03 Jan Roadtrippin’: The Way Back
Roadtrippin’: The Way Back
It’s funny how time and space changes. This is exactly what I was thinking when Eddie told me it would only take us two days to get back. “But it took us a month to get here.”
“Thank god it won’t take that long to get back.”
My brother had suggested we camp in The City of Rocks in southern Idaho. The road back was a lengthy one especially since the motif had changed. Now it was about “making time” and stopping as little as possible. When we finally reached the turn off for the preserve it was after sundown. Way after. No color was left in the sky, leaving a black moonless blanket above us. There wasn’t a light (other than our brights) for miles.
W e drove slowly down a dirt road with no idea of our epic surroundings. Maybe if we had known we wouldn’t have bickered so much. “In the famous words of Bugs Bunny, ‘we should’ve taken a left at Albuquerque,’” Eddie said. I wanted to smack him, exhaustion seeping out of every pore, but that’s when we saw the entrance.
“We’re here.” It was well after 11. Out of the 55 campsites, only one if open.” We go to bed without dinner. I contemplate sleeping in the car.
It wasn’t until the morning that we realized what a fantastic wreck of eerie rocks we had slept among. We crawled out of the tent around 8 a.m. to a sea of groundcover and dust. Slanted sandstone formations rose from the earth at awkward angles. The air dried the sweat off my body. There was only one thing to do. Make Thai stir-fry for breakfast and enjoy the view.
At Dinosaur National Monument, we snuck off the fast track to a scenic highway that would take us to I-70. Rain began to fall as we crossed a high mountain pass that cleaned and cooled the wind whirling inside the car. Flecks of water peppered my face. I started marking the miles in my head: 1,000 miles in Bozeman, Montana, 2,000 miles in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, 3,000 miles in Portland, Oregon, 4,000 miles in Roosevelt, Utah.
We were at the end of something, one of the many moments when a Robert Pirsig quote came to mind. “I’m happy to be here but still sad to be here, too. Sometimes it’s better to travel than to arrive.” Outside the window, wind pushed my wet hand like a wave. I glanced in the backseat at Shakespeare, his exhausted little body lay over our packs sleeping.