As I’m writing this, Backcountry Magazine Editor-In-Chief Adam Howard is on the phone with former presidential candidate and daily skier out of Taos Gary Johnson, who is a guest on Fox News’ Alan Colmes’ live radio show. It’s 6:40 p.m. Rocky Mountain Time, which means it’s almost nine in Vermont, where we started this junkshow two days ago. The time isn’t important, but the Vermont part is, because my two co-pilots, Howie and Bubba, are life-long Vermont good ol’ boys. Which means that, when we drove our Dodge 2500 Diesel and 14-foot trailer through light Chicago traffic, panic set in.
Howie tried a few hasty lane changes preempted by dodgy glances over his shoulder before two backseat drivers dissuaded him. “Fucks” were shouted, with a few “Christs” thrown in for good measure. All of this happened immediately after a prior panic attack brought on by a run-in with a pre-pay tollbooth that started before we even read the instructions on the ticket dispenser.
Our truck is wrapped in wicked Backcountry Magazine decals, including one on the back window of the topper. It was that Backcountry sticker that Bubba kept glancing at in the rearview mirror before asking, entirely seriously, “Did you guys ever notice that Backcountry has the word cock in it?” Howie and I squinted back through the partition at the four-foot sticker on the topper, spelling Backcountry back in our heads. It didn’t, we decided, have the word cock in the proper spelling, but the sticker did. I stopped smoking cigarettes a month ago, but I started again at a gas station shortly thereafter.
The whole reason Howie decided to call up Gary was because when Alan Colmes asked him if he would run for president in 2016. Gary said, “Probably not, because I ski everyday.” He doesn’t smoke weed, but he advocates for it on a political level. The connective tissue there is that we’re in Colorado, where ganga is newly legal, and we’re headed to the mountains to do a bunch of skiing. So naturally, Howard and Johnson strike up a weed conversation with a bit of skiing thrown in, and somehow the Fox News headquarters doesn’t implode.
Howie just invited Johnson to go skiing, and he actually sounds kind of into it. Someone brings up heli skiing, then the premise of our magazine, all of which leads Johnson to describe himself as more of a “hiking skier myself.” He says that spending a bunch of cash to access the same terrain by helicopter that you can by foot isn’t worth it. I found this to be awesome. Last year, Johnson skied Tucks, which is also awesome.
I’d like to end this Basecamp entry with some nugget of insight, like all good notes should. But there isn’t really one…other than that driving across the country will always result in relative mayhem.