Thursday, August 27, 2009

Driving's a Privilege

Remember back to those days as a young teenager when you couldn't wait to get your driver's license.

A license meant freedom.


The chance to see a little more of the world.

I used to just get in my 1967 Chevy pickup and drive. I would drive all over Southern California listening to the Smiths and Depeche Mode on my cassette player.

Good times.

I was doing a little math the other day (not my strong suit) and discovered I drive about 70,000 miles a year.

That's a lot of driving.

Driving doesn't really represent freedom or independence for me anymore. It's more of an obligation. I drive to work. I drive at work. I drive home. I drive my family to their destinations. I drive back to work.

And then there's the financial cost of this privilege: gas, car payments, insurance, tolls, maintenance. It adds up... fast.

I'm thankful I have a nice car with a good stereo, comfortable seats and air conditioning - things I dreamed about as a teenager. It makes the many hours every week I spend behind the wheel a little more bearable.

But sometimes, I just want to get behind the wheel and drive.

I'd head east until the road ran out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ronan Pioneer Days

The town of Ronan, Montana had their annual Pioneer Days this weekend. My family has managed to miss the festivities every year they have been in Montana but Saturday changed that.

For a person raised on the Los Angeles County Fair, Pioneer Days was a little underwhelming. There was no Midway with a giant Ferris wheel and I didn't see one funnel cake or deep-fried Twinkie stand. There was livestock on display, local arts and crafts, a couple of tractors from the local John Deere dealer, a three-on-three basketball tournament and a lot of well worn cowboy boots. The highlight for me was the City Slicker Rodeo.

The City Slicker Rodeo had such PETA friendly events as the Calf Cash Chase and the Chicken Chase. One event had all of the children wearing identical shirts and hats on one side of the arena, their mothers on the other side, and a big pile of candy in the middle. The kids ran to grab as much candy as they could while the mothers tried to grab their own children.


Abigail, Anya, and Bella pose in front of a livestock pen.

Grandpa and Aidan propping up a tractor and hay roller.

You've got to start them young.

No Grandpa, this is the radiator.

Aidan is focused on his prey during the Chicken Chase.

Chickens change direction like NFL running backs.

Judy caught a chicken for Logan. "Rex" later died of exhaustion.

Abigail's age group kicked up a lot of dust during their Chicken Chase.

Two tired kids in their new cowboy hats.