The stretch of highway from Utah to Denver, Colorado was spectacular. Utah continued with its vast desert and colorful rock formations. After a while the nothingness of the landscape became grueling. There were no signs of life, or signs for that matter. No homes or even a Starbucks, but we powered through!
Oh, the beauty of Colorado! There are not words to describe the beauty in the landscape as we drove through the White River National Forest, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Over every hill and round each bend were endless seas of evergreen trees, so many that their stature was dwarfed by their quantity. There were mountains covered in carpets of trees. It was truly breathtaking and I struggled to keep my eye on the road as we winded through the hills, not being distracted by the breathtaking views. We oooo’d and aaww’d all the way to Denver.
We arrived in Denver just as the sun was setting, we found our little hostel downtown. I was a bit worried about our fully packed car being on the street overnight, but the guys as the hostel assured me the car would be fine parked on the street. It was just across the way from the hostel.
After we checked in, we went out to the car and unloaded the cargo carrier on top of the car, putting the things in the front seat for safe storage. There were a few people on street walking past, so Tate stayed curb side watching our stuff while I handled things on the street side of the car. At one point in the midst of us taking bags down from the carrier and transferring them to the car a woman stopped to chat. “Are you moving?” she asked. Not enjoying the attention to our activities, I responded with, “Yep, gonna be back in a few minutes”. Not sure what I was trying to do, I just didn’t want her to know we were planning to leave the lot of our stuff in the car overnight. She said a few more things and I mumbled back, trying to appear overly distracted and busy with our tasks. Finally, she moved on. Now I was even more cautious, we removed all the computers, cameras and other hard to replace items. We clicked the alarm on and made our way upstairs to our room.
Tate and I have stayed in hostels before, so we were not surprised to find our bathroom and showers down the hall from our room. Our room was fairly big, with a nice queen-sized bed, a small table, a t.v. and even a little sink and mirror. We freshened up and then headed down to the street to find food. Tired and hungry we stopped at the first sign of food. A place with grass-fed beef burgers, BurgerF. The food was good and we enjoyed rest outside of the car.
We both slept like rocks. It was challenging getting our heavy heads up and out the door in the morning. We managed and stepping down the stairs I watched for a view of the car across the street. And there it was, just as it had been. All in one piece, all of our belongings safely tucked inside.
The drive from Denver to Cedar Rapids, Iowa was by far the worst of the five-days of driving we did. The minute you leave Denver heading east, you might as well be in Nebraska. The landscape is a tedious flat, monochrome vision. Sure there are fields, but everything is flat, and that monotonous green and brown for as far as you can see. No civilization, no cities not break up of the monotony. Iowa is not a booming state either, but the rolling hills and occasional road stop were a welcome treat.
We rolled into my Mom’s house at about eleven that the evening. As expected, Mom stood outside waiting for us in her cozy red robe and slippers. It had been a very long driving day and we were exhausted.
Tate and I both slept in, but we managed to get up and have some breakfast before my Mom returned in the late morning. With a little time to kill before we met up with my aunt and uncle later – we did what any girl would, we went shopping. Tate needed a couple of things she had not been able to find before we left, so off we marched. We had lunch and managed to cross all three of Tate’s items off her list before we were ready to head over to my Uncle Donnie’s for a little barbeque.
It was a treat to see him. My Uncle Donnie is so much like my Dad. My dad passed away several years ago and my Uncle Don is the next best thing. He talks just like my Dad and there are so many other similarities. Tate didn’t really get to know her grandpa, so I always enjoy taking her to see Uncle Donnie when I can…it gives her a little hint as to what her grandpa was like. My Aunt Barb joined us. She is the youngest of the sixteen brothers and sisters in my Dad’s family. Aunt Barb is the best! No matter how long it has been since I’ve seen her, no matter what is happening, she has always made me feel welcome and loved.
Next we popped over to my best friend’s house! Angie! Angie and I were best-friends in high school. We both had other friends and lots going on during our high school years, but we were together for a big portion of that time. We lost touch for several years like most of my high school connections. But Angie and I have always been family. I always feel comfortable and myself when I am with her. We are able to go years without talking and when we finally get together it is as if we’ve never been apart.
Tate, my Mom and I all joined Angie and her daughter Maddie in her backyard for a little bonfire and beer (at least that’s what Angie and I drank). We chatted about old time and new times. Tate and Maddie are just a year apart and they get along wonderfully – big surprise – they are both just like their mom’s. We stayed too late as usual, but it was worth it.
In the morning we sorted through what we needed to leave at my Mom’s for safe keeping, and after I took care of a few computer issues for my mom, we got the SUV repacked and ready for the road. This time, a short jaunt to Chicago.