When Aspen Isn't a Code Name

May 31

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It would be a lie if I said that I slept like a baby. As a matter of fact, the mariachi band last night didn't really help, but maybe I am programmed to waking up a few times per night, thanks to Sparty; or I am wired to waking up at 7, expecting Rachel to be marching into our bedroom demanding milk. At any rate I checked out early and went looking to buy the things which I forgot to pack. Firstly, I forgot to shave and already now looked like a member of some fundamental faith. (aren't you proud of my phrasing?) Secondly, I needed an audio Aux cable for the Sirius receiver which I got from Paul. The FM transmitter isn't really up to snuff, especially if you have the alternative.

According to Paul's nüvi, there isn't a Wal-Mart in the state of Colorado (the nearest one was listed in Nebraska); however, a K-mart was only a mile away. There I found among other things disposable shavers, right next to the American flags. I guess being cleanly shaved is a sign of patriotism these days.

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With everything purchased I was on my way to Baggs, WY, via the aforementioned scenic route. Overall I have received many tips for my route from folks at Fred Miranda. Having traveled to this general region almost countless times, this part of the trip was to be done quickly. I only stopped for some mining ruins, and later for a collection of very old, rusty cars. See, I know better and to not trespass, but sometimes you simply have to; besides, it's hard to ask for permission if you don't know who to ask. Never mind that these cars were happily rusting pretty much right by the road. Needless to say, after about five minutes a pickup arrived and the guy told me that "I can take all the pictures I want, but I should have called the number that's posted on the huge sign by the road first" -- not necessarily using this very language. My pointing out that even if I did have cell phone coverage the number was unreadable was not greeted with agreement (can you read it?). Nevertheless, I could complete my adventure and I even lived to tell you about it.

Making my way across Rabbit Ears Pass I ran into some snow on the ground. I miss snow, so I immediately wandered off onto the snowy / wet plains, further proving my brilliance by not wearing my boots, which were safely stowed in the trunk. This way I got to enjoy the snow really up close and personal.

Heading further towards Baggs I made a detour to the Routt National Forest. Not much of a forest, but tons of aspens and little flowers which were just peeking up after the snow had melted. Mmm, trees and juicy grass. How I miss that. Spent some quality time with all the aspens, water, and flowers. Happy times.

Given that the good light was almost gone and I still had ways to go, I went back on the main road and continued further towards Baggs. It was funny but not surprising to find barely any cell phone coverage, and if then just voice and no Edge or even GPRS. So while I wasn't cool enough to have one of the new 2nd generation 3G iPhone prototypes (because they were handed out while Sparty was just learning how to make our lives miserable) I don't think I would have that much use for one here, anyway.

Once in Baggs I found that this was yet another example of a dot on the map where the dot over promises. The one open motel wanted $60 per night, cash only, and it looked like it was about to collapse. It was for sale, too; maybe the $60 was for buying it, I am not sure - after all the Empire State Building sold for a buck not so long ago (or was it the Chrysler building? Either way, nicer than this motel). At any rate, I was not ready to stay here, with no cell phone coverage and most importantly with the main (planned) route out still closed due to winter conditions. So I punched in the alternate route and Paul's nüvi told me that an hour later I should find civilization, with everything.

I arrived in Rawlins and easily found shelter. Same price, but on a different quality level for sure, even with free high speed internet access. Or so they said: it was definitely free, but not much of an access - forget high speed. The recommended bar & grill right next door looked a wee bit suspicious to me, so I proceeded to end of town to Cappy's Diner. The name was just one character away from bad news, but I saw it as a challenge and ordered the sirloin steak with the soup of the day. If nothing else, they actually did have WiFi that truly deserved the name "high speed". Ladies and gentlemen, I can't remember when was the last time that I ate so well in a roadside diner. The food was awesome, and so was the service. The bubbly nameless waitress was happy to hear that I keep coming to their state to visit, and that I shall come visit them again. Not sure that Rawlins will be on my route anytime soon, but if you're in the hood, go eat there. You may be pleasantly surprised.

After filling my tummy I also filled the Corolla: 11.5 gallons for 395 miles. You do the math; I can't, I am too afraid. I just know my car usually won't do half that much.

The only thing I picked up from the TV in the hotel room was an ad for the local K2 abc TV station: every Wednesday morning, beef cooking tips with this blonde woman. Now that's the right spirit.

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