From the Forest to Red Rocks

After I bid the VeeDubs farewell, I finished packing up Walden and hit the road. I was still a little concerned about Walden’s well-being. Someone in a forum had suggested that the temp he was running seemed alarmingly high, though Mr. VeeDub said that his ran about where mine was, so I was somewhat less concerned. Nonetheless, I kept a careful eye on the gauge. I was also annoyed that the auxiliary battery wasn’t getting charged as quickly as I thought it should, so I was watching that too.

The evening’s activity I was to see the Colorado Symphony and Sarah McLachlan perform at Red Rocks, a venue that I learned about in 1986. I saw the Grateful Dead at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, and the night before, they’d played Red Rocks. Since then I’d wanted to see someone at Red Rocks.

I cruised into Morrison, Colorado, just a couple miles from the venue, at about ten. I rolled into an on-street parking spot and boldly set off on foot to identify the best spot for breakfast. The Blue Cow seemed to be the only place offering breakfast. It quickly became clear that Sunday morning wasn’t going to be a good day to spend hours camped out a table writing, so I took a seat at the bar, avoiding the wait list, and had some pretty good corned beef hash and eggs. On the way back to Walden, I noticed a bike shop. This was fortuitous since I needed to get new tires since my bike’s rear tire had a little bubble forming near the rim. Sadly, the hours posted on the door that said the place was closed on Sunday and Monday. It seemed odd, but this is Colorado.

Back at Walden, I went on to investigate why the switch that turns on the radio when the key is off also turns on the wipers and a host of other things. It was my hypothesis that these things, even when off, were somehow draining the battery. It turned out that those things were on the same circuit as the radio’s the-key-is-on input, all the stuff got turned on too. What I really needed was a single pole, double throw switch rather than the single throw switch that I had. I ended up taking the radio off that circuit and using one of the four circuits on the panel I have mounted on the dash for the radio. Right now, the radio is not switched by the ignition, which is a little annoying, but it’s not so bad.

Upon reflecting later on that work, it occurred to me that the one other red wire that I left disconnected probably does something and I should have reconnected it. I hope it doesn’t do anything important. My guess is that it’s the cigarette lighter, which I don’t use anyway.

I ventured over to a gas station to get a bag of ice and noticed a guy taking his bike into the bike store. Apparently I should have, you know, tried opening the door. I think it was just the bike store’s coffee shop that’s closed on Sunday and Monday. I bought a couple of tires and a couple of tubes.

After I’d mounted the first tire, I noticed a little arrow indicating which way the tire was supposed to be rotating. I hadn’t noticed this before I’d mounted the tire, and as I envisioned the rear tire on the bike, it was clear that I’d gotten it backward. I’m not especially good at mounting tires, so it takes me fifteen to twenty minutes rather than the two to three that someone who does it regularly might spend. I figured that if I mounted three tires in the course of an hour, I’d be better at putting a tire on a bike than I’ve been in thirty five years, back when I used to do things like overhaul hubs and rebuild coaster brakes.

Having successfully re-mounted the rear tire, I went to put it on the bike, and noticed that, no. It couldn’t be. Crap. I had it right the first time. The tread pattern on these tires isn’t that obviously directional. I was done re-mounting that tire. I got the front tire on correctly and got them both pumped up. I have no pressure gauge, so I walked the front tire to the bike shop to see if I was close to the recommended 4 atmospheres, or 58 PSI. I asked the guy if he thought I needed to re-mount the tires, and used the bike shop’s pump to pump up the tire. At this point it occurred to me that rather than carrying the tire to the bike shop, it would have made much more sense to, put it on the bike, and ride it, with both tires the fifty yards to the shop.

With my manly mechanic work done, and the bike put back on Walden’s nose, I sat at the table in back and wrote some stuff, and probably posted some pictures, that you might have read and/or seen. At about three, I decided that the Morrison Inn (“Fun Mexican Food”) across the street, the one that doesn’t serve breakfast even though their “OPEN” sign appeared to be lit, was a place that I should visit.

I bellied up to the bar and, foolishly, ordered a beer rather than a margarita. The beer was fine, but this place has over a dozen types of margaritas. A couple of times I tried unsuccessfully to strike up a conversation with the group that sat down next to me. Finally, as they were leaving, I managed to learn that they too were headed to the show and get some tips for how and when I should go. It was pouring down rain, so apparently this common enemy is what brought us together. They were leaving around 5PM (the doors open at 6:00). The woman sitting next to me was incensed that so many of the seats were reserved. She explained that it’s customary for the majority of the seats to be open seating, and often the closest seats are open, then the reserved seats, then another batch of open seats in the back. “It’s not the way Red Rocks is supposed to be!” she said. Apparently, how many of the seats go for $45 and are open seating and how many go for $100 and are reserved is up to the artist.

It was becoming clear that a concert at Red Rocks was going to be cultural as well as musical.


This entry was posted in All, iLiveInMyVan and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to From the Forest to Red Rocks

  1. lewija says:

    Do you remember a book called Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon?  He toured the country in his van Ghost Walking.  When he rolled through Morristown, TN., he referred to it as the ugly industrial city of Morristown.  Ouch! My hometown is ugly and industrial?  Good book.

  2. pfaffman says:

    Yes, I have a copy of Blue Highways and am about a quarter through it. I’ve switched my attention to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but I’ll get back to BH.


    For the record, Morrison, CO is not much like Morristown, TN.

Comments are closed.