Itineraries, or Better, Travel Mix-Tapes

A lizard in Colorado National Monument

A lizard in Colorado National Monument

My life and my plans have been much less easy to map out. I have had a difficult time finding my own way, let alone, my own road. And oddly enough I have had a much easier time planning out our journey. If I want to go to Colorado, Hawaii, or Iceland, Maps become second nature. I find great places to see, and maybe the planning is easy, because right by my side is Dave. Refining. He is always refining the way. That is what he does. I say, “Let’s take a road trip.” He suggests Colorado. I say, “I want to go on a hike or down by the river, “and he finds me Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Similarly, he tells me, “let’s stay in Grand Junction,” and I suggest the Fairfield Inn. “It has a high TripAdvisor Rating.” I tell him. And moments later, and after some online searching he suggests, “And we have two free Marriott nights.” This is our dance – Itineraries, plans, and compilations — whatever you want to call them. I like Mix-Tapes.

Earlier today, the boys and I found ourselves at at our favorite Vietnamese hole in the wall, Oh Mai, eating our Pho and Banh Mi with our friend, Emily. In between bites of Pork Vermicelli with coconut milk and Beef Brisket Pho, Emily paused and said, “Hey, we are going on a road trip.”
“Where?” I asked.
“Western Colorado.”
The occasion of her visit to my neck of the woods was to buy maps for that very trip. We talked about the deep, dark crevasse of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, about Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, which hosts “the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest,” and how it reminds her of Mese Verde National Monument. The boys and I insisted she consider taking her family tubing down the river in Durango.

The Forum, Rome, Italy

Somewhere between comparing Colorado National Monument to the Grand Canyon and forgetting to tell her about the ginormous polygamous dwelling we saw the last time we drove east of Vernal, UT, Emily paused and said, “Beth, you know we are taking this trip because of you…” Ok. Probably not literally because of me, but when Emily and I stood in Rome’s Forum talking travel. I encourage, “Anyone can do it. And you don’t have to leave the United States.”

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

As we walked from ancient Roman sculptures to an early sunset view of the Coliseum, I continued regaling her with all sorts of information about our trip through Western Colorado. “We live in Utah, and Colorado is like this brother we ignore. Because we have so much in common, we never think to visit.”
Then fast forward to our yummy Oh Mai lunch. Emily liked what I had to say. And I am over the moon that my travel love conveyed. I am really excited for their epic adventure. They are ending with Moab, our beloved pièce de résistance. Take the Delicate Arch Hike. Find the Windows and hike all over them. When you leave, notice the setting sun on the most amazing red rock cliffs, and crazy rock formations. If you get a chance, go to Corona Arch. It is located outside Arches N.P. And when you are driving to Corona Arch, look for the sign that says, “Indian Petroglyphs.” Dude, you literally pull over, and up on the cliffs are all sorts of rock writing. And if you are not completely exhausted, please hike Negro Bill Canyon. Don’t stop half through. Bring lots of water and wear a ton of sunscreen. You must make it to the waterfall. I promise. You will not regret it. Travel well Emily, Nate, and Co.!

Itineraries. I spit them out without knowing I am spitting them out. And if Dave is nearby, which he often is, he will accessorize every road I suggest you take. We are your own Mix-Tape – if that makes any sense. Let me explain. It is our rhythm. I am sure you are not crying right now like I am. I am a big baby when it comes to Dave. And it is hilarious that my own thoughts regarding our cohesive itinerary making/suggesting are currently making misty! Nevertheless, they do.

Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Hey and PS, Emily and Nate, I cannot hear what you call your Mix-Tape. Of course I will leave you a suggestion knowing full well that you guys can do better: “Colorado, our Parallel Universe?”

Side Bar:   Traveling through Eastern Utah and Western Colorado will give you the opportunity to visit many fee-based National Parks and Historic sites.  Consider buying a National Parks Pass. The 2015 price for a National Park’s Pass is $80.