The Big Trip

Day 5 - Rifle to Byers, Colorado


White Anglo-Saxon Protestant - There's a wasp in my room. We met last night, when he landed on my head. Brushed him away and continued brushing teeth. However, I was too tired to track his movement. By morning, I'd forgotten the presence of our yellow stripe-ed friend. Thus, the surprise when I turned on the shower. Casually grabbed the ice bucket and placed it face-down on the bathroom floor. With him in it. Showered, dressed, packed. Left Mr. Stinger under bucket, however, as a surprise for the maid. Just kidding. Just kidding. I released him outdoors.

Goals - In addition to driving from coast to coast, I've set some other goals for this trip. They include: seeing as many fire stations as possible, stopping at a Wal-Mart store every 92 minutes, leaving each motel room more messy than the last (step one: use all towels), practicing my "Tourette's Bit" in crowded shopping malls, and driving through at least one state without wearing pants. I'll try to take pictures, too, of that last one. So nobody misses out.

Parking Lot Full Of Pick-Up Trucks - Last night, the motel parking lot was filled with pick-up trucks. Some commercial; others privately-owned. They belonged to the "workers," the night clerk noted. (The next morning, I learned of nearby geological and gas-drilling work.) Their presence was also a reassuring sign, at least pour moi, that the night would be whisper-quiet. 'Cause they'd all be bushed, no? I was right.

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Morning - Decline to rifle through Rifle. Ha! Freeway first. Mitch Miller playing on player. Bought at the mall, yesterday. Can't remember if included in this morning's minutia. Drive fast. See stuff. Make stops. Buy gas. Eat food. Photograph a Minnesota woman sleeping in her truck at a visitor's center. See rafters. Visit Glenwood Springs. Shoot fire station and hot springs-powered pool. Get frustrated by town's too many stop signs. Gasp at extreme mountain pass. Gasp again. Stop to snack in Eagle.


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Guy Stuff - Best Beer - Can't advise, don't drink. Best Sports Bar - Haven't seen any Hooters yet. Best Place To Meet Chicks - Can't advise, didn't meet any. Best Place To Watch Women - Wherever your eyeballs are. Best Looking Women, Period - Boise, Idaho and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Most Relaxing Restroom - Denny's in Salina, Utah. Flirtiest Wait Staff - Didn't notice, was too busy taking notes. Stretch Of Interstate Highway Most Likely To Yield A Buxom, Blonde, Porn Star-Looking Hitchhiker - In your dreams, pal.

Ten Great Travel Albums I Wish I Had With Me - AC/DC, "Back in Black"; Asleep at the Wheel, "Ride with Bob"; Any good Wagner "Ring" highlights; Any good Ray Charles compilation; Elvis, "Aloha From Hawaii" (thankyouverymuch); Perez Prado, "Mando Mambo" (Rhino Records compilation); Abba, "Gold"; Any good recording of "The Music Man"; and ZZ Top, "Six-Pack." (Yeah yeah, the 'Top is a cheat. Six early albums in one. So sue me.)

Remaining Lyrics To What's Opera Doc? - There, you're nice and clean, although your face looks like it has been run through a machine. Oh, where do I get the wabbit? What would you want with a Wabbit? Can't you see that I'm much sweeter? I'm your little senor-iter. You are my type of guy, let me straighten your tie, and I will dance for you. [ Simulate subsequent scissors dance at own risk ]

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Afternoon - Eagle, still. Follow fire truck to natural gas leak. Lime-colored. Stop. Gawk. Find firehouse. Shoot mascot-- big black lab-- and mascot's painting on bucket of big, shiny, aerial truck. Pass exits for parks. Stop at Vail. AKA Condo City. Roundabouts instead of stoplights. Visit firehouse. See amazing forest from freeway. Car cannot climb steep hills at 70 mph, I learn. Top of the world, Ma. Vail Pass. 10,000+ feet. Stop at Copper Mountain. Find firehouse but no food. Stop in Frisco for a burger at a McDonald's inside an Optical Center-less Wal-Mart. Rain shower starts. Stop at Eisenhower Tunnel. Ask to see their orange fire trucks. No dice. Too busy. See emergency wrecker race away. Stop in Georgetown, to shoot firehouse and railway trestle. Drive through Empire, trying to find railroad tunnel. No dice. Nearly witness wreck near Denver.


