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May 24th, 2009

In Grand Junction…The Rain In Maryland Has Apparently Followed Me…

I decided to abandon my plan to go into lower Kansas and from there into the Rockies and take a small scenic side road though them up to I-70.  The weather here in the four corners states is horrible…all socked in with clouds and rain.  And it looks like it will be that way for days to come.  I suppose in some of the desert areas they appreciate getting rain, but this seems a tad much and the Colorado river is all floody now.  I drive over it and it’s almost up to the bottom of the road deck on some bridges now.  This throws my plans into some chaos since it means some of the scenic side roads I wanted to travel down might get washed out.  I don’t want to get stuck driving down a small side road in the Utah canyon lands only to have to turn around and drive hundreds of miles back the way I came because the road in front of me got washed out.  Or worse, get stuck because now the road behind me is washed out too.

So when I got to Oakley Kansas I drove US 40 for a while in the plains and then just let it take me back to I-70.  Now I’m here in Grand Junction after going through some serious elevation changes that seriously stressed my out of shape 55 year old body.  Around ten thousand feet I started noticing my heart pounding and my face getting all flushed out.  I stopped at a rest stop at ten thousand six hundred feet and tried to get myself stabilized and just kept being on the edge of too dizzy to drive.  Crap. I guess I my sitting down all the friggin’ time job has left my circulatory system a tad weakened.  Or maybe I just have my mom’s side of the family’s bad heart gene.  So I guess going up the volcano to see Keck is out of the question now… 

It’s memorial day weekend, which I wasn’t aware of when I planned this thing out (I’m a software engineer…I am oblivious to the regular work week of most folks…), so I’ve been watching warily the parking lots of the motels I pass along the way, trying to judge how full they’re getting.  I don’t normally make reservations on these road trips because I want the freedom to adjust my travel plans as I see things along the way.  But this puts me at risk of entering a town tired at the end of the day and wanting to stop now, and all the motels are full and then I have to keep driving and hope the next town over isn’t full too.  That’s happened to me. 

So I freaked when I drove past Rifle Colorado and saw all the motel lots jammed full.  When I got to Parachute I hit the first little motel I saw and asked for a room and they gladly gave it to me, which should have set my alarm bells off.  But I was just releaved to have a room for the night.  The room was around back and while it was nice the neighborhood behind the room was scary.  I sat in the room for a while looking out the window and thinking I’m driving a Mercedes-Benz and it’s going to stick out like a neon sign around here telling everyone who looks at it that there are probably things worth busting out a window in that car for…and breaking into the room it’s in front of…

So I freaked and got back in the car hoping that Grand Junction wouldn’t be full when I got there.  I shouldn’t have worried.  But once I got here I made a reservatin online via Travelocity for Kayenta, my favorite place to stay near Monument Valley.

I’m off now to try and see what I can see in the Utah canyon lands.  Given propsition 8 I’ll try not to spend much money while I’m there (Kayenta is in Arizona).  But the weather may make my trip through here a bust this year and that’s really bringing me down today because I don’t think the price of gasoline is going to allow me to do this for many more years.  This may be my last trip through the four corners area for a long, long time.  And it’s getting rained out.

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