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From the Editor: On the Road

By Mike Rosso

What a difference a month makes.

At 7:30 a.m. in early January, I walked the five blocks from my house in minus 8 weather to the Salida bus station. I didn’t mind the cold so much, knowing I was bound for Northern California where the climate was certain to be milder.

Only two days earlier, I’d sadly learned of the untimely death of a friend who had perished after getting lost in the backcountry near Leadville. This came as a complete shock, as Brett Beasley was one of the most alive fellows I’ve ever known. I was lucky enough to have enjoyed his company in the backcountry on a few occasions. There were also the late night jam sessions in his “man cave” where Brett seemed to always have the energy for one more Dead song, long after the rest of us had hit the wall (see page 21).

Leaving behind this somber event, I found myself on the Denver bus sitting next to the mom of a former Salida city administrator. Naturally, this made for some very interesting conversation for the next three hours. Arriving in Denver, I climbed aboard the new A-line train to DIA and despite its early reputation, made it to the airport with no problems.

The weather in California was warmer, but the following two weeks visiting family were in the midst of some of the heaviest rainfall in recent memory. I’d sit with my folks and watch the local TV news reports about the flooding occurring all around us. My brother Steve and I nearly got taken out by a falling tree in Sacramento.

[InContentAdTwo] I was grateful then to be taking the second part of my time off to travel to Central America. I had heard more bad news from home; Curtis Imrie, a longtime supporter of and cheerleader for this magazine, died while participating in the National Western Stock Show in Denver at the age of 70 (see page 11).

Two days after the inauguration of Putin’s pal to the White House, I landed in Guatemala City and was grateful to be a minority – for at least ten days. The weather was nice – spring-like, but quite smoggy. Maybe it was the active volcanoes, or possibly the large number of old trucks, chicken buses, motorcycles and tuk tuks, all belching out plumes of black and blue smoke wherever I went.

Not surprisingly, the topics on the streets centered around the new U.S. president and what could have possibly led to his election. I had no good answer to that. Mostly, I tried to avoid any news emanating from the States. I was hoping to relax, which I did manage to do, but I couldn’t help taking an occasional peek at Facebook, just like one can’t help but peer at the carnage of a bad car wreck while driving by.

I began to wonder whether I’d actually be allowed back into the U.S. After all, as a journalist, I’m now considered the “scum of the earth” by the new commander in chief and his BFF Steve Bannon. I arrived in Atlanta on February 2 and was met by the ever-cheerful U.S. Customs and Immigrations officials. Fortunately I had plenty of time before my connecting flight, as these fellows were in no great hurry to process those of us arriving back. The Guatemalans on the flight were hustled off to some undisclosed location and could still be there as far as I know.

Next was the TSA who, after determining the packages of chocolate I had packed in my suitcase were not in fact incendiary devices, allowed me through.

I was met in Denver by my good friend Scott from Pueblo, who not only picked me up from the airport, but delivered me home to Salida the next day.

Rounding a bend in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and catching a westbound glimpse of the white-capped Sangre de Cristos, along with that deep blue Colorado sky, made me glad to be home. It’s a real bonus to live in a town where others go to vacation. It helps make the landing that much easier.