December 14th, 5:05pm Central
Just finished up work for the week. Ah, the weekend begins early. With Tim in tow, we head over to my house to await the arrival of our last travelmate. His name is Seth, Rory's cousin-in-law. Apparently, he was attempting to leave H-Town at about 8 this morning. However, due to fog, he was unable. He's set to arrive at 6 or so which puts our departure back a little later than we would want. It's alright. Gotta pack the cooler anyway and Angry Tim's hungry for grub before we leave.
December 14th, 6:15pm
Still waiting on a word from Rory or Cody. Angry Tim got his burger, however, it came with thousand island dressing. Not the guy to do that to. I got half the burger--the contaminated half--and it was good. Angry Tim really needs to let me feed him for a week.
December 14th, 6:31pm
Apparently, Mayhem's at his house waiting for Rory to pick him up with Seth and then we'll meet at Cody's house. I'm trying to think of more inefficient ways to leave town. Perhaps, I'll ask to stop by the hospital and ask to have reconstructive surgery on my spine.
December 14th, 6:35pm
Just logging the boredom of waiting to leave. We're en route to Mayhem's to just wait there and shoot it for a few minutes. These guys better get their asses into gear once we hit the road or we're gonna be in for a long, grueling trip.
December 14th, 6:50pm
Met Seth. Seems pretty cool. Looks really tired. I'm thinking he could've driven to the Yellow faster from Houston. Nonetheless, he's here and has his snowboard. He asked if everyone was boarding and I said I was skiing. Immediately felt like an outsider. Not much knew there. We'll see how hard the boys try and push me into snowboarding this year. Last year, they put the pressure on pretty good. Mainly by ridicule. It's alright. I don't mind being the square on skis. However, I think my pair is a little short this year. They look like beginners' skis. Oh well, they'll execute better on the mountain.
December 14th, 7:03pm
Goodness gracious, Cody must be banking. Just checked out the hall bathroom. I think they need more guests at this house because I think I just became the first person to pee in that toilet. Really nice place. He's living like Scarface. All he's got in this world are his balls and his word. B'lee dat.
December 14th, 7:12pm
On the road. Just waiting for some other hitch, but seems to be rather uneventful. Nearing the edge of town. About time to sign out for a while.
December 14th, 7:43pm Mountain
Just crossed over into New Mexico. Let Angry Tim take over the iPod duties. He's taking me back with a little Dead Kennedys and Fugazi. We discussed the Wilhelm Scream and traded a few childhood stories. The boys behind us are complaining about my speed and saying I keep speeding up and slowing down. I've been looking at the needle on 79 mph for the last 45 minutes, at least. It's called "cruise control" fellas. It regulates your speed.
December 14th, 9:14pm
Mayhem swore we passed our exit. We did not. Yeah, still got it. I know this route like I paved the muddah. Heading north to Las Vegas...New Mexico, that is.
December 14th, 9:59pm
Looks like the gas station we stopped in here outside Las Vegas was ready to shut down. They turned off the lights on us as we were talking in the parking lots. Jerks. Had a Red Bull. Yep, still nasty. Need coffee. Will seek out the trusty McDonald's in Vegas.
December 14th, 10:22pm
Okay. Just about got my ass kicked on account of the boys. I decide to go in to order and prepare my coffee while Cody "Cheeseburger" and Mayhem make way through the drivethru. They start yelling at me from the window while three huge dudes were standing right next to me. They start mumbling obscenities back at Mayhem and look at me because they know I'm with them. I mind my own business and just head back out to the car. Hot coffee. North to Taos. Here's where the roads begin to curve and climb a bit more often. Lucky me.
December 14th, 11:53pm
Landing in Taos. A little disoriented. Got more coffee. Must stay alert for the upcoming haul. It'll most definitely be the most torturous. It'll include a trip across the Rio Grande Gorge at night. Kinda frightening to think of the drop below you as you cross that bridge. It's pitch black below you as you creep about 650 feet above the river below.
December 15th 12:35am
Saw our first elk. They're gigantic. They're just hanging out on the side of the road as we cautiously pass on by. Kinda creepy. We're seeing them around every corner. There's nothing out here but a Honda, a Chevy truck, a trillion elk and a curvy road. Angry Tim managed to get a shot of this elusive animal. It's a pretty good picture.
