ColoWOWdo and BeUTAHful

Jan 8th, 2014

Denver, CO to Page, AZ

So by the time I write these, if Leah doesn’t start making notes in the car, I feel like I’ve forgotten everything we’ve done, all the funny, quirky things that happened, and the things we’ve seen in the day. Our days our so long, that this is really entirely possible! I’ll start from the boring beginning bits, to try and jog my memory.

We were aiming for an early departure from Denver since it is a 5hr drive (approx) from there to Arches in Utah. We set off from Liza’s around 0720, which is GREAT by our standards!! It was a beautiful morning in Denver, but through a few mountain passes and a tunnel, pretty soon we found ourselves in a slushy situation. Luckily, the roads weren’t too bad, and after a quick gas and coffee stop in Frisco, we continued through the mountains. We were excited to drive through Vail, and fangirled a bit over being in the same town as the lovely Trista and Ryan from the Bachelorette. I mean, who doesn’t love a happy ending, especially for such a sweet pair of people?!

We also found my hometown, Edwards, CO, which appears to be a small, mountain town. Perhaps I shall retire here….and become mayor! Colorado kept wowing us with the beautiful mountains, gorgeous colours, and excellent scenery (and 75km/h speed limit), so we gave it the nickname of ‘ColoWOWdo’, which reminds me of Kripke from Big Bang Theory (say Colorado with his speech impediment and tell me it doesn’t sound like Colowowdo!!). 

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When we finally crossed the border into Utah, it was like entering a whole new world. I’ve NEVER seen anything like it before, it was so stunning. The landscape and vegetation were completely unique and awe-inspiring, soon giving reason for us to call it, beUTAHful!

We made it easily to Arches and were automatically struck by the beauty, taking photo after photo within a minute of arriving. It is completely breathtaking and even Leah, who found the Sistine Chapel left something to be desired, was blown away by the natural wonder. My favourite formation was sheep rock and the windows.

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We struck up some dancer’s pose in front of the North Window. There was a couple sitting up in the window, and I could just hear, ‘Oh, look how acrobatic they are. Gee, I could never do that anymore.’ They were super cute and soon offered to take a picture for us.

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We departed from Arches for Canyonlands around 1520. The beautiful scenery continued into Moab, Utah, and I figure I would probably love to live there, what with the rafting, biking, room for horses, and other things to do. Leah seemed to think the various sceneries would become boring and old after a while, jaded young thing! We reached the turn-off for Canyonlands around 4:15. From the turn-off it is a further 50kms-ish into the entrance of Canyonlands. There is a lot of wildlife around, with cows openly grazing around the road in pasture, wild bunnies, foxes, and lots of deer to be avoided. We made an attempt to befriend some of the cows, but they seemed to be having none of it, even when we told them we had been to the town of Bovina just a few days earlier.

 

The first interesting thing we reached was Newspaper Rock, which we actually did not notice the first time we pulled in. We looked at this big, beautiful rock formation across the road and thought, nah, we don’t really see why they called it that, but it’s cool! We continued down the road, but made the executive decision to turn back, since we were losing light and I did not wish to murder any animals who had the poor judgement to fling themselves in front of Elva (we named the car). On our second pass, I said, ‘hey, let’s make sure there isn’t a trail or something we can walk along for a view here. Maybe we can climb Newspaper Rock.’ As we were looking, we noticed a rock to the side of the parking lot with lots of drawings on it. Bingo! We pulled in and realized newspaper rock was so named for the petroglyphs on rock, not the rock formation across the road. Apparently when the rest of the world isn’t there crowding around stuff, sometimes you (almost) miss it!

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Once we hit the highway again, we had a beautiful drive to Page. The sunset was UNREAL. Like, cannot believe I am seeing this, holy crap, this is amazing kind of sunset. We can only imagine what we will be treated to in the Grand Canyon!

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Leah became so bored on the last hundred kms of our drive that she began counting the number of lights she could see (that’s how dark and desert-y Arizona and Utah can be!). At the fewest, she counted 0, at most, maybe 8. It was an exciting game, as you can probably tell, especially if you are the Count from Sesame Street.

Other than that, we almost ran down a fox, finally solving the mystery of what does the fox say…for reference, it’s: Holy ****, don’t hit me!

Well, must call it a day at that. Lots more to do tomorrow….

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Denver

Jan 7th, 2014

So it just occurred to me, I may not have updated my internal clock to 2014, because I seem to be writing 2013 a lot still. The last blog post may even be dated at 2013. Ooops.

Anyhow, today we started off right, more home cooking from Miss Liza, this time in the form of scrambled eggs and coffee. YAY! After much google searching the night before, Liza had figured out we could rent snowshoes from REI (apparently a better version of MEC) and then hit up a trail. We set off bright and early for REI, where we were pretty excited, as the second we pulled into the parking lot, we saw one of the last 5 licence plates we needed to complete our quest to see all 51 – New Mexico. 

