Boulder was where I saw my last Dodge dealer. My air conditioning needed repair, and I thought that before I drove across the deserts of Utah and Nevada, I’d do well to get it fixed. Besides, I’d grown fond of Dodge dealers.
It had been a rainy night. I’d stayed in Boulder with a friend. The thunder and lightning, the pouring rain, all of it was like Vermont and I didn’t think much about it. Sitting for what turned out to be hours in the waiting room of the Dodge dealer the next morning, I overheard people complaining just a little about the weather. No one expected the major flash floods that were about to inundate the town.
I didn’t get on the road until early afternoon. It was sprinkling, but it had been most of the day. I got lost on the way to Highway 93, of course, and ended high above the town on what looked like a sheer several mile drop. A few hours later, it would be one of the nation’s highest waterfalls.
Despite myself, I lucked out again and beat the storm.
I ended up back on Denver’s freeways and headed for the Rockies. I was born in Denver and spent some of my childhood there, so the Rockies had been part of my life and I looked forward to the rushing rivers and forests of firs that I remembered. But then I’d been on two-lane highways that wound around the terrain and clung to the edges of steep mountains. This was a super highway that skimmed the mountains, and when there was no other way around or through, plunged into a long tunnel. This was a parkway through spectacular scenery. There were canyons and valleys of condominiums. The rain came and went, and with it the visibility of the mountain peaks and sometimes, even of the highway itself. It was unreal, like a place in the sky, set aside for a kind of human being that was at the very least rare when I lived in the state, a skier wearing Bogner, the kind of person that lives in condos.
When I neared Grand Junction, the world changed again, this time to a place where people farm and drive trucks, something more familiar, but at the same time strange because the horizon was framed by long plateaus and rows of mountains. I remember loving Grand Junction as a child because it seemed like a place where the earth probably ended. The space in front of me seemed so deep.
Of course, it wasn’t the end then and it still isn’t. But it is a place where the world changes and becomes even more incredible.
(To be continued)