Saloons and Silent Roads

Rolled into Telluride, CO as evening hit, a few hours later than anticipated when we mixed up the travel time in our heads and the drive from Crested Butte was 3 hours vs. the 1 that we thought it was. We decided to visit the town because it’s part of a Tim Mcgraw song and for few additional reasons. The town name was tiny but bolded on the atlas which indicated to us that it would definitely be small but that it would likely have a downtown area of some sort. We changed quickly and began down Main Street, stopping at a local bar for some late night pizza covered in honey (our server wasn’t even sure how this would taste, but I loved the sweet/savory contrast) and some icy drafts. After, we decided to check out a saloon that was listed in our Lonely Planet USA book (road trip bible) called Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, an obvious winner by name. The bar description boasted live music in a cool dive-y setting. I’m sure on a weekend night that it would be great, but since it was a Tuesday, the place was unfortunately fairly dead short of a few open-mic night participants attempting cover songs, and a small group of air-hockey playing 20 somethings. We sipped our $3 brews and shot a game of (poorly played) pool before heading off to finish the evening at the only other bar on our walk home that was still busy.

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The next morning, we strolled down Main Street to get a quick feel for the town during daylight and peruse local stores. It was quaint and quiet but boasted some nice coffee shops and little restaurants. We got some iced lattes from a coffee cart called “Cowboy Coffee” before taking off on the road once more.

Our journey that day would finally bring us over the border from Colorado to Utah. The highways were notably smaller than most major roads in the state, and it became clear very quickly how rural our route would be (we like this, it never ceases to be fascinating). The road boasted just a trickling of tiny towns and villages baking quietly under the hot sun, there for half a moment before they’re gone. Just before Route 90 turns to Route 45 (just before the border), it snakes up the side of an incredibly steep cliffy area which was hair-raising to say the least. Blind, narrow, sharp turns with minimal guardrails greeted us frequently, which meant we were chugging along at a snail’s pace and praying that we wouldn’t come face to face with any semi-trucks. At one point, just past a barely there town of Paradox, we got to the top of one particular cliff and pulled to a stop at the widest pullout that we’d seen in a long time. With nobody in site, we got out to check out the view, which was absolutely unreal. It felt like we had just hiked up the cliff rather than driven, and you could look down at the road that you came in on so far into the horizon that it looked like it went on forever. But the most awe-inspiring part of it all was the silence. Complete…and total…silence. Silence so intense it was almost scary, and not one single car or house within eye or ear shot. We stood up there, tiny beings on the giant piece of rock beneath us and memorized the sound of that silence until it was in our bones.

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Back down on flat land and we officially passed the Utah welcome sign, followed by the site of a house that somebody had built.right.into.the.side.of.a.rock.cliff….like something out of a space movie. The gate read “Alexander”, and we whizzed past it too quickly to take a photo, and were too creeped out to circle back for one. Whoever built that obviously felt very strongly about his privacy within his almost invisible rock-home sitting truly in the middle of nowhere.

Making into Moab, Utah by late afternoon, we stopped quickly for lunch at Milt’s Stop ‘n Eat, Moab’s oldest restaurant and running since 1954, for some tasty bacon cheeseburgers and tots at a 50’s style diner counter. We finally had some down time to watch TV movies, do some writing, upload pictures and order Chinese food pickup for dinner later that night, plus dessert at a fro-yo place a few blocks away.

“I’m only going to get sprinkles on mine”

“Me too”

Out walk Sara and Katie with toppings including: cookie dough, brownie bites, mango pieces, strawberry sauce, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and chocolate syrup atop multi-flavor heaps of yogurt glory. Self-serve fro-yo is dangerous.

On trips like these where we do and see so much, and move around so frequently, I always have to remember how important it is to take a night here and there to just do nothing, much like I would at home. These trips don’t feel like vacation to me anyway, just a home that moves from place to place, led by my gypsy soul 🙂

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