December 15th, 1:35am
No sight of civilization yet, but we did get to see some great action of an elk slipping on some ice and doing a faceplant. Dude deserved it. I mean, really, it's about time we got some entertainment. Angry Tim is having no problem staying entertained playing "Spot the Wildlife" through a foggy windshield at a careful 40mph. Travel is slow at this point and just plain difficult. Wyricks, however, are born with two genes. One is the stubborn gene which compels us to sometimes insane adventures and the second is the travel gene which allows us to drive tirelessly from one point to another. Tonight, I'm flexing a combination of both. My wife must be worried at home. She should be. This ain't easy. Getting tired. Very tired.
December 15th, 3:17am
We arrived in Pagosa Springs at our beautiful accomodations. I decide to bust out the flask of whiskey for a swig to bring me down to a slower speed. Not sure how we made it here. I had a dream while driving that two elks caused me to swerve off the road and wrap my Honda around a tree. Three more elks pulled me from the wreckage, tossed me into a ditch and then pushed my car off a cliff.
December 15th, 4:35am
Still up. My celebratory drink has spread like a wildfire to all present except for the smarter Angry Tim. Everyone's having a beer and carrying on about the trip. Seth looks like he's dead, but still manages to push out a chuckle here or there. My belly's starting to cramp from the coffee, sunflower seeds and whiskey. Ouch. About to turn in. We got an early rise and a big day of skiing, er, snowboarding ahead of us.
December 15th, 6:02am
Oops. Forgot to take into account the time change when setting my cell phone alarm. I'm an hour early. My body is sore as hell. I feel like I was beat up by the cast of Clockwork Orange. I'll lay down for a few more minutes.
December 15th, 7:06am
Okay, time to really get up now. Gotta get a shower in and something in my belly before I hit the mountain. I feel like I gotta crap a sunflower seed the size of a football. My bowels are already taking a beating and I haven't even had Cavillos mexican buffet yet. Rory's pretty quiet this morning. Either he's all business or too tired to talk. I asked him to pose for a picture and he gave me the following pose. I'm not sure if this is his tough look or his fatigued look.
Cody, never short of a good laugh, was straight thuggin in his patterned boarding jacket. Yeah, Pagosa Spring thug-thuggin--the best rap hands in the game.
December 15th, 8:10amOn our way to the mountain. Got my iPod loaded and ready to go. This'll be my first ski outing plugged in. I brought along a mix of Black Moon, Ice Cube, Muse, Metallica, Beatnuts, Cypress Hill, The Sword, Death From Above 1979 and Geto Boys. Should make for an interesting listen.
December 15th, 9:12amOn our first run of the day. Pretty rusty, but the blood's flowing pretty well. The boarders spent a long time sitting this morning. Probably still waking up. Looking forward to some good runs with these guys. All of them are pretty good boarders although Rory remains quite modest of his skills. Angry Tim's an old vet--kinda like myself. Not much to my style anymore. Lots of long traversing. Some speed, but not alot of air. We do it for the love. Haha, whatever.
I say, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, take the pictures." I guess that'd be me.
December 15th, 11:43pm
Time to break for lunch. Dying to eat something. We make our way to the cars for sandwiches and hydration. Popular sandwich seems to be peanut butter and jelly. Rory busted his tail boarding down the cars when he slipped off the wall of snow outlining the lot and landed ass first on the parking lot. Looked painful, but dude bounced up like it was nothing. I would've been down for at least 20 minutes holding my tail end. He plays soccer. That's the only way I can explain it.
The superhot lime Cheetos are freaking horrible. Only Mayhem could muscle such a disasterous combination of tastes. It truly is the nastiest thing I've ever had. They'd be better used as brushes for removing graffiti off of walls. That being said, imagine what they do to your stomach.
December 15th, 12:12pmStarting to warm up. My legs are feeling fantastic, but my boots are aching a little bit. That's to be expected. They're like medieval torture devices. I've known this to be true since a little lad. Seth's a helluva boarder. The iPods that all but two of us are wearing are making it quite difficult on communication. Talking and listening are replaced with hand motions and blank stares. Thankfully, Angry Tim and Cheeseburger are not wired so they can make sense of things. I just follow everything by loudly proclaiming, "I'll just follow," assuming that's pretty easy to understand and, furthermore, quite agreeable. I'm just along for the ride. Below, Mayhem illustrates the expression that replies, "I can't hear you because my headphones are too loud. Just shut up and board."
