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Seventeen weeks or 119 days, which sounds longer? How about almost four months? If you had told me when I was ten years old, that you were taking me to Disneyland in four months, it would have been excruciating to have to wait so long; but ironically, at this age, when active life ahead looks like a narrow window of time, I will treasure every one of those 119 days of planning and anticipation. Maybe it has to do with how quickly time passes as we age. I read somewhere that there’s a reason time speeds up as we grow older; it’s because our brains form fewer memories which condenses our memories into a fast-motion scene when we review them. Probably pseudo science.

At any rate, my Word Press ramblings serve as a detailed memory that should entertain me when I’m confined to a nursing home but not yet drooling in my laptop.

MFN Tamera expressed an interest in attending her high school reunion, but didn’t want to leave her Mini-Aussie, Lucy behind, which precluded flying from Denver to California. While the idea of leaving my girls behind wasn’t ideal, I offered to fly to Denver and join her for a girl’s auto trip across my beloved desert Southwest. I’ll miss the Wanderlust with it’s cozy bed and efficiency kitchen, but the convenience of popping into a hotel for a hot shower, a clean bed, and mediocre coffee has its appeal too.

I’ve already plotted the itinerary, complete with breaks in the driving (I have very limited tolerance for sitting still), that include hikes, ghost towns, a burned suspension bridge and stops at favorite restaurants. Our first night is four hours from DIA where I land mid-day, so the drive is proportionally long compared to the hike. Rifle Falls State Park should be just perfect for a late afternoon walk. https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/RifleFalls

Our next hotel is in Moab. I’m steeling myself for the changes tourism has brought to this “ugly little town” that Edward Abbey so loved/hated. All of the things that curmudgeon loathed have reproduced themselves exponentially. I usually read parts of Dessert Solitaire before I visit Moab to refresh the sense of loss. I first started going to Moab once a year in the 1980s and each time we turned off the freeway towards this mountain biker’s paradise, my heart would swell as if I were returning to a home I’d known in a previous incarnation. Even then, the scars of human abuse were everywhere, beginning with the uranium tailings that covered many acres at the edge of town, adjacent to the Colorado River (a major source of water for much of Nevada, Arizona, and California). I read recently that there is a clean-up operation in progress. Once it’s completed, a hotel chain will probably build a high-rise on the site. Bring your Geiger counter if you book a room there.

After a hike up Grandstaff Canyon, (formerly known as Nigger Bill Canyon, then renamed Negro Bill Canyon when the trail namers became aware of the offensiveness of the original name, and finally William Grandstaff was appropriately remembered when it was renamed Grandstaff https://moabmuseum.org/william-grandstaff/ ) we will grab a bite to eat in Moab before checking into our sterile, chain hotel. It’s called something reminiscent of a boutique hotel but is probably owned by Hilton. Energy levels permitting, we will do another short hike or stroll the main street, where my favorite bookstore, Back of Beyond, still lives, or so I’m told.

If we can tear ourselves away from the splendors of this scenic area, we will proceed to Escalante where our “cabin” at Yonder awaits. I’m hoping we have the strength, after an afternoon of hiking along the Escalante River, to wander over to the drive-in movie theater for some popcorn in a vintage car. https://www.stayyonder.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3fiPBhCCARIsAFQ8QzVFmlIXRelSKILI0BQ0P4xX_He9DqqaWYT8pvG4-px0GlkBSruYpn8aAiOHEALw_wcB

Another four hour drive, through Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks, to Overton, will bring us to within striking distance of Valley of Fire. It may be too hot for little Lucy and my heat-sensitive niece to hike in June, but VoF lends itself to auto touring as the Big Horn Sheep graze obligingly close to the road and pose for photos when approached.

I will fill you in on all of the exciting events of the trip as they happen. I hope “exciting” is an exaggeration, but as you well know, I do play fast and loose with the truth.