Montrose is a small town about 60 miles southwest of where I live. As I said before, I've been to Montrose many times, but none of these trips were ever really by choice and none of them were very exciting.
I went down there this weekend because my mom just moved down there. She decided to start her own business designing and running a web site for lots of businesses and organizations in Montrose. I hadn't seen her since she moved there, and since I didn't really have any weekend plans, I decided to go visit her.
This trip marks the first time I've done any real extended driving since the leg mishap. I've been driving a lot over the last few weeks, but it's only been in-town driving. Until this weekend, I haven't tried any sort of long distance driving. It was sort of nerve-wracking, I have to admit. Part of it is the road. For the most part, the road to Montrose is only two lanes, one in each direction, which is in dire need of widening and, actually, any sort of improvement at all. Since it's the only road in the area, it's very busy, people drive on it like idiots, and accidents occur quite often. I'm sort of a slow driver these days, and I was having a hard time coping with the drive at times.
I had to keep switching CDs in order to make myself relax. I started out listening to the Handsome Boy Modeling School Cd, which didn't work, then tried the new Yo La Tengo CD, which didn't work eaither. I finally settled on More A Legend than A Band by the Flatlanders, which had been one of my favorite Cds of late. It's more suited to driving through miles of empty rural area than the others.
Montrose is actually a nice place. It's a very tidy town, with lots of nice old houses which have been kept up over the years. It has a fairly functional downtown, but in recent years, it's spread out a lot. What I remember as the city limits are no longer the city limits. Montrose has gotten a lot bigger.
The first night I was there was taken up by two activities: dinner and a trip to the 24-hour WalMart SuperCenter - exciting! (I got there kind of late, so there wasn't much else to do...)
My mom and I ate at a place called Kokopelli's, a Southwestern-style restaurant located in a converted old church. I liked it a lot, despite its name. For those of you who live in other parts of the country, Kokopelli is a Southwestern Native American (mainly Hopi, but often associated with other tribes) symbol who has somehow become the unofficial mascot of the Four Corners area. You can't swing a cat without hitting a Kokopelli something-or-other in these parts.
The funny part is that Kokopelli is, for the most part, a symbol of fertility, and in many of the ancient rock drawings that depict him, he has the kind of enormous phallus that befits a proper fertility figure. But, for whatever reason, most modern depictions of Kokopelli show him sans manhood. This article does a pretty good job examining this odd phenomenon.
Needless to say, the Kokopelli at Kokopelli's Restaurant (actually, it was a Grille, but that's going a bit far) was less than a man. Still, it was a pretty good restaurant. I had ravioli with jalapeno cream and garlic sauce. Yum.
Then, because there was not much else to do, we went to the WalMart SuperCenter, which is one of those incredibly huge and disorienting 24-hour ones with grocery stroes and restaurants inside them. This one is actually new, and replaces an ancient WalMart just 500 feet down the road.
I always have mixed feelings about shopping there. On one hand, I don't really like going to huge, impersonal stores to buy things, and then there's all the other baggage associated with WalMart. Of course, when I tell this to relatives of mine who live in the area, they look at me like I was insane. To them, the coming of WalMart meant that they didn't have to drive 70 miles away to buy auto parts any more, and is therefore an unqualified Good Thing.
Anyway, I did enjoy my visit, because the whole place was so weird and huge and shiny. I always love going to the supermarket to look for weird foods and odd food labels and stuff like that. the WalMart SuperCenter certainly did not disappoint on that count. There were lots of weird food brands I'd never seen before, a lot of them for black-eyed peas and string beans and the like. My favorite part was the selection of regional candy bars from all over the US. But my favorite regional candy bar, the Idaho Spud, was unfortunately not represented (Anyone reading this who has access to the glory that is the Idaho Spud is encouraged to contact me below...).
My mom lives in a more rural part of town, which is very peaceful and quiet. My favorite part of the trip was just sitting on the back deck and listening to the silence and looking at the San Juan mountains off in the distance.
Above is the view from my mom's porch. The scenic San Juan mountains are in the background, behind that also-scenic red pole and extremely scenic road grader in the front...