Fun and Games–Five Ways I Play

The Jack Saloon
Graves Creek, Montana

In a comment to my most recent post, Treicia says “I have traveled, met famous people, seen wonderful sites, I have worked hard , but never really learned to play . So what has been your dreams to find that childhood joy?” What a good question. Today’s post will attempt to answer it with five ways I play. It’s all about fun and games.

Road Trips–Fun and Games 1

Getting out on the road has always brought me pleasure.  The more so if I leave the interstates and drive the back roads.  In 2007, I took my 6,000 Mile Sunday Drive.  I wrote that trip up in twenty blog posts between September and December.  In the final post, I wrote “If I can find a way to make such trips pay for themselves, I could happily spend six months a year on the road.”  I haven’t yet found a way to pay for such extensive trips, but I can still dream.  Since 2007, I’ve taken three more “Sunday Drives,” each adding several thousand miles to my car’s odometer.  I’ve driven through Tennessee in the aftermath of a hurricane.  I’ve even seen the oil well in front of the Oklahoma State Capitol.  

But a road trip doesn’t have to cover several states and thousands of miles.  On my most recent jaunt, I headed to Lolo Hot Springs to get photos for my next writing assignment.  Instead of retracing my route on the way home, I left U.S. Highway 12 at Graves Creek. From there, I drove up and over the saddle to Petty Creek and Alberton where I caught I-90 for home.  The Graves Creek road is dirt, and doesn’t have a lot of traffic.  Well, not after you pass the Jack Saloon shown above.  And don’t take away the wrong message.  I do not go to bars for fun.  But the Jack is a fascinating place, offering live music and great burgers to anyone willing to get off the beaten path.  At least that’s the way it used to be.  This trip, I stopped only to take the photo.

Photography–Fun and Games 2

Anyone reading my blogs knows that photography plays a major role in my life. To be sure, I have a closet full of film, slides and prints from pre-digital days. Lightroom tells me that I have stored 85,111 digital images on my hard drive. Certainly one of the advantages of a road trip is the opportunity to see new places, new landscapes, new vistas and photograph them. Even when the vista isn’t new, the scene may well be. In the photo of the Jack, note the sky. We have been living with smoke from the fires raging throughout the West. There is a fire less than fifty miles from the saloon. If you love photography, get in the habit of never leaving home without your camera. And even at home, what on earth is that cat up to? Guess I need to shoot her–with my Nikon.

Gabby on the Deck Railing

Cars–Fun and Games 3

As a child, I played with cars. I still have many of the toy cars I played with sixty plus years ago. (I was never a destructive child.) Momma used to complain about the money I spent to buy AMT models. “Someday you’ll want a real car and you’ll need that money.” Well, Momma, the $1.50 I spent to buy the kit won’t go very far toward buying a car. (Check the link to see how much the models cost today.) In my life, I’ve driven many different cars, and owned more than a few. Unfortunately, I don’t have the mechanical knowledge to really work on my cars. But owning a Triumph has forced me to learn some skills. And when I’m not driving one of my cars, I love visiting car shows. Wow, three fun and games experiences at once: road trip, photography, cars. What could be better?

My Triumph TR7 at a Mission Valley Cruisers Gig

Playing with the Wind–Fun and Games 4

The jacket I wear most often has a fancy design embroidered on the back. “Catch the Wind” it says–advertising for an Oregon kite shop. I won’t tell you how much money I have spent on kites, but Momma would not be amused. There’s nothing quite like standing on an Oregon beach, string in hand, and watching your kite soaring. The song from Mary Poppins is now going through my head. But the best thing about kite flying, is that you don’t have to go to Oregon. Anywhere you have wind and a clearing, you can fly a kite.

Kites are not the only way I play with the wind. In my toy bag are an O’Brien wind surfer, and a 14 foot sloop-rigged day sailer (a small sailboat). In Mexico, I even went parasailing. High over the Bay of Banderas, I felt as if I would slip out of my harness. It was a bit uncomfortable, but oh the views. And yes, I had my camera in hand. How else am I to get an aerial shot of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Somehow, when you’re playing with the wind, cares just drift off, blow away as it were.

Reading–Fun and Games 5

There are other things I do for fun, but when I really need to get away, and travel isn’t a possibility, I open a book. Why? I’ve talked about my own personal library a lot. I’ve talked about deciding that loving to read and studying literature are antithetical pursuits. I have left reviews for many of the books I’ve read, and even have a web page dedicated to my current reading list. (That list is way out of date, if you go look.) Reading was my first love, my enduring love, the one love that has never let me down. In a future post, I’ll write about the five books I would want on a desert island. But that’s enough for now.


So, Treicia, does that answer your question? Even in a pandemic I can find ways to have fun. And even if I don’t have money to put gas in the car, even if I can’t get out of the house, I find ways to amuse myself. Even then I find ways to rekindle a sense of child-like wonder. Thanks for asking, and everyone, please, if you enjoyed this post (or even if you didn’t), leave me a comment or two. Let me know what you’d like me to address.

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