Day 3 – Colorado and Utah

18 Apr

Finally, something to look at!

While driving through Nebraska, I wished for anything besides cows and these strange mangrove type trees that twisted themselves into dark, ominous looking forests by the south side of I-80. And while memories of Nebraska haunted me in the morning, I woke up, bleary eyed, excited to start my Colorado adventure.

Instead I awoke to this…

That, my good friends, is Denver, Colorado. In the background you’re supposed to see a gleaming stretch of beautiful, never ending snow topped mountains, glittering in the sunlight. Not only was it cloudy, but I was caught in morning rush hour traffic.

It was about this time that I had another “WTF” moment. Who ever guessed that I’d be sitting in rush hour traffic, waiting to drive through the mountains on a cloudy day?

The woman at the Best Western told me to be careful driving through the mountains. In addition to the clouds there was also the news report that there had been some fallen rock on the highway…

Rocks? Rocks that fall on the highway? Wonderful…

So, I started off on my journey, nervous. Not entirely sure of what lay ahead on the road in front of me. After a few moments of stressing out about it, I came to discover that this peril was kind of the point to the whole trip.

Sometimes adventures aren’t actually adventures when you’re in the midst of them. In fact most times, adventures are only adventures after the fact.

So I drove on, excited for what would befall on this trip into higher altitudes.

At first, I felt as though I was driving into some fantasy world. That may exhausted little hatchback with somehow magically transform into a horse, as I would emerge from the clouds, into the light above. I weaved through mountain roads, steeply graded hills curved around the sides of grassy hills. There were houses tucked away from the world up here, gargantuan in stature. I imagined that the super-rich hid themselves away up here in their own little fantasy world.

Traffic flowed smoothly in a loosely packed crowd, but with every exit the pack of cars thinned, and thinned, until it was just me, blazing through my own private wilderness.

The clouds broke, the wind calmed, and the sunlight emerged at seven-thousand feet above sea-level.

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Everything was so unlike anything I had ever seen before. The endless blue sky, the snow covered mountains, all things that I’d only gawked at in photographs, and never with my own eyes. Somehow, for some reason I didn’t think the differences were going to be that monumental… but they were.

Photographs are great – they assist story tellers in telling their stories. But I can’t even begin to tell you how different it is to experience the stories for yourself. Actually laying eyes on this place is by far an away a thousand times more breathtaking than any photograph. This slide show really does it very little justice.

Five hours later, I was sad to be leaving Colorado, but excited to see what Utah had to offer. But, unfortunately, I had been so encapsulated by Colorado’s beautiful that I didn’t notice that I had only a quarter tank remaining as I left the state. I also failed to notice the “60 miles to next gas” sign at the last service station.

And while the first hundred or so kilometers of Utah was boring (and DESOLATE) the next several hundred kilometers took me on a trip that I would have never expected in a million years

Massive hurdles of red rock sprung up from the ground, the highway curving around them like a skier carving a trail through moguls. Canyons that left me speechless seemed to be around every corner and there was a couple moments where I had a hard time staying on the road from the amount of pictures I was taking. Imagine my devastation when my camera decided it was going to run low on batteries.

I did however manage to capture I shot of something I had heard about earlier this year.

Below and on the right you’ll see a picture of something called the Ghost Rock.

The Ghost rock is the highest point in the formation called the “San Rafael Swell” at 7,405 feet. Unlike the rest of the rock in this area, it’s stark white, having been mysteriously calcified overly the last few million years. The area is rich in diverse geology, and if you’re interested in learning more about the area, check out the wikipedia page HERE.

I took several more pictures of the area, so if you’re interested in seeing more, please CLICK HERE to take a look at an online photo gallery I’ve put together for you guys.

I was almost relieved to see Vegas as I passed through a small portion of Arizona, but checking in at Treasure Island was kind of a pain in the ass. These two Japanese business men tried talking to me in very broken English for a few moments. All I know was that they were very excited, as I could tell by their multiple declarations of the word “Sugoi!” (Which is akin to an English speaker saying “Awesome!”)

I was just happy to have a king sized bed and a large, flat panel television with my name on it as I headed into the final stretch of my journey.

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