Tues. Oct. 8, 2013:
A 5am wake-up is not as tragic when you have iced coffee in the fridge, cookies and candy for breakfast. We were up so early that we could see the stars, the sky was full of them, including but not limited to Orion’s Belt. There was also no one at the front desk to check us out, so Brent left a note with the key cards under the door.
I was in rough shape; my tweaked knee was still hurting. I also had to write in my book by the light of my iPod- it is no surprise that I tried to sleep as we drove. I was half-asleep when Brent yelled “oh shit!” I opened my eyes in a panic and all I saw was darkness, absolutely nothing. I panicked that we had driven off the road, only to find out that Brent had accidentally switched off the headlights while trying to turn on the high beams.
The sun was finally coming up after 2 hours of driving, I could write again! Being in the car for over 2 hours was starting to get to me, especially given that I could not stretch my legs out thanks to my tweaked knee. We were worried about being late for our 7:30am boat cruise. To make matters worse the GPS took us to a dam overlooking Lake Powell, not the resort on the lake. We finally got there, 5 minutes late and the guy at the gate asks us why we want to go down there. Blank stare. Brent explains that we have a cruise and he just looks at us like we are idiots and tells us that there is no one down there. Even Lake Powell was closed thanks to the government shut-down!
We checked the GPS for the nearest McDonalds so we could use the wi-fi to plan our day. The GPS said there were no McDonald’s around, so instead I found a Starbucks. However as we were driving there, lo and behold, a McDonald’s appeared on the horizon. I cursed at the GPS and threatened to throw it out the window. I nursed my coffee while we lounged about, trying to plan out our day and lodgings. Why does McDonald’s not serve muffins?! I was so hungry, but I hate the McBreakfast menu. There was a Wal-Mart near the McDonald’s, I wanted to go get a memory card but it was only 8:30am, I was worried it would not be open yet. Turns it out it opened at 6am. Everything there was so cheap! There was a blanket for $3, but I had to resist, and I already had a blanket. There were strawberry and berry versions of Count Chocula, which is just gross. I resisted buying a Route 66 mini calendar… and then a Route 66 magnet, only to turn around and find a Route 66 bottle opener keychain (that last one I do regret not buying- how many times have I been to a hotel lobby looking for a bottle opener?!).
Our first stop of the day was Four Corners, which unfortunately for us was due east, we were driving towards the rising sun, I needed more sunglasses, and one pair was not enough. I finally cracked into the candy we had from the previous day. The Salted Nut Roll was just a PayDay without the caramel, not worth eating really.
We passed a sign in the middle of an empty field: Yard Sale. WHERE?! Where on God’s green earth was this yard sale happening?!?! There was nothing but fields, empty fields, all around us. There weren’t even any grazing animals. There was NOTHING. As we drove were listening to Stuff You Should Know and making fun of the stamps.com ad… Oh crap! I realized, I still had to go to the post office to mail my postcards!!! We ended up driving back through Kayenta where we had stayed two nights ago. We decided that after that, we would never go back to Kayenta again, ever.
There were so horses grazing right by the side of the road, it was scary and I yelled at them to move away from the road- alas, the window had not been rolled down. I was yelling for nothing. We stopped for gas in Kayenta, an opportune moment to go in search of breakfast: Cracker Jacks. The box claimed that they now had new & improved prizes: it was a lie; I got a sticker of a baseball player. How is that any better than the stickers I usually get? What they should really be working on is adding more peanuts or changing the wording on the package to say “may contain peanuts.”
We drove through a town called Mexican Water, making jokes about not drinking the water in that town. I was really excited: I was going to get state 30, Colorado, AT the Four Corners monument! There was a sign at the entrance that said “dispersal of human remains not allowed”- eew, why would anyone do that at a tourist trap? Brent had also never been to Colorado, so we held hands and both stepped into Colorado together, a super cute way to get the state.
There was a pseudo line-up to take pictures on the ground. Some of the people were unsure and hesitant about going up to pose for a photo, so I just jumped in quick and assumed my pose: laying down so a part of me was in each state. Everyone else was either kneeling and down on all fours, or just standing there with arms outstretched (they were too old to be able to kneel/get on all fours). I admit, it was a lot of giddy fun. Except for the fact that as I was laying down I smacked my head on the pavement, ever so gently, but still enough to irritate me and make it mildly throb.
Back on the highway there was a sign for the Ute Mountains: what is a ute I wondered? There were some rocks monuments resting precariously atop what looked like a sand dune. We drove by Mesa Verde National Park, what would have been our plans for the weekend, were it not for the government shut-down. There was a plot of land for sale by the highway… it just happened to be next door to a toxic spill site. The further north we got the more the scenery changed. Eventually we started seeing leaves that were changing colours. They were contrasted against the green of the pines making for huge swaths of beautiful landscape: green pines, yellow and orange leaves against a bright blue sky. At moments I would forget that we were even driving along an interstate.
In a cow-filled pasture there was a sign stating: I’d rather see a cow than a condo. We were driving along the Million Dollar Highway through the very south end of the Rockies. Little did we know, it only got prettier and more breathtaking as you went further north.
We drove right by our poorly marked hotel and ended up in town. We stopped at Sonic to grab lunch. This time I made the right choice and had the toast cheeseburger with bacon and a green apple- raspberry slush. What I forgot to say when I said no lettuce, no tomatoes was no onion ring. I had to pick it out once we finally got to the hotel room. The slush was nowhere near as good as the limeade; it got all icy and hard to drink towards the end.
We walked to downtown Durango, Colorado along the Anamas River. Along the way we saw a tubby ground squirrel getting ready for winter, he was too tubby to run away from me initially. Downtown Durango consisted of a few shops along Main Street and a scenic train station. There really was not that much to see there. We stopped at the post office so I could mail my postcards but the place was a zoo. The line-up was huge, apparently Josh & Chuck were right and I shouldn’t have laughed about their stamps.com ads after all. There was no way I was going to stand in line for 20 minutes to mail 3 postcards, we bailed. We stopped at Marble Slab for dessert. Apparently a small size in the States is in fact giant. I have learned for next time: get a kid’s size. We got our tickets for the next day’s scenic train ride to save time; we were already near the station anyways.
I was so tired and my legs were starting to hurt, in addition to my sore knee. I was amazed to see how well my slush had held up; I had left it in the fridge before we went out. It had barely melted and in the end I was still stuck with icy bits. I had hoped it would melt more and be easier to drink. Now I know for next time: limeades are the best. I had about 3 pages left in my book, Maddam– and that was when Brent decided to acknowledge his hunger, such poor timing.
We had initially planned to go back into town for dinner but we were both so exhausted we just went to the sports pub downstairs. Not feeling fancy, we split an order of garlic fries and chicken fingers. I had a Colorado Long Island Iced Tea because it was made with Colorado honey whiskey, something I had never even heard of before. I chased it with a Sangria-Rita, which was not as good as the iced tea. We raced back upstairs so I could watch New Girl, but we got back early enough for me to finish the last 3 pages of my book.