By wily Jim Dickens
It’s been a while since I have lived by myself and it’s been even longer since I have felt totally overwhelmed. But it happened this winter, and it’s crazy to think I choose to do it during a comfy retirement. Here is the back story.
Spent the holidays in Chicago with my wife Lori, our children, extended family and friends much as before but just as precious and appreciated. Then finalized the decision with Lori to make my home in Reno without Lori. We remain happily married. The decision was made for good personal reasons.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I left the Honda Ridgeline stored in Bozeman. After the holidays, I flew out to be reunited and drive to my new home, Reno, Nevada. Luckily, a good friend of mine Steve, agreed to help and he simultaneously flew out of NYC to join me. December 29, 2020 my trusty Ridgeline emerged from storage with all the camping, hiking, fishing gear and dirt from the fall adventure. It roared to life and took us straight to the Big Sky, Gallatin Riverhouse Bar and Grill to meet our good friend, Pete. The Riverhouse is still the greatest bar in the world.
Steve and I stayed at Pete’s place with three recent college graduate pandemic refugees. The refugees created an outdoor gaming area with lights, sound system and an ice block table that included embedded LED lighting. They smoothed table surface with hot water to it glassy. The game of the evening involved tossing dice in the air onto the table with the opposing team catching the dice on the bounce. A bad toss or a missed catch resulted in a drink and an uncaught toss or a caught dice resulted in a point. We played from 11 pm to 1 am in sub zero weather with bare hands. The key to the game is to have a quick, willing to dive refugee as your partner. Despite my initial misgivings, it was a very fun, challenging and novel experience.
Steve and I began journeying to Reno and stopping in West Yellowstone for another novel experience, snowmobiling. West Yellowstone has 400 miles of trails, excellent snow and hundreds of sleds for rent. Steve and I had never snowmobiled before, at least I hadn’t for over 30 years. The sleds are easy to drive, fast and reliable, and comfortable. We logged over 70 miles and only got lost once over 4 hours. It was a “do again” activity. I look forward to the future, electric sleds, eliminating my #1 drawback, noise.
Continuing our journey, Steve and I had New Year’s eve dinner in Twin Falls Idaho with great wine and a shot of the worst whiskey in the house. We hiked along the Snake River Canyon to where Evil Knieval attempted to jump across it in his rocket powered motor cycle.
New Year’s Day with Steve driving the Ridgeline at maximum speed we entered Nevada at 11 am and reached Reno early evening. Despite the extensive logical thinking, thorough discussion and extensive planning, I found the reality of the situation completely over whelming. Thanks to Lori and Steve’s support, I didn’t bail and drive back to Chicago.
Here is the reality. I have lived with Lori for the last 33 years. She has always been there if I needed help or support. We have a network of friends and family and we know where to go and how things work. I had never spent anytime in Reno and knew no one. Despite doing internet research, unless you go there, see, hear and smell the landscape you don’t know it. Driving into Reno, the uncertainty and instability of the situation really hit me and I was feeling truly overwhelmed in a bad way.
I have said before, to appreciate a delicious glass of cold water you need to be really hot and thirsty. The experience of going make Reno home has made me truly appreciate Lori, family and friends. Again thanks to Steve for calming me down on the Reno arrival. And huge thanks to Lori for her daily/constant support. I am living in Reno and it’s working out. More on that in the next blog.