Trips to the Rockies

Gen also hired a lawyer to help her through the sticky business of Dick A. McKinney. At some point during the 16 months we lived at the Elliotts, the Ford station wagon reappeared with a dented door, but without Dick.

Roughing it in ColoradoGen's lawyer offered the use of his camping trailer. Gen brought it home behind the station wagon, loaded it up, tossed us into the car, and off we went for a couple of days in the Rocky Mountain molybdenite mining country around Leadville.

The trailer, with it's propane tank, was self-contained, so Gen didn't bother with campgrounds and electrical hookups. She simply picked a spot off the highway and there we spent the night. One of my favorite memories is feeling snug, warm, and secure in the trailer, parked in a mountain meadow, while a cold rain drummed on the roof. Gen did very well by her daughters as a single mother.

Gen took us to the mountains every chance she got. Aunt Dottie was a fan of Glenwood Springs and Gen was a fan of swimming. We took frequent weekend trips to Glenwood, played in the pools, drove up to the tops of the mountains south of town (which once induced a vapor lock on the Ford), drove to Aspen and back, visited souvenir stores, went to Glenwood's Lutheran church on Sunday (of course), had picnics, explored, and generally had a good time.

Gen found an anti-gravity house near Glenwood. It was simply a one-room structure, with a mattress on the low wall to break a fall, no glass in the windows, nobody in attendance, and apparently open to all comers. That was lots of fun. What wasn't so much fun was one trip when Gen decided she needed to paste wax the Ford.

She got the car washed in town, then we drove out to a dirt road somewhere for a picnic. Gen found a spot she liked, fed us, and commenced waxing while we went off exploring. We found a dead cow, swarming with flies, a big ugly hole in its side. It smelled pretty bad. We went back to Gen and told her about it. Then we stayed close to where she was working on the car. The wind shifted and wafted the smell of something big and dead to our unappreciative noses. We wanted to move. We whined. We whined some more. Gen was not persuaded. She just kept waxing the car, ignoring both the stink and our protests. I never did figure out what her motive was for not relocating.

The trips to the mountains sometimes coincided with a visit to the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City, where Dick was doing time for grand theft auto. Teach YOU to steal Gen's car, sucka! The prison, of which we saw only the visitor's room, was an awful place. It smelled like moldy concrete and bad food. The lighting was dim and the windows were grimy. We sat on uncomfortable benches at a concrete table to visit with Dick.