Back on the Open Road!

22 11 2013

We have a guy, a girl, a dog and a truck – all the components of a country song! Except J left his guitar at home, and no one was drunk or cheating, so … all the components of a Great American ROADTRIP!

J and I made plans to visit J’s dad in Denver for the entire  week of Thanksgiving. I immediately started stressing out about plane tickets and carry-ons and the price of checked luggage and where Simba was going to go for an entire week. Then we came up with a way better plan: let’s just drive!

Fast-forward to this morning. All packed up, J played Tub Tetris to get all of our stuff to fit into two plastic tubs to brave the elements in the back of the truck. I prepped the massive amount of food I had bought (just in case we got in a zombie apocolypse on the way) so we wouldn’t have to stop as much and so we wouldn’t gain 50 pounds a piece gorging on fast food before Thanksgiving. All the while, Simba paced nervously, knowing we were going somewhere, but not sure if he was included…

Finally, everything was ready and I lifted Simba into His Spot for the trip. What a happy dog! He snuggled down, ready to go. The morning is frigid yet painfully sunny. We only turn around once for a forgotten item and off we go!

roadtrip to Denver, CO

Family roadtrip! Everyone say CHEESECAKE!

Simba travels so well. He just seems so happy to be going! He’s funny – he likes to curl up facing the back of the cab, not asleep, just hanging out, staring at nothing. Once, I look back to find him with his head propped up on the ice chest like a pillow. Silly pup.

We cruise up the Gorge and I’m taken back to our roadtrip this summer to Texas. But this trip has one gigantic difference: JUSTIN. I don’t have to do all the driving, so I can spend my time observing, writing, petting Simba. And J has much better conversation skills than Simba. We discuss SO MANY THINGS! Travel, past and future; geology and super-volcanes and hot spots under the earth’s crust; the history of the Gorge; upcoming events; roadtrips we took as kids; ALL OF THE THINGS! We pass the huge tree farm and try to guess how many trees are out there. We talk about our hobbies. We sing along with the Spanish radio station and munch down on the snacks I dig up from behind my seat. And Simba watches all from his bed right behind J. Family bonding!

tree farm in Eastern Oregon

Tree farm along I-84 in Eastern Oregon. SO.MANY.TREES!

We fly across Eastern Oregon and are in the Blue Mountains before we know it. Such a nice break from the flat, open emptiness. I give a nice “Whoop!” as we pass the 45th Parallel – half way between the equator and the North Pole! Simba yawns from the back as J tells me all about the Wallowa Mountains, a range of batholiths, already snow-capped.

I take a turn at the wheel, find a country station and my candy, and get us to Idaho. I thought one main reason I disliked Southern Idaho last trip was the scorching heat and the smell that came with it. Unfortunately, I’m still not impressed, even in the absence of the heat. Twin Falls isn’t a bad area, though, and I would love to stop at Shoshone Falls some day when water is actually raging over it. I84, though, has got to be one of the roughest, terribly maintained stretches of interstate I’ve ever been on! Simba and I reminisced and told J stories of our summer trip along this same highway. Right about Twin Falls, we watched the brilliant orange sunset as the ball of light dropped below the ledge of the big plateau. Too bad it was only about 5:00. We decided to make it to Salt Lake City before crashing for the night, so we trudged on. Once again, I wish I could have seen the northern stretch of Utah in daylight – even more, I wish J could have seen it in the daylight.

Idaho sunset

Orange behind us, pink ahead of us. About 20 minutes after this was a brilliance my stupid phone just couldn’t get….

We stopped for gas (again) in Ogden. Despite the beef jerky and crackers and hummus and oranges, we were mesmerized my the purple neon of the Taco Bell…and we broke. I hope we don’t both get sick from eating it after staying away from fast food for so long, but it was heaven on earth at the time. About 40 miles down the road, near the Salt Lake City  airport, we found a nice little Super 8 that allows dogs. J is lost over there somewhere on the other side of this outrageously huge bed, Simba is snuggled down on his bed snoring loudly, and I am totally exhausted after a day of doing nothing.

dog-friendly Super8 Motel, Salt Lake City UT

Possibly his first time in a hotel, but his bed and toys took all his stress away! Nighty-night!

Tomorrow will be a day for fun adventures NOT in the vehicle – stayed tuned!!





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