Woke with the sun and called home while Marko slept. Chatted briefly with our neighbor, a young man from Delaware traveling to Seattle with his dog and a bike on the back of his car. Nice to see that we’re not the only ones enjoying the ride across the country.

Wilson Lake SP, KS

Wilson Lake, the only one in Kansas

Drove through miles of empty Kansas grassland, discussing the American condition and the suitability of farm subsidies. Stopped for lunch at the Real Country Grill in Wakeeny KS, only a spot on the map, and less of a mark on the land. Only a gas station and a place for grub, although some of the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had. Far and away better than Bob Evan’s, and a rival to Ruth Powell’s. Cruised across the rest of Kansas, and into Colorado. Excited to see a new state, although little changed until Denver. Through that city, and stopped on the other side at Dinosaur Ridge. Nice to stretch our legs in the cooler mountain air, and see some three toed tracks across ancient seashores. Incredible how much the landscape can change over geologic timescales.

Back in the car, up the mountains and happy to be done with the flatlands. Planned on stopping to commemorate the continental divide, but passed it in a tunnel on I-80, and got to Vail before realizing our misfortune. So no ceremonial marking of that great watershed event, only the knowledge that it was all downhill from here.

Lunch in Grand Junction, CO. Stopped to ask for recommendations for “cheap, local, tasty food” at the youth hostel, and some wise-ass offered Taco Bell. Instead went to an excellent pizza place almost under a bridge. Got an excellent large “all-the-way”, with anchovies and Avalanche on tap. Almost finished the damn thing, but we each gave up on our last piece. It made an excellent breakfast the next morning.

Mesa SP, AZ

Mesa Lake State Park (more TBP)

Through Glenwood Canyon, an impressive engineering feat, and a lot of fun to drive. Turned off I-80 at Mesa, expecting a short drive to a campground. Ended up ascending nearly 4,000 feet to the top of the aforementioned Mesa, and nearly running out of gas. Stopped at Jumbo campground, which appeared closed due to the tree across the entrance. But that wasn’t enough to stop the other occupants, and so we joined them. Met three men around a campfire, next to their motorcycles. They had plenty of bourbon, and offered to share. We weren’t about to turn them down, and we joined their party. It turns out they are aircraft engineers at Boeing, and one of them was MIT Aero/Astro class of ’65. We shared stories of our alma mater, and discussed how it had and hadn’t changed over the last forty years. Four drinks later, after exhausting all possible topics of conversation, I stumbled to the tent, and shivered my way to sleep in the cold mountain air. Although I was wearing a well insulated jacket and sleeping in a down bag, I faired better than Marko, who had only a sweatshirt and the car to keep him warm. We resolved to sleep at lower altitudes in the future.