Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beans and Crazy Brits - The Move Odyssey: Day 15

I wake up when the sky is barely lightening. A crone crescent hangs in the sky outside the window. With any decent luck we'll be on our land for Dark or New Moon.

We've arranged to move to an RV campground today. Much cheaper. $15/day for both trailers w/o electric. So we go through the usual chaos of gathering our stuff and herding the cats into their boxes.

Before that I do some searching online and find a sweet 9 month old Great Pyrenees. Aubrey. Likes cats and other dogs, likes being brushed. They're closed for the day, naturally.

The space we get is shaded by trees. Birch perhaps? It'll be a while before I get to know the local trees. I find feathers from what is probably a morning dove. Some cat got lucky. Later we see him, he's a grey striped tabby with thick fur, obviously well adapted to the chill mountain evenings. This place is a mix of house trailers with gardens planted alongside, RVs and the occasional antique car. We set up camp and I locate a bag of black beans and set them to soak.  It'll be nice to cook again.

I get a tiny stick of pepperoni from the local store and dice that up, adding it to the pot with my beans. We haven't been able to find the box I packed cooking utensils in, and yesterday we had to buy a new can opener. Now I can't find the one we just bought, misplaced in the trip from the motel to here. Instead of the can of diced tomatoes I'd planned on, I use a can of salsa with a pop-top lid.  Can't find the garlic either, but I do have a jalapeno from yesterday, and the leftover beef from last night's tacos.

A few hundred yards from us there's a roofed area for grilling. I'd scoped it out earlier, and somebody had a collapsed tarp/tent and a propane/charcoal grill there, but doesn't seem to be using the public grill. When I go there again, there's a man sitting in his pickup truck nearby, listening to Led Zeppelin on his radio. He greets me enthusiastically.

B is from Liverpool, here on a work visa. He had some sort of problem with folks cashing his Brit money and a missing credit card, and ended up staying at the campsite, I believe in exchange for a little work. His attitude reminds me more of what I'm used to from Aussies than Brits. He's got an expansive personality, and within moments of meeting him, I find that he's met Paul McCartney's brother, has traveled much of Europe and some of Africa, and loves America more than anywhere else in the world. Shaved head, wiry frame and vivid green and gold eyes that are startling contrasted with his sun-reddened face. I adore him instantly.

I fire up the charcoal and put on the beans. A while later I check on them and the water's still cold. Screw this, I place the pot directly on the coals (which ARE hot) and add more charcoal. Hours go by while they cook. Quantum and I repack the trailer and I check on them intermittently. B has garlic in his cooler, so I add that. B also gets me some hay for kindling and some scrap wood. Nine at night and the beans are only starting to get soft. I haven't been able to find the rice yet (we have a 20 lb bag somewhere, so I add a box of cheddar cheese Rice-a-Roni. A half hour later the rice is still crunchy. I find that B is sleeping out under his collapsed tarp, and doesn't have a sleeping bag. He says he'll return it tomorrow, but...isn't he going to be out in the cold tomorrow night? Quantum says it sounds like the guy's "living on pride." He likes him as much as I do. We resolve to do what little we can for him.

The trailer is cozy now. The walls are keeping out the wind. It's way windy here. Quantum's lit several candles and they provide light and heat. We're happy to be here.

It must be 10 or 10:30 by the time I give up on getting the beans and rice softer. I spoon it into four coffee cups. B is under his tarp, snoring away, so I leave his cup of stew atop his car and hope some small animal won't attack it in the middle of the night. The stew has wonderful flavor but is definitely undercooked, and later provides much...scent.

We crawl into the tiny bed in the back of our trailer. I've got the side that the flat-screen tv is laying on (to keep it safe while we move) so I'm pretty cramped. (Quantum had that side last time.) The puppy and the cat pile on too, with the puppy crowding for the majority of the space. Amazingly enough, they sleep within inches, ignoring each other all night.

Somewhere in the middle of the night I wake up and realize why the beans and rice took so long to cook - the altitude. Argh. I'm going to have to adjust my cooking time expectations.

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