Thursday, September 23

mile 2326 - 3244

The drive from Denver to Tucson was a long one. But also the most beautiful. I would have driven 4 more hours just for the scenery. It was also a great opportunity to work on my left arm tan. I tried to screen, but that sun is relentless.

I left midmorning with the intention of staying the night in Moab. Brittany (Beefers) convinced me to take the slightly longer, but more scenic route. Man, was she right. It started in the mountains of Colorado, with little patches of yellow aspen among all the green and the naked ski slopes carved out of the mountains.

Western Colorado from I-70. Full disclosure: when I take pictures while driving, I just point and shoot without looking. I swear it's not dangerous.

I only made one stop, which was Dinosaur Hill. Anything with the word "dinosaur" in it automatically gets two thumbs up from me regardless of what it actually is. Anyway, I climbed this hill where they once dug up a giant dinosaur skeleton. That means I was walking where a dinosaur once walked. My feet were literally in the same spot that Mr. Dinosaurs were millions of years ago. Now that's cool.

The story. View from the top.

This guy stopped to say hi. His great great grandpa was probably a dinosaur.

After the mountains, I entered the canyon lands of Utah.

Not right away, but that is proof that I did indeed enter Utah.

I basically drove 50 miles with my jaw dropped open from the magnificence. Things like, "Oh my gosh! How are you real?" kept escaping my lips. I stuck my arm out the window and sang an operatic, "ahhhh" to try to express the wonder.

Me singing opera to the land.

One word: unbelievable.

From the car. Wilson's Arch.

Self photo attempt. (Not driving.)

I made one mistake and that was not refilling my gas tank before I left civilization for the secret nature road. I was so anxious about running out of gas that I was too afraid to stop for photos and up close admiration. I'm okay with that though, because now I just have to go back and if you want to believe what I'm telling you about how amazing it was, you, too, will have to go.

I coasted into the first gas station I came to in Moab. I was close. Phew. After driving through the main strip and stopping at about five hotels (all full), decided I was not destined to stay the night there. Another reason I'll have to go back.

I pushed on as long as I could until hunger took over. I stopped for a sandwich in one of those small towns where the highway turns two lanes and runs right through it. When I pulled out of the place, I started going fast. I forgot it was Sleepy Town, USA, speed limit 30. I was hoping that my NY driver's license, AR plates, and VA auto insurance would deter, but alas, my perfect driving record was soiled with a speeding ticket from nice guy police officer in Monticello, Utah. I think it was for the better because he told me not to drive too much further or I would get into reservation country, and that might not be the best idea for single white female Frost.

I heeded his advice and stayed the night in Blanding, UT. Nothing special, just a place with a pillow and wireless! I watched old episodes of The Nanny and then slept with the tv on because I was paranoid about every sound that I heard, and woke up to Dora the Explorer.

When I left in the morning, it was raining and I was in Arizona driving through the reservations in no time. It continued to rain (in the desert, mind you) for a significant portion of the day.

Through the rain splattered glass. Still real pretty though.

Luckily it stopped by the time I got here:

Another drive I'd recommend to anyone. I went through Apache National Forest and Navajo White Mountains.

And then there were cacti! Every single one waving it's funny arms as I drove by. I've seen cactus before, but something about them being on the side of the road and as tall as a house made them that much better.

They're so cheerful!

The last exciting note about the drive I have to share is this: There was a tarantula crossing the street and I had to spread my tires over him! I could see his long, hairy spider legs! If he didn't creep me out and I hadn't been going so fast I would've have stopped to play. Honest.

And here's the full set of photos from the two days of driving.

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