February 4, 2008
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that was all fired up to get a head start on Valentine’s Day by recounting some woeful tales of unrequited love. So in order to properly celebrate (and we’re happy to say that we have someone we’re feeling quite Valentine-ish about), we started out by doing some research about this most chocolate-y of holidays, learning that Valentine’s Day first became associated with romantic love back in the day’s of Chaucer, one of our favorite scribes. We think, by the way, that Chaucer would have appreciated Summit Up for its value as a chronicle of day-to-day life, based on our admittedly limited readings of his works.But as we recall from perusing “The Canterbury Tales” some time ago, those somewhat zany and whimsical stories told from the viewpoint of fictional medieval pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral fit the SU mold of narrative story telling, and we are proud (without being presumptious) to follow in that distinguished literary tradition. And if there are any Chaucer scholars out there who wish to take issue, we say, “Bring it on!”But that’s neither here nor there. What is important is to recognize that Valentine’s Day is tied to the idea of courtly love, which is to say an ennobling version of the kitschy, Hallmark concept of what it means to cherish and care for another person. We’re pretty sure this means digging deep and finding some real moral and ethical roots in those feelings of affection, reflecting respect, honor and commitment. So keep that in mind, guys and gals, as you make your plans for this special day.You can see how this all got a bit heavy, and we decided that it wouldn’t be fair to kill anyone’s Valentine’s buzz at this early stage. So we’ve turned our attention instead to the search for the perfect Bloody Mary, along with a few random thoughts on hard-to-open dog food bags.Come to think of it, our Bloody Mary ruminations also have a Chaucer-esque flavor, given that we’ve spent the better part of several road trips in recent months in search of the perfect version of this refreshing libation. We hasten to add that we don’t condone or endorse drinking and driving in any way, shape or form, and when we have a Bloody Mary during a trip, we always wait the appropriate amount of time before plopping down behind the steering wheel again.For starters, we’ll send out some props to the Floradora Saloon in Telluride, where we enjoyed a terrific Bloody, along with some mussels and fries last summer while exploring the great Southwest on a fabulous, fun-filled journey with the best road trip companion ever. It was on this same trip that the concept of a pure Bloody Mary road trip was born. Since then, we’ve kept our eyes open for promising-looking roadside spots, dive bars, taverns and other joints with potential. The only rule is that you can’t deviate from the main route. We did find one spot in downtown Gunnison that seemed to be a haven for college students, where the barkeeper took great pride in his concoctions. Unfortunately, we can’t remember the name of the place, but we will say that they had a great shuffleboard deck. The “main road” rule caused some problems during a recent trek to New Mexico, when it took more than 600 miles until we veered of at the South Park Saloon in Alma, where Sean served up a tasty one, complete with spicy pepperoncini. And not to forget Kate’s Bloody bar at Copper, where you can sip a Bloody with ski boots on.So we know there are many variations to this recipe and we’re interested to hear what our readers think about this subject. Celery or pickles? Both? Horeseradish, good or bad? Olives? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your favorite recipe.***We out, collecting Mardi Gras beads! E-mail us at email@example.com.