December 15th, 2:01pmI'm giving up for the day. Starting to whine like a little baby. With there being no crowds at all today, we got in a full day with two hours to spare. Nice how that works out. All but Rory and Seth make way to the car to rest ourselves. My calves are on fire. My back feels like forty children with baseball bats took turns beating me like a pinata. Will need a nap before I do anything. Running on about two hours of horrible sleep--not ideal for a great day at the mountain. Despite that, it was good enough to prompt me putting on Cheeseburger's retarded helmet and posing like Captain Morgan.
December 15th, 3:50pmSleep. Beautiful sleep. Will wake up for dinner, but nothing else.
December 15th, 7:03pmTrying to get on the road for dinner. The truck keeps stalling and circling the parking lot. I'm short on patience and long on hunger. Angry Tim and I are gonna crack heads if we don't get something in our bellies quick. I yell out something that probably shouldn't be repeated into the night sky and it echoes off the mountain walls. I'm sure I just made some family's night with my language.
December 15th, 7:12pmDinner. We head into town looking for a place called Bear Creek. We drive from one side of town to another and then back again. We keep crossing a spot that smells like absolute fart. Angry Tim keeps blaming me. I keep accepting blame, but it occurs to Angry Tim it's in the very same place everytime. Near the bridge just off of the main drag. I'm still thinking it's a lingering fart. Angry Tim concludes a rather obvious observation--the hot springs. Duh, Pagosa Springs. Yeah, I would suppose that'd make some sense. Sulfur, kids.
December 15th, 7:37pmWe're at Bear Creek. Place wants $1.00 for a game of Galaga. Whatta rip off. I decide to step outside and make some phone calls to my lovely wife and to a man named Jeffrey who has keys to our Saturday night accomodations. I ordered a pound of burger meat to eat. It comes with a bun, but I'm really just interested in seeing if I can toss back a full pound of meat.
December 15th, 8:32pmThat was a huge burger. Much more than I should've eaten. I'll be designated driver at this point simply because to drink on top of such a mound of food would be lethal. Can't wait until my body starts breaking this thing down. Oh the gas will be abound!
December 15th, 8:45pmWhy are there so many pitchers of beer on the table?
December 15th, 9:03pmRory and Seth are seeking out a hotspot in Pagosa Springs. I don't think it exists. The waitress doesn't seem to think so either. She recommends a place called Buffalo Inn on the edge of town. We make our way out from the Bear to the Buffalo.
December 15th, 9:25pmThis place makes the Regal Beagle look like Paradise Island. Come and knock on our door! We probably won't be staying long although there's a band setting up and they have a beautiful Hammond B3. Wouldn't mind hearing them fire up that thing. The crowd's getting on my nerves. It looks like the crowd got much older and much bluer around the collar. I think that waitress was playing a mean joke on us.
December 15th, 9:40pmGas is getting painful already. We're heading out thankfully. Better to just call it a night. Maybe we can watch the Catfights DVD I found up at work for entertainment.
December 15th, 10:19pmWe arrive at the hotel and, in crippling pain, I grab the portable DVD player and Catfights and head into the bathroom. Never used a portable DVD player for the purpose of entertainment while on the stool, but, eh, when in Rome.
December 15th, 10:45pmA new man! Seriously, I feel about ten pounds lighter and five years younger. I open up the door to a room of empty faces--some of them nearing sleep. Looks like it might be an early evening. It needs to be an early evening. My body is completely worn and I'll need a rejuvenating sleep. Angry Tim and I are sharing a bed again tonight. He's very respectful of the heterohalf rule. I always fear I'm gonna be the guy who, in a state of deep sleep, grab the guy next to me and pull him into a full-on spoon position and have to wake up to the uncomfortable questioning of the travelmates. I'll sleep so hard tonight though, I'd be surprised if I move a toe.
December 15th, 11:49pmSleeping. Morning is gonna be all business.
December 16th, 7:04amFeeling like a million bucks this morning. And looking like it too, if I may say so myself. Everyone's looking sharp this morning. A little slower getting out of the gates but we're fully rested and after a some waffles down in the lobby, we'll pack up the vehicles for our climb to the Creek.
December 16th, 9:16amToday's gonna be Picture Day. I gotta make sure I take lots of photos for The Root Down. People don't like to read, they like pictures. I must provide for them.
December 16th, 10:40amDiscovered a few jumps. I skied down below them to catch our boarders in action. Even took the jump for myself. I like skiing with these guys. They make me feel young again. My legs feel strong and properly conditioned from all the endless walking I've been doing. First we had Mayhem who pulls out some of the prettiest jumps of the morning--one of which is logged in the following photo.
