the State of Georgia and the University. Did I really want a botanist's tour of Arizona? Well, why not.

"The more the merrier" I answered.

She smiled. I smiled. The trip home was a blur after that.

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