Sunday, September 11, 2005

Spent some time this evening making phone calls from Mountainside. Chatted with Dave-o, who's doing fine, and found out that high school classmate Stacy Heuer spent last Sunday night at the Estes Park Campground just down the road from the Y but couldn't get a hold of me.

Chatted with the parents, too. Mom scolded me for leaving everyone in suspence regarding my Park Service story. I'd wanted to tell them before I'd posted it, but didn't get the chance tonight. So without any further ado....

David's last Friday of work as host was at Friendship Lodge, where the family reunion that was checking out brought him about a case worth of beer that they couldn't take back with them. He gladly accepted it.

Unfortunately employees are not allowed to have alcohol on grounds, so we had to enjoy it elsewhere. The first site, Pole Hill in the National Forest is nixed by Christine, who suggests we go to the Alluvial Fan where we could also view the meteor shower. Christine never comes with us.

David invites Matt and a couple Slovaks he worked with, who in turn at the last minute invite a couple other internationals. There are twelve of us total so we take three cars, one of which is mine, and drive into the Park about 9PM.

It's not until the internationals have cracked open the beer and started drinking that I learn that they're underage. I make it a point not to supply minors with alcohol, and now I am in a National Park with six of them drinking. Oh good, I think, this is going well.

An hour later headlights pull up to the picnic area, and I'm not surprised when the floods come on. The park ranger asks to see everyone's identification, and of course the internationals don't have any with them.

As the ranger calls for backup, he separates us into different groups: drivers, underage, with IDs, without IDs. Then the dispatcher radios him with information on the licence plates of the three cars: two check out; the one from Iowa is expired. Whoops.

When the second ranger arrives he wants the drivers to perform a simple sobriety test. I am first. Follow a pen as he moves it around. I'd had one beer the hour before, I tell him. This would not be a problem.

The ranger moves me directly in front of the glaring floodlights, and with he and his pen now in shadows, asks me to remove my glasses. Uh....

"I have a lazy eye, if that makes a difference," I say. And I can't see without my glasses. "That's okay," he replies, starting to move the pen around. I do my best, but when he stops, he frowns. "Sir, your eyes show signs of intoxication. We're going to need you to perform a breathalyzer test."

Sure, why not. This being my first breathalyzer test, the rangers explain the process, and I blow a .01. "What's the limit in Colorado? .08?" one asks the other, "I guess you're okay to drive." Should I wear my glasses?

After pen-testing the other drivers, giving a verbal warning to the underage internationals, lecturing us about supplying minors with alcohol, and confiscating the remaining beer, the rangers sent us on our way.

There, wasn't that worth waiting for?