Seth follows with a masterful jump of his own. Dude puts it down, let me tell ya.
Even our boy Cheeseburger puts together a nice lift of his own. The photo seems to have captured the glory of his feat and not the horror of his landing.
December 16th, 11:22amIt seems I've been separated from the group. Thinking about going up and doing this nasty looking face that's all moguls. Let's see if my legs still got it.
December 16th, 11:38amStill got it.
December 16th, 11:54amCatch up with the crew at the vehicles for lunch. The bread has become frozen in the cooler and not all too enjoyable to eat. Will make great scraps for the savage birds that circle us. Feeling ready to go all afternoon.
December 16th, 1:23pmJump #2. Comparitively a much gnarlier jump than the first. Seth takes to it first and puts together this insanely nice photo.
Not to be outdone, Mayhem follows with this gem.
Cheeseburger never made it. My photo of Cheeseburger looks to be nothing but a nice shot of nearby tree trunks. He'll redeem himself later, I'm sure.
December 16th, 1:43pm
Angry Tim appears to be very angry. I'm not sure why. He did injure himself earlier in the day when he heard a "pop" when his knees flew up and hit his chest. Hoping that's not a broken rib.
December 16th, 2:21pmLogging the following photo of the boys at the summit.
Cheeseburger, Mayhem, Rory, Angry Tim and Seth.
December 16th, 3:11pmHeading to a jump that everyone's had their eye on for the last few runs to get a few last action photos of the boys. Mayhem is first with one of the best photos of the trip with a nice tailgrab.
Cheeseburger would follow with, again, a sweet jump with a not so happy ending, but the readers won't need to know about that.
December 16th, 3:32pmBack at the vehicles and calling it a day. Wow, whatta day it was. Shins are killing me, but the rest of my body feels splendid. It's been years since I've said that. Going with these dudes keeps me young. No falls, no spills, no injuries. Good to go. Heading into Alamosa for some mexican food. Angry Tim has a Quizno's nearby so he doesn't have to muscle down his arch enemy--the onion.
December 16th, 5:02pmArrive at Alamosa. Cavillos is hopping. Our waiter is about the most charming dude you could ever find. He keeps saying, "Take your time, eat all that you want." That's all he has to say. Not much conversation from the group. Cheeseburger's getting quiet. He opted for Quizno's with Angry Tim. Can't say it's highly unlike him, but seemed a little strange.
December 16th, 5:45pmKilled that buffet. Angry Tim and Cheeseburger return from across the street. Cheeseburger looks like he ate something a little foul. About to pay out and split.
December 16th, 6:01pmCheeseburger mentioned he wanted to run back over to Quizno's to use their facilities. It's not like Cavillos doesn't have a squatter, but whatever.
December 16th, 6:05pmCheeseburger runs back over to us waiting for him in the cars. Guess he was unsuccessful. Poor guy.
December 16th, 7:45pmWe arrive at the San Luis quarters. After approaching the house with nothing but a flashlight, I'm bumrushed by a dog out of the darkness. Appears to be a wolf, but is not. Scared the living crap out of me though. I call him "Flaco." The key is in the outhouse which oddly has a Texas Tech toilet seat in it. No running water unfortunately for us, but we can make due.
December 16th, 7:54pmA visibly distressed Cheeseburger paces around the cabin for a while and then grabs a roll of toilet paper and makes way for the outhouse.
December 16th, 8:03pmNo luck again for Cheeseburger. Man, this kid is really picky about where he does his business. We tell him just to go outside the cabin, just somewhere where we won't step in it. That doesn't seem to be koshier for Cheeseburger. I head inside with Flaco following closely behind. Mayhem is attempting to start a fire. I think I just found something that I can beat Mayhem in.
December 16th, 8:17pmCheeseburger's truck is gone. Apparently being out in the middle of nowhere is still not far enough from civilization to do what he's going to do. I'm wondering what emotional scarring has led to this sort of behavior. I hope he can find his way back. It's all a maze of dirt roads out there with very little landmarks in the Colorado twilight.
December 16th, 8:42pmThe fire is blazing. My name has officially been changed to Fidel because of my facial hair configuration. I've heard worse. And Flaco's name is now "Wolfy." Still no word from Cheeseburger. Not worrying yet.
December 16th, 8:43pmThere's Cheeseburger. He arrives in his thermal underwear bottoms and socks. He's telling us he just found a dirt road to crap on. We laugh hysterically.
