14 June 2008

Mile 3,276/ Km 5,272 (Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado)

The last day of travel - I had to hammer it out. By now my rear hurts and I'm just ready to end the trip but somehow the miles I had left were more then I expected so I did about 800 miles in one day - most of the US portion of the trip.

Montana is a memory zone...I drove through the once small town that used to be my refuge a summer when I did field work in the eastern prairie. The camp was small, the person coordinating was temperamental, and the prairie vastness rolled on forever such that I thought sometime my soul would roll out and away and I'd never be able to reign it in again. I could understand how those prairie wives who were stuck in one place and could not travel like their menfolk might lose their minds. I spent the 4th of July in this town, alone. I attended a bluegrass festival in the local park and then camped by the river, lighting a lone sparkler by myself at twilight.

Idaho is a short portion of our drive but we are back - or is it still - in the mountains. I've spent time here too and I watch for the pronghorns and the coyotes.

We hit the heat in Utah - we forgot about heat and it was stifling. The poor Disreputable Dog was panting heavily and the rivers we stopped near for him to swim in were lukewarm and didn't cool him very much. Utah was full of more road construction then the entire rest of the journey - and I had thought it was bad in the north. I almost got lost a few times with the detours. Utah is another memory place, and the heat. I wonder now, how did I ever live in this heat - spending full days out in the sun with no refuge? I watch the prairie dogs on the roadside catching grasshoppers with fondness.

Utah Photos

In Utah bright red poppies burned through the desert gardens. We stopped at a river for a swim and at a nearby gas station I jokingly asked a guy with Washington license plates "Are we there yet?" and he said not yet, took a look at my license plate and asked whether I had ferried down. When I replied no he jabbed his finger at me an exclaimed "You guys are CRAZY". Well, I've heard that before.

Colorado Photos

Just across the Colorado border I see a semi truck rolled over and burned, emergency vehicles surrounding it. Clearly it has burned a huge swath of the median and their is less then a 3rd of the truck left. I hope that the driver is okay. I pass by the red rock country that started in Utah - the country I always yearn for in the spring with it's eons of history running through the stone - and into the grey cliffs which as a kid I used to imagine were precisely what dinosaur skin would have looked like. Of course, now we know that it would have been a lot more colorful as their relationship with birds has become more known but the texture of these cliffs still reminds me of skin. Now I'm in the home stretch and soon I am home, in the cool of the evening, the scent of my parents' garden wafting out at me. We park and end the day and the journey at mile 4,113 / km 6,619.

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