Tandem, An American Love Story

Comet Hayku-take

Just to the west of Big Dipper, I have found comet Hayku-take. The tail is faint, but the body unmistakable. It is cold and we have to go inside to eat. What a difference from Death Valley. Our last night there, it seemed as if the temperature hardly fell after seven in the evening. It was very warm in the morning.

Later, Hayku-take showed huge in the north sky just outside our tent door, and just to the left of the silhouette of our closest Joshua tree neighbor. The tail daggered skyward and the body was brilliant and much larger than I expected. At over 4,000 feet and miles from Las Vegas, the sky was very black and Hayku-take bright. I didn’t want to go to sleep, but the wind was cold, and Claire was deep in our sleeping-bag, making those warm sleeping sounds.

We decided to hole up in Laughlin again for a couple of days in the cheap luxury hotel rooms and wait for a cold-front to pass beyond Grand Canyon. It seems to be still too cold for cycling there just yet. I am looking forward to observing the gambling culture some more. I find it unfathomable but fascinating. We’re going to get up at two in the morning and see who is out and about then.

Last night while walking back to the hotel from the mini-mart, I reached for a cross-walk button, only to find a man reaching for it at the same time; I looked up, “Wes!” I said. “Bob!” Wes and his wife Norma said in unison.

They were two friends from our Palm Court days in Tucson who had decided to stop by here on their way back to Indiana. We met for breakfast this morning and had an enjoyable walk around town talking and solidifying our friendship. No two couples could be more different; we, childless and vagabonds at heart, they grandparents and rooted in Midwestern soil for all of their lives, and yet, when we get together all we can find is what we have in common; rural childhoods, love of good food, crafts, gardening, antique tractors, bird watching, and fond memories of our parents.

If you’ll remember, we found, when we rode through Indiana this past summer, that people had become less friendly than farther west. Also in South Texas, we found the snowbirds from the upper Midwestern states were snobbish toward us because of our small RV (Zippy). Yet, many of the folks at Palm Court were from those states and were warm and accepting friends after they got to know us.

Midwesterners just need a little more time to let strangers into their hearts than do Great Plains folks. Someday I’d like to go back and spend more time in their part of the country, we’d enjoy knowing many more folks like Wes and Norma.

Today is Claire’s birthday. She’s 32. I can’t imagine a better age for her. She’s come into her own and become very much a take-charge kind of woman since I met her over nine years ago, and she becomes more beautiful with each year. I guess I can imagine a better age for her, 33 or 34, or… By the time she’s 50, what a woman. My greatest joy in life is being around to see her unfold; I am such a lucky man. Happy Birthday Claire.


Tandem, An American Love Story — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the memories, and the update on your own adventures. That last few days back to Sequim was bitter-sweet after more than a year on the road. We’ve never been the same; a good thing.

  2. What a marvelous and beautifully descriptive article about a simply amazing woman – Karen Landis. I’ve had had the serendipitous experience to create and nurture a friendship with Karen after I underwent a hip replacement and three hip fractures and realized I needed to request the local “Meals on Wheels” service. And of course, if she didn’t have enough on her plate, Karen serves the Chino Valley community two days a week by delivering meals to people in my circumstance.
    I loved Karen the first moment I met her. And when we started chatting I knew I had met a soul mate. I’ve been looking all my life for a role model, a hero, an amazing example of humankind. I don’t know if she realizes what an outstanding example she is of a strong, independent, intelligent, talented woman. Sometimes as women, we have a dentency to undervalue ourselves. But Karen, I want you to know you are the real deal. You are just so beautiful in your authenticity. And I a so appreciative of the value you have added to our environment by caring for the land and the animals under your watchful care. Your abilities and strength simply boggle my mind. And thank you for your loving service to me these past four months. You rock girl!

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