December 16th, 9:27pmThe marathon game of dominos is about to commence. We'll rotate the lowest score after 200 out and bring the next player in. It's really the easiest way with six guys. We start with Rory, Seth, Mayhem and myself.
December 16th, 10:45pmAngry Tim joins in. He quickly accuses me of making up rules to games and claims my lovely wife and I cheated at a game of ten penny. Not sure of which incident he's referring to specifically, but I assure him I'm not afraid to lose and don't make up rules to favor my winning. It's Rory and Mayhem he has to worry about.
December 16th, 10:58pmRory is now "Roy," because I just like the sound of it.
December 16th, 11:12pmAfter a quick exit, Angry Tim retreats angrily upstairs for some shuteye. I guess Cheeseburger also disappeared upstairs. We're down to four and there's alot of beer between us. Mayhem's got gas out of both ends.
Roy shows his disgust.
December 17th, 12:02amWith really no radio reception at all, we search around Cheeseburger's vehicle for some CDs to play on the available radio here at the house. It's here we make a startling, horrifying discovery. Now, I'm no Godsmack fan, but even with that being said, the horror of finding a Godsmack CD and opening it to find Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang on a burn CD is just straight offensive. Technical partyfoul on Cheeseburger.
December 17th, 12:23amWolfy begins to get really friendly with all of us. I welcome him to the table and he jumps up in my face. I like this dog. Thinking of taking him with me.
We even offered him a little whiskey to keep him warm. He was interested, but politely declined. Not without a sniff though.
December 17th, 12:52amCheeseburger emerges from the upstairs. He looks completely revitalized which is good to see. He walks up and puts down a beer. Looks ready for some dominos.
December 17th, 3:20amRoy calls for some shakeface. Of course, I'm happy to oblige. In fact, I'll do not once, not twice, but three times to get the party rolling.
Cheeseburger follows with this freaking awesome attempt. It's the first thing he's landed all day.
Roy, as well, looks to be doing some practice because his, too, is a drastic improvement on the shakeface from our last adventure.
December 17th, 4:15am
Body's wearing down from a long day and what is about to be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of dominos. I was down by about 180 points to Roy at the 500-point mark, but in what can only be described as a comeback of Wyrickian proportions, I'll soon end Roy's run once and for all.
December 17th, 4:37am
Final score is j3 with 1040 and Roy coming in second with 955 points. Incredible. Must sleep. Once again, I'm getting no sleep at all before a big day. It's a travel day that'll take us back to the Yellow.
December 17th, 7:30am
Wake up to a alert Angry Tim standing waiting for the bodies to move. I'm up.
December 17th, 7:43am
Wolfy is waiting outside for us and watches us pack. He's nipping at my feet playfully, but he's clamping down. I hope he doesn't have rabies. He hasn't broken skin, but I don't want to take my chances. Maybe I should've thought about that before bringing him in with all of us last night.
December 17th, 8:01am
Angry Tim and I demand that Cheeseburger show us the scene of the crime last night. Cheeseburger laughs and agrees to take us there.
December 17th, 8:09am
We arrive at the infamous dirt road. What I see can only be described by saying as funny as it was disgusting. I coat it with dirt like a powdered donut as I peel out on the road. Yellow, here we come.
December 17th, 11:22am
On the worst road in New Mexico between Springer and Clayton, we are met with a highway patrol checkpoint. I present an expired insurance card then, with the help of Angry Tim, the updated one. Angry Tim has white powder all over him from a donut he had earlier. He inspects my windshield to see my inspection is past due which was only called to my attention by Roy the night earlier. How did I miss that? Either way, we were luckily let go.
December 17th, 12:01pm
Subway in Clayton is the Promise Land at this point. I'm so hungry. We'll scarf, chat briefly then mount up and take off.
December 17th, 12:34pm
A man just cornered me in the parking lot asking for directions to Texas. I just point down the road to Dalhart. He says he's trying to find his way to Houston. Clearly this man has no earthly idea how big the state of Texas is. I recommend a map. He says he already has one. I ask if he's even looked at it. When he enters the state of Texas, he could not be further from Houston and still be in the state of Texas.
December 17th, 3:38pm
Dropped off my equipment and just arrived home to my lovely wife and a beagle who sniffed me from head to toe. It was Wolfy he smelled. He cornered me on the chair and started probing me with questions.
After telling him about how I befriended Wolfy, he gave me a tongue-lashing like I've never received. I probably deserved it. Welcome home.
***the ceremonial beard-shaving will take place on Wednesday...Fidel no more.