Days 6, 7, and 8 . . . and Beyond

In answer to one commenter’s query:  Yes.  We have ARRIVED.

I’ll give you a quick run-down of our last three days on the road, and you can see a brief photo-log here (be sure to scroll down, as Picasa seems to dislike my photos), then I’ll talk a bit about what’s happened since we arrived in the village of Emporia, KS last Monday.

Our breakdown at the lake did, indeed, turn out to be our only car difficulty (yay!), and Day Six was an amazing trek southward toward the Canyonlands.  Driving out of Ogden, Utah, we were greeted by the kind of rainstorm you rarely see in the Pacific Northwest — rain in pints, then quarts, then gallons, then buckets, then barrels — the wind-shield wipers barely capable of keeping up, even though they slap-slapped as fast as they could go.

The sky stayed low and cloudy when the rain let up, and we came through a pass that glowed with colors I’d never seen in the desert before — it was like driving through a Maxfield Parrish painting, but with the amazing color spread over the landscape instead of the sky.

Lightning crackled in the distance as we drove toward Green River, Utah, and I stopped at a windy side-road to do a session for a client, standing beside the van with the enormous sky changing overhead.  We stayed that night in a motel again, not wanting to brave a tent setup in the rain.

The little motel had a sump-pump that they were moving from drain to drain in their parking lot — it was THAT kind of rain — and a small family of feral cats that the manager fed outside her door.  This last thing gave our kitteh a lot of entertainment, as she sat snug inside the room and, no doubt, contemplated whether it is better to be fed and coddled but to endure the slings and arrows of cat carriers and long, forced travel in the car, or to go hungry, but run free, as a proper cat ought.

Day Seven found us heading east and south again, through Moab and the heart of a landscape that seems to defy the camera’s lens.  Oh, I took some pictures of it, but the photographs are pitiful things in comparison to the actual place — each turn in the road brought a new wonder to gawk at, a new palette to absorb, a fresh set of nooks and crannies that beckoned seductively, even as I knew that I had an intended destination for the end of the day.   Ashielah and I drooled over these possible explorations and promised ourselves that we will be back sooner than later.

We reached Durango in the early afternoon, and stopped at a local landmark which we’d been viewing since last Winter via a local “weathercam” to snap a picture of our travel-tousled selves and “Mr. Rosales” (the stuffed monkey that my friend LoRo insisted must come along for the ride back to Kansas).  Here . . . I think this is a case where one picture really does equal a thousand words:

That day, we explored a bit of Durango (and were slightly bemused when we stopped at a small park to try to get a better internet connection and looked up to see that we were parked under a “DEAD END” sign . . . hmmmmmm), then the nearby town of Bayfield, and finally pulled into a late afternoon camping spot that was WAY too close to the highway, and experienced our first night in the tent with temperatures under 30 degrees.  We slept very comfy and cozy, but I will confess that rising out of our sleeping bag/comforter nest the next morning was a bit challenging.

Day Seven, we stopped in Pagosa Springs for pastry and coffee, and continued east over Wolf Creek Pass to the Great Sand Dunes National Park (check out the pics linked in the first paragraph), where we camped again (this night, it got down to 26 degrees — again, we were cozy and comfy in bed, but the tent was frost-limned when we got up next morning).

At Great Sand Dunes, I nursed a hesitant fire for some hours in the darkness, marveled at the stars, and we had our one and only kitty-escape act the following morning, when Sovereign made a run for it when a tent zipper was opened for an instant.  At 8800 feet, I was already feeling a bit out of breath, and her escape gave me an adrenal rush that meant that I didn’t need caffeine that morning — I was imagining us, still there three days later, waiting for her to get hungry enough to come back to the tent — but thankfully, she allowed herself to be “caught” with relative ease, and we watched her like hawks the rest of the way.

Day Eight was our longest drive of the trip — ten hours from Sand Dunes to Emporia, Kansas, where we’ve been since 10/16.  We pulled in after midnight, and were grateful that the cat seemed to sense immediately that we were, in some way, “home” — or at least settled for a time.

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about what’s transpired since we arrived here.  We definitely have the sense that the journey is ongoing, and my experience of ease with not knowing what’s next in any specific way is incredibly liberating.

I think I’m getting the hang of this “Adventure” thing.

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