At least eight hours and five-hundred miles stood between us and our destination in Rocky Mountain National Park. The best thing that I can say is that I got to soak in the hotel tub the night before. It was actually strange. This wasn't a freezing river or a shower with stingy water-pressure. It was the kind of thing that spoils you. We had one stop left and I could feel the wilderness washing away. I could tell that I was going to miss feeling so independent and capable. I knew that home was closer than it seemed and I wanted to make the most of our last days on the road.
Freedom is kind of a funny thing. You have it until someone reminds you that you don't. This scene occurred while we'd stopped for lunch at a turn-out on the highway. Two bikers had been stopped by a state trooper.
I don't know what violation they might have been discussing. Everything seemed very civil. Something must have been out of the ordinary, though, because the officer eventually searched the compartments on each bike. The bikers must have offered consent.
Eventually, two more troopers came onto the scene. I thought, "This is really getting interesting." By the way, I am well within my right to photograph this interaction. Exercising my right is not only acceptable, but also a responsibility. If something out of the ordinary happens, we have a duty to be a witness and hold everyone accountable.
Thankfully, the matter was resolved and the parties shook hands before everyone went on their way.
Hours later, we were in Estes Park without any other incidents. I was lucky enough that Jen found a brewery in town where we could find some food.
I filled my growler, had some free tastings, and Jen and I shared some pub nachos. If anyone is curious, the kids had chicken. They almost always have chicken.
After dinner, we pulled into one of the most scenic campsites I've seen, the Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake. I think Jen said that this site is operated by some municipality and that the office is run by trained visitors who trade time at the park for hours of service.
The light was perfect and the weather was cool. It was almost cold, and reminded me of football games in Charlottesville in October and November.
The air was thin at that altitude, over nine-thousand feet. I could breath just fine, but I definitely noticed a difference.
The park had a fun playground where lots of kids could burn off the energy that drives mom and dad crazy while cooped up in the trucks for hours.
Owen and Evan met some new people their own age.
Owen sends love to Canterbury School Greensboro from Estes Park:)
Addy didn't seem to mind the chill.
Eventually, we had to go back to camp and get ready for bed. Our day in Rocky Mountain National Park would start soon enough.
I went to sleep not too long after the kids. I was tired. I laid in the bed thinking about how my breathing had changed. I've lost a little weight from the hiking and from the moderate lunches that we ate on the road. Tomorrow is going to be a full day and it's our last day to explore the great national parks for the summer. I want to make the best of it. Till then, take care, friends:)
August 8th, 2017 Wayne Reich:
Hi Dan - yes, I have video capability on the camera. Regarding the responsibility to photograph events, there is a line, but it's mostly gray. I wouldn't want to interfere with the officers' legitimate duties, but a long lens and some discretion go far. I'm also powerless to stop anything from happening in real-time, and I had my own family's safety to consider. In the end, there was nothing to worry about. Most of the time there isn't. I was, though, in a position to see what was happening and it made for some interesting content.
August 7th, 2017 Dan:
Interested in your comments about responsibility to photograph events. Could you switch video if needed? Just curious.
Loved the saga and the photos of RMNP