Thursday, September 15, 2011

Road Babe Dispatch From Wyoming

We're starting our road trip in Colorado. We aren't quite sure where it'll go. As my buddy and I cruise Highway 14 West out of Fort Collins and snowy Long's Peak disappears in the rearview, he says, “Are you gonna drive and write at the same time? That looks so dangerous.”

“Fair enough.” We swap spots in Poudre Canyon, where I'm supposed to pay to pee. I see the bathroom in the back next to the fryer. The attendant asks with drawn in eyebrows, “Going camping?” I sneak out the side door (propped open with a trash can). I'm not gonna be bullied into paying to piss.

Further out, we see a sign: "Avalanche conditions may exist." Longdraw road is closed. Joe Wright reservoir is frozen. Snow-packed conifers outline a barrier to the alabaster peaks. “Thanks for driving. It's hard to write and ...”

“ at the same time? Yeah, I can imagine.” When I look up, there's an eagle above the sun roof. We'd decided to take the long way on scenic by-roads to get an authentic sense of the land. Pretty soon, we take 191 North into Utah.

It's summer by the green river. A giant pink-dinosaur sign marks our arrival at Vernal, where we pause for gas at the Kum & Go. Kids are photographing a wooly mammoth. “It's hard to imagine Plieosaurs here,” I tell Eddie.

Around Pinedale Wyoming, the asphalt skins our back right tire at 110 mph. We're a slow fifty miles out of town. We grab a motel room, because it's late and we don't wanna ride a doughnut through national park at night. A grey woman with a weather-beaten face serves as our interrogator. My friend sweet talks the roach-motel room for half-rate. One serious rule: no dogs. “No problem,” he waves her off like a fly.

I smuggle Shakespeare (my 25 pound dog) in swaddled arms, thankful he never barks. Once it's all said and done, getting a beer is an easy sell, considering the state of the vehicle. There's a strong moon out in Wyoming. Bottoms Up bar has a sign made of stacked kegs. It's calling us to turn our glasses upside down. We sip draft pints while our waitress drinks gin and carouses with patrons. When she comes by the table, we ask her about a place to get a new tire. “You from a-round here?” she slurs.

“No.” So, naturally Ginny says our brews are on the house. Whether she's loaded or serious, we don't ask and drink up.

Waking up in Wyoming with a flat means we have to find an open tire store on Memorial Day. We quickly realize Ginny was full of shit and nothing's open. Plus, we're deathly hung-over. We ride the donut 80 miles to Jackson Hole, where we buy a newbie and drive to our first intentional destination.

Grand Teton National Park has a series of jagged icecaps above verdant glacial valleys. Sharp peaks press against one another. They know secret stories of landslides, avalanches and the full-faced sun or moon.

Almost immediately, the Tetons give way to different terrain. No emerald and sapphire of fall. No white reflection of winter. Yellowstone is filled with orange and blue geothermic mist and bison rolling off tufts of their thick coats in dust. Newborn calves watch. These matchstick trees don't compare to the wooded Teton glory. All we can think of is: where to next? “Montana.”

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.

1 comment:

  1. my name is jose arturo rios velazquez
    the road is incredible and mountainous