The guy in charge of rentals was great. He told us a couple excellent jokes, and sadly we could not tell him one back, so I will include one here for you in case you are ever in a situation where someone asks you for a joke:

What do you call a chicken that crosses the road, rolls in dirt, then goes back across the road?

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A dirty doublecrosser!

Anyhow, gear in hand, and a new toque for Leah, we set off into the parking lot, where we saw the second licence plate on our wanted list – Montana! We were pretty stoked at this point. I mean, not even an hour into the day, and we’ve seen two in one parking lot! We joked that we should just stay in the parking lot for the rest of the day. However, if we’d done that….we would not have seen the motorhome from…Alaska!!! It was a bonanza! We could NOT believe our luck.

At that point, we only needed two: North Dakota, and Hawaii. Now, the odds of seeing Hawaii in Colorado are pretty low (I googled it), but we looked up the North Dakota plate as we were driving so we would know what to look for. WELL. Not even 2 minutes after I showed the girls what to look for, I glanced out the window at the car we were coming up to, said, “Hey, what are you?….OH MY GOODNESS!! IT’S NORTH DAKOTA!! NORTH DAKOOOOOOOOOTAAAAAAAA!!” Sure enough, it was. 

So, I guess we only have Hawaii left, and so wish us luck, and a car recently shipped to the mainland!

Our snowshoe along the North Tenmile Creek trail was beautiful: warm, sunny, and just the right amount of workout. I was just pretty happy to be surrounded by mountains again. Image

 

We spent roughly 2h45m hiking and then grabbed a quick coffee in Frisco before heading back. Not much excitement in the evening as we were all pretty sore and tired. Picked up some snacks for tomorrow and finally found a place to get air for my tires! I’m getting good at this car business…just kidding! Jeramy, I miss you for that!ImageImage

 

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Big Skies: Oklahoma City to Denver

Jan 6th, 2014

After a brief but lovely stay in Oklahoma City with a couple of awesome Savannah/Bengal cats and a cool lady called Kim, we set out on a crisp, bright morning on our 1000+km drive to Denver, CO. We stocked up on Starbucks, where the young man in line behind us asked if we were from Canada, to which we answered yes, and if it was our first time in Oklahoma, also a yes, and what we were doing so far from home. Surprisingly, the guy in the gas station across the street gave Leah a similar Q&A period….apparently Canadians do not often drive to Oklahoma. 

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There was a dusting of snow on the fields, but the roads were bare and well, and we began the slow climb northwards to Kansas. By climb, I do not refer to the elevation, as this appeared to get no higher than a few rolling hills. The scenery was monotonous, but there was something beautiful about it, with the yellowy fields set against a bright blue sky. We saw some windmill, twirly looking things, and some pump looking things, working away, and both concluded this was exactly how we expected Oklahoma to look (same in Kansas later on). I also got hit on by a less than 2 year old in a gas station. He fist-bumped me. It was a special moment. Pretty sure he’ll grow up to be a heartbreaker!

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There were the usual assortment of decrepit old buildings and rusty vehicles/metals along the way throughout, in addition to what we thought were office buildings the first few times we approached, but soon learned that they were grain silos, or something of the ilk. We commenced with some CRNE studying once we’d had our fill of field views, while we were bright and fresh and full of coffee.

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We hung a left at Salina, KS, and continued straight on to Denver, stopping several times along the way, mainly for that addictive brown beverage we love so dearly. Kansas has the wonderful bonus of having highway speeds of 75mph, or roughly 121km/h which makes the long day somewhat more tolerable. Kansas was notable for such towns as Kanorado (the couple name of Kansas and Colorado, clearly), and Colby (my cousin’s name). We also saw llamas (or maybe they were alpacas). There are also a large number of moo-moos, which I seemed to point out an awful lot. Luckily Leah is tolerant! We continued to marvel at the large number of billboards advertising the local “adult” store…and I’m just now realizing that the large number of God-type billboard signs may or may not be in counteraction of these adult stores…

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We stopped at this cool diner in Kansas….or was it Colorado….they all kinda started to blur into one…anyhow, it was called the I-70 diner, and was SO cool! Filled with memorabilia, very typically diner looking (ie red vinyl booths with black and white flooring. Leah has just informed me it was near Flagler, CO, and she remembers this because as we were eating our quesadillas, we drove through Arriba, CO…. quite fitting, we thought.

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We made it to Denver around 5:45, which saw us stuck in traffic, the only drawback of travelling on a weekday. We were happy to arrive at Liza’s, where we soon enjoyed a homemade stirfry dinner and some delicious Angry Orchard cider!