Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Colorado Landscape, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I have been taking pictures every day since we got here. As you can imagine, I'm getting a backlog. At first I thought, I'm not going to bore everyone with tons of pictures. Then I thought...well, of course I am.

These pictures are actually from the two-day drive that I took from Phoenix to Denver. In the van: Kylie, me, and the dog, Bo. There is no way I can do this drive in one day. Mapquest says 6 1/2 hours from Phoenix to Farmington NM, and then 6 1/2 hours from Farmington to Denver. Mapquest is full of crap. Factor in the kid, and the dog, and me getting lost (it had to happen at least once), and it's more like 8 hours each day.

First, you might say, why Farmington, NM? Well, it's about halfway, and there's a cheap Motel 6. And in this case, you really get what you pay for. What I got was scary people and a mattress that felt like a piece of plywood. Kylie? She got a friend.

This is Jillian. When we first saw her, she was sitting in the grass courtyard outside of our room, by herself. Not an adult in sight. I know she looks older than Kylie, but she's actually only five. I think I might have mentioned once or twice before that Kylie is a little on the small side.

Jillian and her mother and little sister were living at the motel, because they had been living with a roommate, but Mom and the roommate got in a fight, so here they were at the motel.

Kylie wanted to play with her, so I spent quite a lot of time sitting on the sidewalk outside my room with the dog on a leash, watching the girls romp around on the grass. Finally I told Kylie that we needed to leave and go get some dinner, and then go to sleep because we had another long day of driving ahead of us. She said I could just go back in the room and watch her out the window. Um, no freaking way, kid. Jillian's mom might be ok with that, but I definitely am not.

This is why I don't worry about Kylie though. She makes friends anywhere and everywhere she goes. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be six years old again.

Ok, day two of the drive. Day two was a lot more pleasant, mainly because of the amazing scenery that I'm going to share with you. I am having horrible anxiety issues right now, so we're all going to look at the beautiful, calming scenery together.

From Farmington, NM to this point is only about 30 miles or so. I was surprised how quickly we crossed over into Colorado.

Southwestern Colorado, such as the Durango area, is green rolling hills and trees. You drive through miles and miles of ranches and farms. Horses and cows abound. To a couple of city girls, the views were spectacular.

I love green, and tiny old abandoned houses sitting in the middle of nowhere. Doesn't it look straight out of Little House on the Prairie?

I pulled off the highway onto this dirt road to take the dog for a walk. It's a public road that led to several ranches down the way. Four or five pickup trucks rattled by as we were walking the dog. Every one of the drivers waved to us and called out, "How ya doin' today?", or something similar. People were so friendly, which is puzzling to me, because it's so not what I'm used to. I honestly expected someone to yell at us to get off the road, because it was a private road or something. But no, all we got were friendly greetings.

I love little waterfalls and rushing streams. There's just something so peaceful about them.

This is about halfway up Wolf Creek Pass. At the top is the Continental Divide.

We stayed here exactly fourteen seconds. Because an elevation of 11,000 ft. makes me woozy.

I have no more pictures, but I just have to mention that this time when I got lost? Was not my fault. My Mapquest directions said to take US-285 North for 122 miles. One would assume that this means you stay on the same road. However, Mapquest mentioned nothing about the one point where 285N and 24 East are the same road for a while. So there was a turn I was supposed to make to keep going on 285N/24E, except I didn't turn. So even though I just stayed straight on the same road, suddenly I was on 24W, which I didn't realize until I was about 25 miles beyond the mistake point. Then I got a feeling I was on the wrong road when I passed a sign that said it was 15 miles to Leadville. That didn't sound right. I called Steve. He said yup, you're on the wrong road. "But Mapquest was WRONG!", I cried. "I didn't screw up this time!"

Steve is very soothing in situations like this. He never makes fun of me for getting lost, for which I am grateful. He just calmly explained that I needed to turn around and go back to the last town I passed, Buena Vista. At the second stoplight, I needed to turn left to get back on 285N.

So I turned around, went back, and got on the right road. But just like last time I made this drive with a completely different screw up, it still cost me an extra hour. Some people are born with internal GPS systems. I am not one of them.

More pictures tomorrow, I think.


Megan said...

You HAVE to go see Red Rock. It's gorgeous!! Scott and I went there with Max when he was a baby while driving home from St. Louis. It's just outside of Denver.

Dawn in Austin said...

Sounds like a great road trip! I love the pictures. I, too, am amazed at how nice people are outside of the big cities. I am always pleased to see folks wave with all their fingers, instead of just one.

Oh, and I'm one of those people with the internal GPS. In all my years, I don't think I've ever gotten lost. And that was long before MapQuest (who are indeed idiots).

Lisa said...

I love your pictures! What a change - AZ to CO!! Good luck with the new move.