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Colorado Puns - Do hungry mountaineers gorge when they eat? Do horny, high-altitude road builders make passes? Do spendthrift skiers think most prices are steep? Do short resort owners wear ski-lifts? Do police-people ski on Copper Mountain? Does someone who can write with their butt cheeks use an Aspen? Do all mattresses made in this state contain Colorado Springs? And, finally, if the person who tallies the number of steep drop-offs also cans their own produce and is very smart, would they be called a... Canny Canning Canyon Counter?

Names Of Strangers That I've Talked To - Bob, Carol, Ted, Alice, Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Geppo, Archie, Edith, George, Weezie, Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley, Melanie, Bubbles, Blossom, Buttercup, George, Paul, John, Ringo, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, Eddie, Alex, Michael, David, Sammy, Gary, Ozzy, Tony, Geezer, Bill, Bing, Bob, Hank, Hank Jr, Mork, Mindy, Laverne, Shirley, Ren, datinghell, Wallace, and Gromit.

Favorite Rock Formations (In Order Of Appearance) - That one; the other one; the one after that; the one after the one after that; the round one; the short one; the fat one; the fat, short, round one; the third one from the middle; the second one from the end; and the one with all the rocks.

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Evening - Exit in West Denver. Park and collect thoughts on computer. Also search files for name and number of high school person who lives here, having inadvertently tossed the printed copy. No dice. Borrow phone book but can't remember exact name. Must search online files. Need phone line. Visit three hotel lobbies before finding same. Call, arrange meeting, and promptly take wrong road. Change meeting place.


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Get there. Find meeting place no longer exits. She spots the Great Grape. Eat at Black-Eyed Peas, across street. I have porky chops, fries, salad, and a lame ice-cream sundae. She brings her 13 year-old daughter. I successfully interface. Part ways within hour. Roam Mile-High City for a stretch, then head east. Fewer motels with fewer vacancies. Find a $50 "double" at a no-name in a non-town named Byers. I'll advise if Norman Bates makes an appearance.

Wildfire Sighting - While in West Denver, I spot smoke and a bit of orange flame near the top of an adjacent hill. Or, more accurate, near the top of a "mini mountain." Since I'm headed in that direction (the wrong direction, it turned out), I continue, albeit with added acceleration. Smoke drifts down, to the buildings far below. (It's two or three miles away, as the crow flies.) Red lights in rear mirror. Look behind. Fire vehicle approaches. Look up. Orange dots double, then disappear. Look behind. Red lights no longer flashing. Damn. Must've been extinguished. And probably was started by the lightning seen less than an hour ago.

Track Listing Of Sing-Along With Mitch - That Old Gang of Mine; Down by the Old Mill Stream; By the Light of the Silvery Moon; You Are My Sunshine; Till We Meet Again; Let the Rest of the World Go By; Sweet Violets; I've Got Sixpence/I've Been Working on the Railroad/That's Where My Money Goes; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; Don't Fence Me In; There is a Tavern in the Town/Show Me the Way to Go Home; Bell Bottom Trousers; Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends.

Revised Itinerary - Since a certain math (education) major can't even add, these are the cities that I'm more likely to be sleeping in: Hays, Kansas (Day 6, Saturday), Boonville, Missouri (Day 7, Sunday), Columbus, Indiana (Day 8, Monday), north of Charleston, West Virginia (Day 9, Tuesday), and in or around Alexandria, Virginia (Day 10, Wednesday), if I opt for a Raleigh return on Thursday morning. Number of miles remaining: 1622. Number of remaining miles to be traveled each day: 330.

Total mileage today: 329

Total mileage total: 1768

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
 


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