I just realized I never got around to writing about my return trip from Colorado. And, to me, that was almost the best part. I took the long way home, choosing to travel south through New Mexico, rather than angling southeast. My intention was to pop in on my friend Raymond before heading back to Austin. No big whoop, right?

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Well, I left Denver super early. It was gorgeous outside. I resumed my steady stream of “No fucking way” I had continually uttered at the sheer gorgeousness of everything in the universe. First, it was the moon that I began my journey beneath. I snuck out of the house before Pansy and Scott could wake up and drove south – hoping to drive as far up pike’s peak as possible. Unfortunately, Pike’s Peak tollway doesn’t open until after 9, and I got there well before.

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I took the opportunity to, instead, take a nice stroll through the garden of the gods. Excitedly trying to snap pictures of the (to me) pretty black and white birds I saw everywhere. I’m sure to people from Colorado, these birds are as interesting as grackels are to us Austinites, but I just adored them.

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Oh, and there were also some pretty rocks to look at.

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After wandering around for a bit, I got back into the car and drove around the little town until I found a restaurant with the word Omelette in its name. Hoping to get a decent omelette, but ended up getting this monstrosity stuffed with canned jalapenos and nothing else. It was pretty gross. Thankfully, I apparently have a stomach made of steel, because I suffered no after-affects of that culinary atrocity on the journey.

I spent much of the day traveling along what I perceived to be the Pacific-Coast Highway of the Rio Grande…I THINK it was 285, but I’m having difficulty mapping it now, and it might have been a smaller road than that. Snaking through Taos and Santa Fe alongside the river. I love and fear traveling near water. I get the same kind of feeling I always get when I’m in a high place. That feeling that I might just be overly tempted to throw myself over the edge or drive right into the water, and not be able to stop myself from doing so. I felt the same delight traveling next to that river as I did when I found myself accidentally driving through Clearwater National Forest, as well as the multiple times I’ve driven up and/or down the actual PCH. An approximation of the feeling I’ve had standing on the shore of Lake Michigan…coastal Florida…The Pacific Ocean…This. Is. Where. The. Land. Ends. What lies beyond is made of the stuff of drowning. You can walk to the edge of me, but once you cross that line, you are altered physically.

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And it’s these little surprises that happen along the way that make me prefer road trip travel (particularly when I am able to be loose about schedules and therefore choose (or not choose, and let randomness choose) the path I take. I tried to take as many obscure routes as I possibly could (which isn’t difficult to do with my meandery GPS system that seems to be programmed to send me off on the least direct route possible.) And while I didn’t have enough time to actually stop and enjoy the water, I did take the time to pull off the road a view times and take pictures, or write, or just sit in silence and wonder.

I was listening to the last half of Nick Cave’s _The Death of Bunny Munro_ on CD, having heard the first half on my way up, and trying to decide if I liked it because it was by (and read by) Nick Cave, or if it was because it was actually a good book (I’m still not sure what the answer is to that.) The day was perfectly temperate, clear, sunny. There was more traffic on the way home than there had been on the way up to Colorado, where I barely encountered a single car the whole time I was driving on open roads. And it took me a very long time to get to Albuquerque.20140316_174214

But I got there, and got a tour of the gallery from Raymond, and stayed a little longer than I should have but not even a fraction of the time I wanted to stay, picked up a gigantic pizza to feed the boys when I got home, and left just before dusk, determined to somehow drive the remaining 10 hours straight through, all the way home – losing an hour at the border, and getting me home at around 4 in the morning. hahaha.

I’m nothing if not ambitious. Particularly when it comes to driving.

But I’m also practical. And, after once again marveling at a fucking gorgeous full moon slowly emerging first as a giant plasmatic orb peeking just over the tops of distant landscape, and inching slowly to the top of sky – beaming triumphantly. It hypnotized me, and I realized I was getting tired already at 11 AM, and this is my VACATION, damnit…so I decided to stop at a hotel near the border of NM/TX and get some rest and enjoy the rest of the journey daylight even though, like regrettable sex, the drive through Texas is almost always best done in the dark of night.

And with that…I’m going to end this section and write the last leg another time.

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