Zagy and I have been engaged in an ongoing argument about the merits of spontaneity versus planning. Zagy advocates for a spontaneous approach which, applied to the context we find ourselves in, means driving with no specific destination and hoping to find a campsite by chance, or otherwise sleep on the roadside. I advocate for planning which, also applied to said context, means stopping at a Starbucks or McDonalds for free wi-fi, searching the area for formal and informal campsites, and then calling information centers to get directions, discover availabilities, and make reservations.

Both Zagy and I are very persistent in our approaches, and ceaseless in our arguments. We find ourselves constantly compromising, not from cooperating, but from winning and losing small rhetorical battles. As a result, the progress of our road trip is guided by both a spontaneous spirit and active foresight (though not always accurate). While it would seem that this blend of trusting fate and careful step taking would work to our benefit, our current situation proves that sometimes compromise is not always a good thing (but no nods to Ayn Rand here). Both spontaneity and planning have their disadvantages, and our constant bickering has cherry picked these disadvantages to provide us with the campsite where we now find ourselves pitching a tent (and in Zagy’s case, hanging his hammock from the roof rack).

If you zoom out, our location is superb: the buzzing town of Estes Park, Colorado, sitting at the foot of the Rockies, and full of local shops and treasures, bubbling creeks, giant boulders, and herds of elk. If you zoom in a different scene is depicted: the KOA Kampground of Estes/Drake, a gravel clearing, a decrepit lean-to, bordered by route 34 and downwind from a horse ranch. The benefits are plenty: private showers, clean water, cookstoves and free wi-fi, but our campground here is far from the idyllic site 14 off of West Magnolia Rd. that we slept in last night, where the soundscape was composed of chirping crickets, whittling woodpeckers, and the tribal drummers of site 5.

How did we end up here? Zagy’s spontaneity had us leaving Connecticut a day early, and then driving through the night the next day to Boulder. Thus, we had two extra days to burn before our check-in time at Yellowstone, and negative one days to be able to reserve any nice campsite we became attracted to in Colorado. After three rainy days in Boulder, we decided to see somewhere else. Though I had little notice, my planning instinct nonetheless took hold, and I tried to spontaneously plan our stay near Rocky Mountain National Park. I found dozens of campgrounds in the area, either free or inexpensive, and we embarked to Estes Park with a confidence that we could easily find a place to stay. This was not so, as everything was either booked, un-reservable, or un-findable. Thanks to the help of a Rockies YMCA employee, we found our current site and shelled out the big bucks for it (granted, it’s not that expensive). Thus, we find ourselves having been shafted by the immediacy of spontaneity and the unbacked confidence of incompetent planning.

Possibilities for tomorrow: a hike up the rockies, a cold swim in Lake Estes, Zagy going to Epic Climbing Gym across the street, and a leisurely tour of the town of Estes Park. By the night of the 10th, we’ll be in Bozeman, Montana at Yellowstone Park. On the 11th, we’ll be surfing the rapids of Fire Hole Canyon Drive (if we can find it). By the 13th we’ll be at the Hoover Dam, and then soon situated in smoggy Los Angeles.

Other fun facts:

-It’s cold and rainy.

-Cold beans are awful.

-We drove past a man at a road construction site asleep at a traffic barrel, holding a stop/slow sign and supposedly directing traffic.

-Baz punched me in the face when I gave Nani a look that was supposed to say nice nose ring.

-Zagy got married.

-Theresa just woke up.

-Boulder has an awesome kite store.

-We went to The Spot and found out where the griever hole is.

Our new sidecar.

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20 Responses to Planteneity

  1. Ben's nervous mother says:

    Get off the rock!

    But, really, I love planteneity….I can’t believe campsites have wi fi.

    Do you want us to ship you some warm beans?

    • By rock, did you mean the rock in the ground? And so by saying ‘get off the rock,’ you mean we should get get off the ground, right? Well, there aren’t too many trees here, so the only way to get off the ground is to climb up rocks. Okay, good advice, off I go!

      It’s pretty much this campsite that has wi-fi. It’s been common for some time for camps to have electrical hook-ups, why not the Wi? It’s also a chain campground, and this is one of their attractions. Remember, right now we’re not really in the wilderness.

      Unfortunately, you can’t ship us warm beans.


  2. Spack89 says:

    Into the wind is an awesome store! I am so glad you guys found it, if it is in fact the same awesome kite store. Also my Grandmother lives about a five minute walk from there…
    This trip sounds so awesome. I just wish I could cook you guys something better than cold beans. Unfortunately I’ve been in K-16 in 120 degree heat cooking 300-500 covers in 3 hours, but no longer! I am coming home tomorrow and it will be great to see you uys when you get back.

    • Yep, it was into the wind! The ceiling is covered in kites! So awesome. Zagy and I picked up some ultra-star discs there for cheap. Wow at cooking…will be great to see you as well when we get back, and we can make some bread together. Have you found your externship?

      • Spack89 says:

        I have not yet, but I have a stage tomorrow and one on Wednesday. Hopefully that will turn into something.

  3. pat hamilton says:

    Well, It is good to hear that you are having such a good time debating the pros and cons of all of your planned and unplanned decisions. It seems to me that you have had many years of good debating, which means that you are both very skilled at putting forth the merits of your point of view. I love the pictures. Zagy, you look quite comfortable in your hammock – But how do you get out of that thing? I guess your rock climbing skills may come in handy. Yellowstone will be wonderful. I was there many years ago. The weather changes as you drive around from one side of the mountains to the other. Be careful of the bears, they may eat the cold beans, and then what will you eat?

    OK, keep the blogs coming, they are wonderful.

    Love to all,


  4. Irle says:

    Zagy, How comfortable was the hammock attached to the car?
    Sere and I thank you for tracjing down Steve Young.
    How did you get his tweet?


    • Yes, I was very comfortable, got 5 hours of sleep, more than any other night. -Zagy

      Irle, I checked out the peoplemaking website and it showed that they were doing a workshop in New Mexico this week. -Ben

  5. Spack-girl says:

    wait zagy got married??????? someone please explain!!!

  6. pat hamilton says:

    this blog is really fun. How did all of the adventures go today?

  7. Coop says:

    What! Zagy got married?

    Nice hammock btw

  8. Wow. i get busy for a few days and you guys are way, way ahead of my expectations. i am with spack-girl—Married??? Baz remembered how to punch people in the nose? He hasn’t done it to me since he was four.

    The climbing is very impressive, Zaggy and Ben. Especially since I have been following my mom around and she is recovering from a broken leg. Very different experience.

    The mountains are wonderful. Thanks for the pics.

    Don’t feed the bears. Enough said about the food. You know I would want more than beans-cold or otherwise.

    Thanks, again,

  9. janet yassen says:

    how come my witty replies don’t appear…is there a secret censor monster that edits my remarks? looking forward to yellowstone and redrock adventures….and they whatever other colors appear.
    miss you all…

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