Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day Four

We've finally arrived at our first destination in Colorado. Today was our shortest day of driving thus far and while most people would consider Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado as among the most boring drives in the country we enjoyed the novelty of the emptiness for today at least.

Early in our drive we were scanning the horizon and said, "What's that way ahead? Are those tall buildings?" After awhile we determined that we were coming up on a wind farm--the first we'd ever seen. When we first saw the wind farm we were 14 miles away and the wind farm was to our right for 30 miles of driving. Eric and I are lovers of history and have been talking quite a bit the last few days about the first settlers of the West. To put this wind farm sighting--and our speed relative to a covered wagon--in perspective, a settler in a wagon would have traveled almost two full days between first seeing the wind farm and getting to it and then would have traveled alongside it for three or four days. The wind farm, of course, wasn't there in the nineteenth century, but you get my point. I think the Kansas prairie probably seemed a lot bigger at two-miles-per hour.

We got off the interstate a little ways before the Colorado border and traveled on a fast but smaller road. The route had been suggested by my dad whose house we are staying at. It was amazing. There were several points where our vistas--for miles and miles and miles--included no sign of civilization other than the road we were on. Most of the time there were at least some utility poles or another car but not always. There was no place to get lunch so we ate cold leftover Chinese food from the night before, very grateful that we'd packed it in our cooler for the drive.

And here is Margaret at the "rest stop" mid-afternoon:

I took a ton of pictures of her getting blown to bits. She loved the wind and the prairie grass and was running all around. Even William seemed to be excited about the location. Joseph and Margaret professed a desire to live on the prairie in the middle of nowhere.

Colorado began as a continuation of Kansas but changed before long into a high-desert landscape. On a not-particularly clear day we first spotted Pike's Peak about 70 miles away. And, again, we reflected that a pioneer in a covered wagon would have seen nothing but flat land for weeks and weeks and weeks and then one day would see this mountain looming up out of the prairie and still take more than a week to reach it. And we did it in about an hour. Amazing.

I don't know if I'll keep up this daily journal of our travels but I know at least a few readers are enjoying it. The kids are in a wedding this weekend and we will be busy with that for a few days. But I promise to be back before too long. And next Tuesday we'll be back on the road again and headed to Minnesota.

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