We woke in a Walmart parking lot, which was beginning to become another familiar place on the trip. Quickly, we jumped out of bed to make breakfast in the empty spot next to us and brush our teeth inside. Conrad changed the oil while I got the bus ready for takeoff again.
The bus found herself back on i-70 heading further west toward Utah. The scenery seemed to change every mile we pushed on. The warm browns and forest greens of the Rockies blended into the bright red rocks in the desert. We were now entering the land of deep canyons and dry tumbleweed.
“Hmm it looks like we just landed on Mars”
“Maybe we should be calling this a rocket ship instead”
Eventually it got too hot to drive any further, so we headed to Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction to stop for the night. The road to the park winded up a red mountain and through tunnels until we reached the top of a canyon. A quick hike around the rim showed us the town on the horizon and massive red boulders below us. After the bus cooled off for a few hours, we picked out a private spot in the campgrounds and got ready for lunch. I was grateful for the icy cold shower I took in the shade of a desert pine (I think it had been a week since my last one).
After dinner, we wandered around the park to find a good place to watch the sunset. Hues of orange and red danced on the rocks as she fell further and further in the sky. It was our last night in Colorado and I reflected on all the unexpected turns in the road we had so far. The times we were broken down on the side of the road. The times I wanted to turn around, but Conrad pushed me further on the trail. Even the times when I didn’t get to shower for a week and has an ever-present layer of dirt on my feet. Colorado had been good to us, but it was time to keep driving west.
The next morning we woke at sunrise and quickly said goodbye to the first leg of our journey before the sun threatened the long drive ahead of us. Back down the mountain we went towards i-70.
“Welcome to Utah!” we both screamed as the bus chugged across the border into a new state.
We veered left on a scenic byway towards Moab, UT for our next stop at Arches National Park. Every turn offered stunning new canyons and mesas that were glowing in the morning light. We squealed with delight as we entered the Wild Wild West. The road followed the Colorado River as it offered the only oasis in the desert. It was like we found ourselves on a new planet.