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Rabbit Ears

Started: 2005-03-19 16:44:48

Submitted: 2005-03-19 18:39:13

Visibility: World-readable

I'm sitting in a little one-bedroom condo in Steamboat Springs with six other people: my parents, Willy, Bethany, Bethany's boyfriend Josh, and Gem. That makes for seven total, which is a bit crowded. We've managed to fit by cramming stuff in corners and in our cars where appropriate, although not by a large margin.

I left work at 1230 yesterday after working a whole four hours. I met Kiesa in Louisville, where we parked Yoda at the Superior Park-and-Ride (we elected to take Lyta since she was a heavier car and had studded snow tires, which we thought would be useful for driving into the snowy Rocky Mountains), ate lunch at Noodles, and headed out towards Steamboat. I made a minor miscalculation in my route planning (I took US-36 to Boulder to Table Mesa to Colorado 93 to Golden; I should have headed south from Superior and then headed west to Colorado 93); we survived and headed west on I-70 into the Rocky Mountains. I checked the road conditions every hour during the morning and saw that a storm had blown through, closing Loveland Pass and requiring chains on commercial vehicles traveling through the Eisenhower Tunnel and over Rabbit Ears Pass. The conditions improved as the day progressed; Loveland Pass opened by 0900 and the worst conditions we saw going up to or coming down from the Eisenhower Tunnel was a little wetness on the road. We turned off I-70 in Silverthorne and headed north on Colorado 9 along the x river and Green Mountain Reservoir. In Kremling we joined US 40, which took us north to Muddy Creek Pass, where we crossed briefly over the Continental Divide and headed west, across Rabbit Ears Pass, our last pass before Steamboat Springs. By the time we got there, the pass was only slightly slushy.

We pulled into Steamboat Springs at 1630, three hours after we left Louisville. Yahoo! Maps claimed the journey would take something on the order of five hours. We found the condo and my parents without much trouble (although Kiesa read the wrong directions first), unloaded our stuff into the condo, and reloaded the car with our empty suitcases to leave more room for others. I broke out my camcorder and amused myself for a few minutes. (This footage may or may not ever see the light of day. I generally refuse to show off unedited footage, which (I assert) puts me at a much higher level of existence than many other camcorder owners.)

Bethany, Willy, and Josh showed up and we tried to figure out how to fit ourselves into the condo designed for half our number. Kiesa encouraged me to plug in the DVD player we brought. (The condo advertised a VCR and "a large selection of children's videos", which we thought was inadequate. We brought our DVD player, a small subset of our DVD collection, and DVDs from Netflix and Weld Library District that we thought might be worthwhile to bring.) I flipped the TV around and was appalled to learn that it only had a coax RF input. My first instinct would be to plug the DVD player into the VCR's RCA inputs, but that wouldn't work because of Macrovision copy protection, which is apparently supposed to be a "feature". I announced the problem and proposed a solution: buy an RF modulator at Radio Shack for US$25. Although sundown was quickly approaching (loyal readers who grew up Adventist will recall that Adventists typically attempt to avoid engaging in commerce between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday), Kiesa asked if there were in fact a Radio Shack in town. I checked the phone book (which had I previously located on the counter) and located a Radio Shack not far from our condo. Kiesa, Willy, and I set out on an acquisition mission as the setting sun cast pink light on the silent slopes of Steamboat ski resort.

It took a bit longer to locate Radio Shack than optimal; US 40 took us around the shopping center I identified as containing the consumer-grade electronics store; had I known what I was doing I could have taken a more direct course. We found the store and discovered that it had closed fifteen minutes prior at 1800. Radio Shack closed at 1600 tomorrow, well before it would be considered appropriate to engage in commerce, and wasn't open on Sunday. Since Kiesa and I will be heading back home Monday evening, that wouldn't work for us.

Undaunted, I consulted the phone book I had the foresight to bring along and found Alpine Electronics, which seemed that it could supply what I wanted. I called the number listed and started by asking if they were open and how much longer they would be open. "A little while longer," was the response. I asked if they had an RF modulator and she said yes. I asked how long they would be open and she asked, "How soon can you get here?" I got directions (although I was a little confused when she said I should go west on US 40 when I knew US 40 went north through Steamboat; I later realized that US 40's official direction was in fact west) and headed into downtown Steamboat Springs. I located the store on the corner of Lincoln an Eighth and looped around the block to find parking. We entered the store, which seemed very much like a Radio Shack and featured a massive plasma television in the front of the small store. I located the RF modulator we wanted and was pleased to see that it was in fact cheaper than I anticipated at US$20. I decided to buy a one-meter coax cable as well; I knew we had a coax cable plugged between the TV and VCR but I also knew that if we counted on using the cable we'd end up screwed.

For supper, we ate my mother's standard Friday night dinner: tacos. We managed to avoid delving too deeply into politics, which was probably appropriate, given our political divisions. (I made the mistake of letting my mother ask me about my position on gay marriage when she visited in February. Let's just say that we differ on what "equal protection under the law" should mean.)

Sleeping was interesting. My parents got the bedroom, leaving the rest of us to fight for the two queen-sized futons in the living room. I picked the one with the thicker padding, which left Bethany on the other futon, Willy on my twin air mattress and Josh on the floor.

More excitement occurred this weekend, but I'm being called off to the kitchen. I may or may not return with more details.