We spent the previous few days in the Denver/Boulder area. After driving through Wyoming (where there is nothing, not even trees on the side of the road or anything of even remote interest in the state capital of Cheyenne) we moved on to Denver. We spent a few hours there on Thursday afternoon, checking out the downtown area (most stuff was closed) before heading to Boulder.
In Boulder Friday morning, we climbed Mount Chautauqua. Or at least most of us climbed most of it. I made it about 85% of the way before calling it quits. A tragic combination or heightened Colorado altitude and heightened Av stomach weight collided to prevent me from reaching the peak. Still, from where I made it, the view was incredible and the atmosphere was sublime. And if pain and suffering builds character, I am now one hell of a guy.
We also spent a little time on Pearl Street, a gorgeous pedestrian mall filled with both mainstream and uinique shops, as well as a wide array of talented street performers wherever you look. It was the perfect central location for a thriving city that other cities should attempt to emulate. I'm looking at you, Manhattan.
After returning to Denver for a lovely Shabbat and a Saturday night viewing of "Funny People," we were ready to make our way towards our penultimate destination, the Grand Canyon.
John Elway, Joe Montana, and Peytom Manning can all take a lesson from the incredible drive we completed yesterday. Last Sunday, we worked to redefine the words "loud" and "fast." This week, let's work on the word "scenic." There are "scenic routes" and then there is the route we took yesterday from Denver to Sedona, AZ along I-70W in Colorado and down through the Moab region of Utah. It was extremely long but it was breathtaking and was far and away the most enjoyable route I have ever driven in my life.
We left Denver at 6:15 MDT. Our 1st stop was Mt. Evans, host to the highest paved road in the United States. In order to reach the 14,000 foot high summit, you must first drive along a narrow windy road, mostly without a guardrail at any time, instilling you with the fear that death is nearby. When we finally reached the top, we opened the door only to have it slammed shut by a freezing gust of wind. Despite being over 80 degrees on the ground, it was more like 40 on top. Also, there was snow. Snow in the summer! Is there a snowball in our cooler right now? Maybe.
We continued along our route and stopped off at Glenwood Springs, home to a natural hot springs pool. I thought it looked pretty cool, but we rebuffed the venue's demand of an $18 entrance fee. If Rubby is reading this, he is shaking his head disgustedly right now.
The drive through Western Colorado
Literally, the most beautiful road I have ever been on. You wind along the Colorado River at time, where people are rafting below, and cruise alongside glorious mountains with different color schemes and different formations. It's absolutely glorious.
We then proceeded southward through Moab, which has an array of indescribable craters and rock formations. I had never heard of this place before Thursday, but it is now near the top of my list of places in America that everyone should visit.
I am not referring to Dean Smith's UNC basketball offensive scheme or to the types of garmnents that require tzitzit. Rather, I am referring to the only place in America where four states meet. We got to stand on a monument in the "exact" location where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet.
The pro: When you go to the gift shop in "Colorado" you can negotiate by citing "lower sales tax in Arizona."
The con: When Butch or Ushi inexplicably disappear, there are now 4 possible states they might be in.
One of the aims of this drive was to once and for all determine whether the sun does indeed set in Flagstaff, AZ. We raced the sun towards Flagstaff, but our efforts proved inconclusive. We were about 100 miles East of Flagstaff when the sun disappeared from our view, and although it looked like Flagstaff was indeed its final resting place for the night, we couldn't be sure. As we drove through Flagstaff, there was no sign of it anywhere, leaving us further bewildered.
We finally stopped for the night in Sedona, AZ at 11:00 MST (idiots here don't observe daylight savings time), ending the longest and most beautiful drive I have ever been a part of. All said the trip was 17 hours (approx 15 of which we were in the car) and 800 miles. And oh ya, I was at the wheel for every minute of it.