11 October 2006

The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 7

(Days: one, two, three, four, five, six)

23/viii/04: Moab, UT to Limon, CO
442 miles/712 km

Though my time in Moab was brief, I got a great vibe from the town. The community radio station KZMU 106.7 certainly contributed to that feeling. DJs ranged from an artist-in-residence announcing an upcoming Desert Dance to a 13 year old playing alt. rock.

The residents I encountered were also friendly. The proprietor of the Adventure Inn kindly hooked me up with a very reasonably priced room that allowed me to park directly behind it, out of view from the main road. He also removed the "do not disturb" sign from my door which was wise because it was like advertising I was staying in that room.

My first night in town, I tried Banditos Grill down the road for dinner. The salmon tacos were excellent and my waiter Ian was a very nice guy. It was late and though several people were still dining, they were well-staffed, so Ian paused to chat every now and then since I was eating alone. He was about my age and said he'd been living in Moab for 4 years. Before that he'd lived in the East Bay, across from San Francisco which I'd just left. He held two waiter jobs, the other at a breakfast place in town, and he seemed very content with his life choices. It was an aura I envied.

The anonymity of travel made me feel better in my own skin: more my age, mature, sexy, confident. It brought to mind Amanda Beard and others I'd been watching compete since I'd started this trek. In 2000, they were teenagers, but now in 2004, they were young, poised, confident women at the Olympics.

School was starting up again in Moab, and it was time for me to put the road back in road trip. I had breakfast at the Peace Tree Juice Cafe, found the post office, and mailed 13 rolls of exposed film to my parents' house. I was leery of mailing them, but it seemed better than having the film sit in my car for a couple more weeks at the peak heat of summer.

Back on 70 E, signage warned: "Eagles on Highway."

Soon I was in Colorado driving in valleys, through tunnels, and up steep curving roads over mountains covered with spread out evergreens, rivers and creeks cutting through them below. With my car full of stuff, the engine labored uphill. Signs proclaimed the use of aerial surveillance, but speeding was impossible to avoid going downhill with semis accelerating close behind and sharp curves precluding the possibility of them passing safely. Since the speed limit was already 75 mph (121 km/hr), traversing the Rockies caused the most heart-pounding driving of my whole trip.

I lunched in Glenwood Springs at Wendy's, about halfway across the mountain range, before returning to the stressful but scenic highway. When I reached Denver, the terrain became flat and would remain so for several days of driving.

At 7:38 PM, I was sitting in Oscar's Steak House in Limon, Colorado, waiting for my dinner. The restaurant wasn't what I expected from a highway exit steak house in the Midwest. The whole menu was movie themed and there were lots of framed movie posters on the walls: Oscar as in Academy Awards, not Oscar Somebody.

Driving down Main Street in Limon, black and orange butterflies were swept into the airflow over my car. The Safari Motel had a plastic playhouse on its front lawn and a basketball hoop in the parking lot, the key blocked off by orange cones and wet paint signs. I booked a room for the night.

The evening's men's gymnastics had some of the worst judging I'd ever seen. The gymnasts (of all nationalities) deserved better.


One year ago at TTaT: I can move!, Bachelor Chow
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