We awoke sore, still groggy, and quite ravenous. After completing our toilette (fancy huh!) we gathered our things, checked out of the glorious Super 8 (read sarcasm) and climbed back into the car in search of sustenance and an internet connection to re-plot our course. We made it to a Starbucks, since they are so easy to find, and I settled in with some coffee and a croissant to share while we figured out our next move. I had originally planned for us to spend half of the day in Colorado Springs to visit Garden of the Gods, however, I would soon discover that my plans were doomed to fail. With the aid of wi-fi, we confirmed our directions and located a Denny’s and the Garden. As we eagerly walked into the diner I was as giddy as a school girl. Yes, I was hungry, but most importantly I was eager to walk around the Garden and delight in the natural sculptures created by years of wind and rain. We stuffed ourselves like the proverbial Thanksgiving turkey while talking over our plans. My companion, far more intelligent than I, mentioned that we had so many more miles to go, and only two more days to cross the last 3 states. It slowly began to dawn on me that I had horrendously miscalculated the time this expedition would take! My hopes of seeing Garden of the Gods were dashed, and my traveling companion, quick to lift my spirits, reminded me that we were still going to drive through the Silver Thread (a scenic highway) and we would get to see it at a wonderful time of day if we acted with haste. So, we climbed back into the car and began our journey anew.
We had such a difficult time getting over each rolling hill, and could only manage going 25 mph due to the weight of the car and trailer, and the ever climbing elevation. After almost over-heating we finally made it to the Silver Thread. We parked the car, so it could cool down and it give us a chance to stretch our legs and enjoy the view.
The temperature began to drop as we marveled at the beauty around us that can never be captured by a lens. After absorbing as much of it as possible, we got back in the car and kept going up and up. Through twist and turns we spotted marvelous mountain views and diaphanous clouds; climbing higher and higher we cheered the car on to reach the peak. Leaning forward, as though it would help, we traveled slowly all the while turning our heads to catch every sight. Suddenly, we were at the top (which strangely had no view) and began the slow journey down into the valley. After fighting the climb for what felt like hours, the car was once again close to over-heating. Luckily, a small snow storm had just begun (right where we stopped to get a picture of the valley), so we donned our jackets and got out for a jaunt in the snow.
After playing around, we were on the road again. It was beautiful, though stressful, as we finally made it all the way down through a small village (very Coal Miner’s Daughter-esque) and started back up and out. It was now dusk, and my traveling companion drove slowly as we passed all kinds of warning signs (some of which were incomprehensible). Just as we began to think we wouldn’t encounter more hardships we spotted some deer. Even slower we continued, but here is something not all of you might know. One can keep from running into deer, but one can not keep deer from running into you. Sure enough, a young buck walked straight into the car as we were passing his small herd. We both saw him just in time to know that a collision was inevitable, so I simply closed my eyes, and hoped that he wouldn’t jump onto the windshield. I heard a loud thump and a resounding crack. With pounding hearts both my companion and myself assured each other that there was no real damage, and it looked like the only thing broken was the side mirror. Continuing on, we once again came close to running out of gas as we made our way through the lonely mountain highways. Luckily (someone was looking after us) we made it to a gas station soon after the warning light came on where the attendant warned us to stay away from the deer. We began laughing riotously and explained that we had already eliminated one. With a kind and knowing smile, he welcomed us to Colorado and wished us a safe journey. On and on we drove, stopping for the night just inside of Utah. From there, we drove on through Salt Lake City, where we once again had to cool down the car. Afterwards, the journey just became an exercise in patience…but finally, right at midnight…we saw the lights of Reno. I was in no hurry to take up the title of Road Warrior any time soon.