Sunday, August 24, 2008

Road Trip: Part 1

When I left you on Wednesday morning I was feeling a bit hung over from a night without sleep but made it through a drive to Seattle and then on to Cheney, in eastern Washington, on only a half an hour nap. I had spent the previous night with scraps of paper spread before me, glue sticking to my fingers, and, when my mind got too worn out for that project, taking the stairs up to my mom’s office where my suitcase contents were spread across the floor and sorting through them to make a small pile of necessities to put in a suitcase to take to Texas. Every nook and cranny of that baggage was filled to a hefty sixty pounds, and finally around six o’clock in the morning my scrap pile had shrunk and thanks to the help of scissors, glue, markers, thread, and needle, I had the semblance of a story about Japanese cuisine.

Fast forward to eleven o’clock that night and my eyelids sagged irresistibly shut on a travel-size pillow, nestled in the top of a sleeping bag on a new friend’s futon in Cheney.

…did I mention that I decided to accompany two strangers on a road trip to Texas? I don’t think I did, but now you know. I opted to save a couple bucks and joined a guy a barely knew along with a female friend of his, who I had never met, to reach a common goal. As I weighed the options of buying a plane ticket and making my journey across country short and sweet (or at least shorter), my curiosity won out, and I hopped on board this mystery trip, at least counting on a good story to tell...

So, three of us set out from Cheney the next afternoon with sandwich fixings, trail mix, homemade molasses cookies, and enough luggage to keep the person in the back seat comfortably squished for seventeen hours. Our all-night route took us through Idaho, into Montana, back down through Idaho and Utah, and into the southwest corner of Colorado.

I assumed my shift at the wheel around 2 o’clock in the morning, winding along a dark highway and only able to imagine what was beyond the reaches of my headlights, here and there making out silhouettes of rocky hills as we rumbled by.

Before sunrise I traded positions again, and a few hours later our driver veered off to the side of the road, waking the other two of us from a restless sleep, and leaving me quite delirious until I leaned across the driver’s seat and my eyes followed his path up a steep salmon colored rock. The rock continued to gradually rise until on top I saw a majestic arch encircling a patch of blue sky.

As soon as I was awake enough to find my camera, I followed my fellow travelers, and slipping off my sandals, walked up the rock’s surface and through its fine orange sand, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the gentle feeling of the sun, tempered by a cool morning breeze. I took a few pictures, but mainly turned around and around, allowing my eyes to take in the surrounding vista.

From there we all remained awake as we passed through the rest of Utah and into the southwest corner of Colorado, munching on granola bars and dried fruit for breakfast.

Our next stop was Mesa Verde National Park.

1 comment:

GrantJM said...

Mesa Verde was a VERY memorable highlight of a family trip I took as a kid. My folks loved stopping there, probably more to let me out of the car to run and climb, so I'd sleep for awhile, and let everyone alone ;o