Thursday, April 10, 2008


Had breakfast at a small coffee shop in Durango Mountain Resort (aka "Purgatory") near the base of the lift. The "town" that has sprang up at the bottom of the mountain consists of rows of tacky condos, a bunch more under construction. The place will soon be a mud pit as the snow melts because of all the ground that has been disturbed during the construction. It happened to be the last day of their ski season and lift passes were only $10!

Ski slopes draw the flies
Their plastic wrapped condos rise
Rape that which they've spoiled

Never skied here before, so the first thing I did was traverse the mountain to get a sense of what it offered. Mostly groomers and a few small bump runs. Similar to Silverton, the snow was crusty/icy but because of its lower elevation and the partly cloudy skies, the snow softened to make for easy carving, if one stuck to the sunny side of the slope. Lots of fast runs!

End of the season
Condemned to Purgatory
Only way but down

I worked the north side of the mountain first and made my way back to the base area around noon where I planned to have lunch. Right near the crowded lift line something happened: my right ski detached and began flopping around attached to my boot via its leash. I fell and instantly knew I dislocated my right shoulder. It's been a long time since this happened to me, and typically it was my left shoulder. Attempts to reset it failed no matter how much I flopped the arm around (that movement really hurt!). Rather than continue trying and possibly pass out from the pain, I ditched the skis and walked down to the urgent care clinic where, after getting name, numbers and $50, they reset it fairly easily. This event effectively ended today's skiing, tomorrows skiing and possibly all skiing for the remainder of the season.

Skis off and he falls
Sharp pain and its over
Journey at an end

I left the ski area around 2PM and drove to Pagosa Springs were I soaked in a hot spring pool at a motel down along the river. Didn't do much for the shoulder. As the sun began dropping closer to the horizon I continued my drive eastward to a nice turnout a quarter mile off the highway a few miles from Wolf Creek Pass. Solitude surrounded by tall Ponderosa pines. A line of wild turkeys crossed the snow in the field nearby. Dinner of soup and bread on the trucks tailgate.
When it got sufficiently dark, out came the CD, tequila and cigar. I turned on the time machine and was transported back to Van Halen's Women and Children First World Invasion Tour, April 14, 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since my April 7, 2008 VH show in Milwaukee was cancelled, I saved this show specifically for tonight to replace the concert I was supposed to attend. 28 years ago almost to the day. Once I was stoked, it made little difference whether it was 1980 or 2008, Milwaukee or on the East Fork Road because I was just grooving on the music! They rocked the night away with their early classics, the fire still there to drive the hard hitting music. David Lee Roth even managed to sound like he was really singing. Even with the aching right shoulder, it was one of the high points of the trip

They ski with iPods
But he hears other music
Voices in his head

It's an obsession
Enters new reality
Dislocates his mind
To quote The Van Halen Encyclopedia:
"The World Invasion Tour also saw the birth of the legendary brown M&M contract rider. The band demanded M&M candies backstage with all of the brown ones removed. Only one documented case exists where the rider wasn't adhered to: the University of New Mexico Arena in Albuquerque, N.M., or the University of Colorado in Pueblo, CO. Whichever location the event occurred in, they paid dearly for their error. The band demolished their backstage dressing room causing thousands of dollars of damage."

"The rider itself was genius. Its sole purpose was to ensure that venue and promoter personnel read the entire contract before each performance, and the brown M&Ms backstage was an instant indicator they hadn't. If the venue couldn't perform a task as simple as removing a specified color of M&Ms, how could they be trusted to fulfill lighting, sound, and other technical requirements?"

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