We checked out of our Washington DC hotel at one in the afternoon and settled into the Escort for a long week of driving. We had decided that this trip across the country would be all about racking up the miles and covering ground; we were anxious to catch up with family and meet our new nephew. We quickly crossed through Virginia and Maryland where we were awed by the rolling hills covered in hardwoods ablaze with autumn colors. After getting an oil change we entered West Virginia which looked basically like Andy and I had always imagined it with more rolling hills and the occasional farm house, and moved on into Kentucky where we slept outside of Lexington.
We had a great breakfast in a Kentucky Waffle House where the food was mediocre and cheap and the waitresses were so hospitable calling Andy ‘big guy’ and constantly topping off our coffee mugs. We breezed through Indiana and Illinois and stopped in St. Louis to see the arch. The streets under the arch were flooded and blocked off to cars so we made our way through some random cobble stone streets back to the interstate and continued on through Missouri and halfway through Kansas where we spent the night.
When we woke up we got our first glimpse of Kansas which seemed to be fields of corn and wheat interspersed with oil pumps and billboards with slogans involving loving Jesus and anti-abortion. The billboard that we liked the best was a picture, with no words, of Jesus peeking out of a wheat field while parting the wheat with his hands like a curtain. In no time we made it to Denver where we saw the Rockies sticking up out of the plains like the picture on the side of a Coors can. We stayed the night in Longmont, just north of Denver, with Andy’s aunt and uncle Geoff and Lisa. It felt great to sleep in a comfy bed and have a nice hot shower. Geoff and Lisa were also kind enough to give us a tour of Boulder and take us to a really neat park before treating us to good Mexican food and margaritas.
We went out to breakfast with Geoff where we learned what a basted egg was before saying goodbye and working our way through the Rocky Mountains. The scenery was pretty and rugged and before we knew it we were following the Colorado River into the town of Moab. We stocked up on water and food at the local grocery store as well as a six pack of Polygamy Porter and as we drove into Arches National Park we watched the full moon rise over the desert landscape creating many different pastel colors that we had rarely seen in a sunset before. We set up our tent in the Arches campground and ate our dinner on top of a large rock formation under the bright full moon.
We hiked into Devil’s Garden and saw Landscape Arch, then Delicate Arch where everyone passing by the picnic table in the parking lot admired our lunch of potatoes and veggies cooking on our small camp stove, and finally the Windows before we left Arches and drove onwards to Canyonlands National Park. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the views as well as the sunset before making camp in the park’s campground.
After our short morning hike up Whale Rock we stopped in Green River at a trucker’s haunt for a disgustingly large plate of biscuits and gravy which forced us to waddle back to the car when we had finally finished. We crossed a lot of desert and passed quickly through Salt Lake City which was covered with a thick inversion, stopped in Idaho only for a burger, and before we knew it we were in Oregon. We slept out side of Burns in just about the same spot that we had spent the first night of our original road trip from Oregon to New York.
Finally! We woke up in the land of drive-thru coffee, where there are local coffee shops and stands and not just Starbucks with parking lots. It was a pretty drive home looking at all the familiar sights of Oregon and after five short hours we were soaking in Andy’s parent’s hot tub.
3638 miles driven
100 gallons of gas used
36.38 miles per gallon in our 1994 Ford Escort Wagon