The Charlie Bravo Story

Hanging memories on each highline pole

We should have made it home by now, but dad seems to have a love/hate relationship with those state signs positioned at every border crossing. He loves the anticipation of seeing them approach through the haze of bug guts on the windshield, but gets a feeling of sickness and dread in the pit of his stomach when one recedes in the rear view mirror; “well, we won’t be seeing THAT one again for a while…(heavy sigh)(suppressed sob)”.

We had every intention of leaving Raton early yesterday and rolling hard towards the east and the Casa, but the magnetic pull of the Spanish Peaks just to our north was too much for the steel of dad’s wanderlust, and we once again found ourselves passing a rustic “Colorful Colorado” portal. Dad’s obviously flawed reasoning was to poke around a bit in the high country before bending it left around noon, which would make the final day on the road a relatively easy one: even from the back seat I could literally hear mom’s eyes rolling back in her head like the apples and oranges on a one-armed bandit, although dad would have to find his own jackpot.

Just like the rest of the trip, the details of this particular day are waaaaay too varied to fit into this particular blog, and will have to somehow be worked into future posts. Suffice to say that at the appointed hour of departure, we instead found ourselves on a high mountain trail at 11,500′, with a storm bearing in from the north. The temps plummeted and the clouds rolled in so quickly that visibility dropped to mere feet within minutes, just perfect for concealing any predators, imaginary or otherwise, in the swirling mist. This cover was also instrumental in obscuring from mom the fact that Max was indulging freely in his particular affinity for marmot poop, a fact that would come back to haunt us later in the story.

Then down, down, down, like a trickle transforming into a river as it descends, the trail gave way to a dirt road, then the dirt transformed into asphalt, the two lane transformed into interstate and the ubiquitous yellow “New Mexico, Land of Enchantment” sign, with its perky red and yellow peppers.

In an unsuccessful attempt to make up for lost time, we rolled long and hard, the gathering darkness to the east concealing predators of a different kind, the black and white patrol cars of the first the Texas, then Oklahoma, State Police. They possess a particular force known to dad as “Pucker Power”, or “Mobile Reality”; that the mere sight of a government agency vehicle can provoke such a feeling of guilt in an otherwise innocent person is a post for another day. “To protect and to serve” is a lovely sentiment, but “We’ll leave you alone until you actually warrant otherwise” is much preferable.

Tired, smelly, and cranky, we finally decided to shut it down for the night and were looking for a suitable bivouac when we hear a liquid “YAAAARCH” from the back seat, followed by a stench that can only be described as “the armpit of Satan”.

Remember the marmot poop?

It obviously had been fermenting in Max’s reactor core across four states, two time zones and multiple elevation changes, only to go into meltdown when mom and dad were least equipped to deal with it. Hazmat teams were scrambled from the surrounding states, blankets and towels were burned, and, for once, I stayed out of the way.

Now, it’s morning, and the sun is glinting off of our fine collection of insect innards as we speed, er, advance with alacrity, towards home: I feel very confident that you could start a small entymology museum with the specimens embedded in our grill.

Next stop, the Casa.

Join the discussion

  1. Marg Woodworth

    Hope you made/ make it safe. What a trip!!!!!!!!

  2. Mark Moore

    Wow what a trip!! Haha I’ve heard that YAAAARCH sound a few times and it’s no fun at 3am! Mylo says hi and hope you all made it home safely! We shall live vicariously through your adventures until we find our own!

  3. Linda Hubbard

    Loved all your pictures, especially the aspens!

  4. Claudia Burris

    Love, love your posts and seeing where you have been and are heading! I know the “Yaaaarch” sound and it isnt nice . Safe travels as you head home!

  5. Carole Lucier

    Yikes…..those dogs named Max….. lol

  6. Sam Howard

    Do hope your back at the Casa Del Wacko and you didn’t meet up with our Black and Whites in Texas in a bad way.

  7. Dianne Lane

    I had a Max once (long ago). Memories! Nuff said. ❤️

  8. Mikki Calm

    One day we have an adventure in that part of the world. Looks and sounds beautiful. Except for the marmot poop! Will try to pass on that. Hope your home safe and sound, thanks for the ride!

  9. Jeanne Mancinelli

    Hope the rest of the trip was uneventful! Odor Miss Ellie will need quite the airing out! Love reading your adventures. Thanks for sharing

  10. Dee Soulier

    omg..hope you guys made it ok to the Casa and the other inmates were happy to see ya….and i never laughed so hard reading about max brought me back to the first time you describe when he at the poop…oh the joys of our children.

  11. Kathy Moody

    Only you could end your travels in such an “explosive ” way. Looking forward to pictures and such.

  12. Jody Hess-Franey

    Charlie, your blog is so hysterically descriptive, I can almost smell the marmot poop from here!

  13. Fran Scott

    Ohhh, no, the pungent aroma of marmot poop after canine processing 🙂

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