When all else fails… – The parents

Tuesday August 15, 2017

I head down to Walsenburg in the morning after the guys have had a nice long float at the swim beach. I stake them off and just hang in the sun while they swing back and forth at the extent of the guy line.

My parents show up right on time at the mining museum in town. We load my bike in the car and then go inside and have a look around. This is a great place to get some context if you are going down to see the Ludlow Memorial (a must-see if you want to say you’ve got an understanding of CO history – this is one of the most significant sites in the state). We have lunch in a diner – my parent’s sort of food.

We are sobered by Ludlow and enjoy looking at the extensive ruins of the Boncarbo coal mine and company town. The number of hand-built stone walls is impressive. We head down to Trinidad and have a great look around town. We head up to the overlook at the big Trindad sign. It’s a great day. This is what I wanted to move back to America for – more short trips like these while my parents can still manage.

The following day we head down to see the KT boundary at the state park. This has been on my list for years! You can see the line in the rock that are the depositional sediments from when the asteroid hit the earth at the end of the Cretaceous and wiped out the dinosaurs. One of the greatest mass extinctions on earth is just one white layer of rock about a half inch thick. There aren’t many places you can see outcrops of the boundary, so this is pretty special. My dad is really impressed.

We then head on to check out the Highway of Scenic Legends – a ride I did in 2013. I was really impressed by the scenery and history on this ride, in an area of Colorado most people don’t pay much attention to. So I wanted to show my parents around. You can read about the bike tour of this loop in my 2013 Range Roaming journal.

We have a great day on the byway and have a nice lunch on the deck of the pub in Cuchara. We spend the night in La Veta and see two bears. The next day we go check out Ft Garland and the Great Sand Dunes on our way home. It’s a perfect three-day trip that my parents really enjoy.

I am grateful for the time with my parents this summer. But I am so very sad I’ve been gone too long and can’t restart a life over here. I know this was the right decision, so it super sucks that I can’t make it work. But professional jobs paying $14 an hour aren’t going to work. I can’t get a professional job that pays $17-20. Working 70 hours a week in two crap jobs paying $10-12 an hour won’t work either. Not being able to source housing won’t work either.

At home, I can easily make 3 times the wage here, pay only $700 a month for quite a decent condo/unit, have 4 weeks annual leave and very little in the way of healthcare costs (certainly no $7000 deductibles and $300 a month premiums!). I can go back to a job that I found interesting and with coworkers I mostly liked. It just makes no sense to be here.

I am going to miss my parents terribly – the expat guilt of being away from family will only increase after this failed attempt at moving closer. The decisions and needs in the future when my parents start to need help will be so much more difficult. But I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there. I think I’ve got 7-10 years if all progresses as it is going now.

In the meantime, I’ll keep riding. It makes everything okay, even when things are not. I’ll go back to the life I had before, minus Nigel. I’ll somehow get my head turned around once again, and flip-flop all the emotions yet again. May 2017 blandly slide into the past and 2018 be a better year.

Thanks for coming along on the ride and your patience in me getting the ride written up. I’ve been flat out since returning to Oz.

My parents – near Cordova Pass on Highway of Legends Scenic Byway with the Spanish Peaks in the background.
We stop at the Great Sand Dunes NP on our way back to Salida for a short hike and a picnic lunch. My parents first brought my brother and me here in 1983. Kermit had the most fun ever rafting Medano Creek in his floatie (I still haven’t had time to edit that video – but believe me, he went crazy!).


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