Many of my friends and allies in the LGBT community know my sister Patsy. They just know her as Patsy like Cher or Madonna. She has always had my back and shares my wicked sense of humor. Throughout our lives we have had many wonderful moments together. Visiting this weekend with her in Denver, we started to reminisce about a trip we took throughout remote Utah and Western Colorado. The time was September, 1970 and the states had not yet been overcome with their rapid population growth.
Patsy brought out some notes she made on the trip and I thought I would share them with you. Here are Patsy notes from our journey in forty-three years ago.
"Clearly, Toto, I am not in Baltimore anymore. I have flown into Denver to meet David who is working on the Craig Barnes 'peace' campaign for Congress. The two of us rented a Ford Bronco and took off into the remote wilds of the West.
We have just gotten out of the foothills and into the mountains have run out of gas.
Upsetting? Annoying? No. We can't stop laughing.
We hitched a ride to the nearest gas station, got gas and the kind folks drove us back to the truck. I love the fact I was standing on a mountain road 'hitchhiking'!
We laughed even harder when the gas station guy said, 'Did you two know that there is an auxiliary tank that it is totally full?"
Once again, we set off. We are giddy as if we have been set free of the world problems. We are in our best hippie clothes.
We talk non-stop. We stay in cheap motels and do mean CHEAP motels!
We are eating in wonderful diners, with the juke box connection right on the table. We are playing country music. We are playing cowboy songs. Singing along with Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, we are eating non-healthy and raging delicious dinner food.
We are on dirt roads that tightly hug the sides of mountain leaving little margin of error. A piece of big earth-moving equipment has plummeted off the side of the steep cliff.
Coming upon a deep stream, we are wondering how deep and if we can safely travel across it. I got out to test the depth by slowly wading into it. As I was doing that, a pickup truck pulled around the Bronco and went on through. It had only been a few inches deep but look how brave I have been.
The day is hot and sunny and we are on a long, flat dirt road through rock formations and in the middle of nowhere. Earlier another truck approached us with three men inside. One of them on the passenger side had a gun and was leaning out the window pointing it at us. Acutely aware of our hippie appearance, our hearts stopped in fear! As they got closer and closer, we felt that there was no place to hide. We prayed hard and it worked! God is good!
Our final stop is Lily Lake which is high up on the Western side of the Colorado mountains. The cabin was is so perfect we have changed from hippie to settler mode. It is quite chilly in the mornings and the mist lingers over the lake. Trampling through the woods, we are too disorganized to call it hiking, we are falling in love with this place.
This cabin is high up in the mountains among many peaks. They are covered with brilliant yellow aspen trees. From the front of our cabin is a big lake with lily's and wild ducks. There is no heat except for a wood burning stove. No electricity in any room except the kitchen and fortunately high water for my bath. Although it is a little hard to read in the tub by kerosene lamp. it is snowing tonight and we must chop wood for the wood stove or we will freeze to death!
This trip is exactly what we both needed at this time. Colorado is beautiful and it does look like the 'Sound of Music'. Utah, however, absolutely has wiped me out. I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelming it is to me. It is so desolate. It is very much keeping with my mood and I feel very tuned into it. The area is really cowboy country filled with tumbleweed, ranges, deserts, mesas, rocks, dust and cactus. There are millions of wildflowers, big birds and native Americans. I have taken many pictures but know they will never begin to capture what I saw. and certainly not how I feel right now"