13 March 2007

Merrily we roll along

Points of interest these last few days:

1. Turns out our drive out of Denver Saturday will not be the most eventful of this trip. The drive from Glenwood Springs to Durango on Sunday was a lot more thrilling and immensely more terrifying. We drove through three separate mountain passes, each one over ten thousand feet. The roads snake all over the place. Guard rails which would keep a car from going off a cliff pretty much don't exist, and I've never seen so much snow clinging to things or bubbling off the slopes. I see how avalanches happen now. Kristen is not fond of heights and had I known how intense the drive was I would have found a different route. She did well not to come completely undone, bless her, because if I had a problem with heights and I would have died about halfway up the first pass. She fell asleep after the second one (at first I thought she passed out) and missed the highest of them all. My fingers still hurt from gripping the steering wheel.

It was the most exhilarating car ride of my life. It was also the scariest. There were times I had to remember to breathe. Some will say that I am exaggerating this for effect. I assure you I am not. There's no way I am ever doing that again.

2. I have now been pulled over twice for speeding and only been warned both times. Today's adventure was in the middle of nowhere and I have no idea how fast I was going. There wasn't a shoulder on this road so I had to pull over into a field in the desert, which I am sure did wonders for the underside of the car, but I have no one to blame for myself. I thought I was going to get a ticket for sure. The Arizona trooper refuted almost every answer I gave to his questions and then went off on an odd ramble about how there "are a lot of drunks on this road, even drunks lying in the road." O-K. When he came back from writing me up he told me to slow down and then suggested to Kristen that she "nag" me into driving slower. In his words "the nagging will be worse than any ticket I could give you."

Arizona: perpetuating gender stereotypes since 1912! I set the cruise control for 68 and it felt like we crawled the rest of the way to Flagstaff. I got passed by grandpas, school buses and a horses' ass (literally, as that was the side of said animal in the back of the trailer facing me as it went by).

3. Flagstaff, Arizona has the strangest street lighting I've ever seen. Nothing higher than twenty feet off the ground is illuminated. It's like there is a lid over this town. I figured out why just a few minutes ago: Lowell Observatory. You can't see much of the night sky if you are polluting it with light. You can walk out into the middle of the busiest street here and see more stars in the sky than anywhere within thirty miles from downtown Chicago (not over the lake). It makes for a creepy nighttime experience here, but I like it. I am going to try to get to the observatory tomorrow night.

We'll be here for the next two nights and then it's off to Santa Fe. I don't think I am going to handle being back in the plains well at all.

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