Sheridan was lovely indeed!
I drove over Saturday morning, my poor little car groaning in second gear all the way up --and down-- the Bighorns. By the time I got to green little Dayton my Nikki was ready to be put in a garage, but she managed until we got to Sheridan. Then a kid ran a stop sign just as I was about to turn onto the right street so my brakes are probably shot. My nerves were shot for a good ten minutes, but after pacing around the car several times in front of Loren's parents' house I was okay. Walk it off, woman, rise above it...
Loren is looking slender but damn good, and I love the little mini-mohawk he has. I felt shy at first, but it was more a lingering sadness and tiredness from the day before; Friday was my Derek's birthday and it was the first without him.
After lunch with Loren's family and friends it came down to just his mother, brother and me. Loren, his brother Derek and I headed out to the Tongue River, north-west of Sheridan. We went up into a little canyon outside of Dayton and swam in a sweet little spot above a foot bridge, complete with a diving rock.
Since I hadn't jumped into a river for a good eight years it took me five minutes to convince my legs to unlock, but I managed to jump it twice. (At the American River it was a safe thing to have a healthy fear of the current; the river looked deceptively calm but could pull you down by the ankles without notice and keep you there.) I enjoyed the baptism, even as I swallowed water trying to pull up my top. I didn't wear a real swim suit, but a sports bra and shorts, so the trout got a free show. ...In all actuality if it were just Loren and Derek I'd not have qualms about getting to shore before concerning myself with my bosoms, but as there were some down-home boys on the bank swigging Captain Morgan's and Dr. Pepper I thought I'd play prudent. Loren was smirking at me by the time I got to the sand bar but also looked heroically poised, ready to rescue me in my floundering. After that we chilled and smoked clove cigarettes, just enjoying the perfect day.
(Shush. I actually swim very well, but when one's hands are full of one's... tracts of land... one has to just tread water for a moment.)
As we were getting ready to go back I was hoofing Loren's camera and pack while he and Derek swam to the foot bridge. I forgot his damn sun glasses back at the little cove, so I had to go back and deal with the small-town fry. One of the yokels asked me if Loren were my boyfriend. When I answered the negative he invited me out for a beer in the park that night. I gave the universal euphamism for "sod off," by saying I'd think about it before I sheepishly joined Loren and Derek on the bridge, where they were standing looking breathy and sleek and cutely boyish and manly studly all at once. Loren divined that I forgot his "sunnies" and cheekily grinned as he put them back on.
I ended up eating two hamburgers in the course of the weekend-- my stomach is furious with me-- and Loren and I nearly got int a car accident when some dumb bint decided to three-point turn seventy-five yards in front of us. Rather than being scared I got furious and protective because Loren was in the truck, and he got furious and protective because I was there. Luckily he has the reflexes of a fox and a cat all in one and we were in no real danger. But DAMN.
Loren gave an amazing slide show of his travels, and the wander-bug bit me soundly in the ass. I really need to visit him this next year. I do. I do. I do.
He gave me some bottles from his travels, one with an amazing graphic from Thailand, and another with a commie-red label from North Korea. I have to say that despite the cool elephants I like the one from North Korea the best, just because it's so... forbidden. The elephants make me smile, so they'll be coming to Missoula with me.
Here are some photos from Sheridan, with some of the fair in for good measure: Adventures in Wyo