Drive West From Denver

Trip Start Apr 11, 2010
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Trip End May 20, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Sunday, April 11, 2010

The mileage on my Jeep is 148,836 as I pull out of the parking space at my Man Cave in Denver on my first long foreign trip in almost two years.  During that time I drove across country from New Jersey to Denver and took a few shorter road trips of up to two weeks in the western U.S. but those now hardly qualify as adventures in my book.

What am I thinking about as I begin the drive west from Denver en route to Vail as I did so many times over the last two years for skiing?  Just the usual dilemmas of responsibility and obligation versus the freedom of the road, of conventionality versus self-actualization, of material riches versus living a rich life.  Some things just never get resolved in my mind.

And as usual with me, it's not about the destination but the journey.  So instead of making a mad dash to the Mexican border I will take the scenic route and make several sight-seeing stops en-route.

In Vail I pick up my friend Dave Riordan whose plan is to ride with me to Orange County to meet up with some friends.  Dave was one of the drivers on my 4-month Dragoman overland "Silk Road" trip from London to Beijing in 2006.  He's since moved on and spent the winter season driving for CME, Vail Resorts' van shuttle service to the airports.  In a reversal of our 2006 roles of passenger and driver, I am now playing tour guide in my vehicle.  Ha!

I-70 to the turnoff just past Green River, Utah is as dull as ever.  We pass through the northern part of majestic Capital Reef National Park, cross the Aquarius Plateau (highest forested plateau in the U.S.), and then through the slickrock canyon country of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Boulder and Escalante, two small Mormon farming settlements that must be among the remotest spots in the U.S.  The two towns are now gateways for the adventurous set to some of the country's least known and extreme public lands.  I feel a tinge of adventure, but high winds lead us to wimp out and get a motel room for the night instead of camping.
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