From Sedona, we flew across the 40 to Albuquerque, New Mexico where we made our way through a couple of local breweries and a pizza stop for greasy calzones and Italian sandwiches. It always amazes me how one can go from the slow, leisurely pace of hiking, to the nutty speeds allowed by our nation’s interstate system. We live in a remarkable world.
Thinking that Santa Fe would be a nice stopping point for the night before making the final miles north on I25 to Denver, we found a no-frills motel room on the outskirts of town. After dropping our bags and looking-up directions, we meandered up to the local brewery for the last of some live music and a few small samples of malted barley.
Over drinks, we made conversation with a local ceramicist-sculptor and heard about his escape from Yale into the art world. Lucky bastard. Then feeling friendly, I overheard another local talking about a particular hot springs feature outside of West Yellowstone, Montana, in Yellowstone National Park. Having spent a summer there that I still feel an overwhelming bit of nostalgia for, I entered his conversation. But this man, unlike our new artist friend, really wanted nothing to do with tourists. He turned a cold shoulder to me.
Back in the car, I spent the ride to our motel ranting and raving about how some people can just be arrogant and cruel. As we entered our room, my ranting continued, only to be halted by the nauseating smell of disinfectant. In our hurried rush out the door earlier, I’d missed this fine aroma. I began wondering if we were staying in the room of a chain smoker or the recently deceased. Regardless of the cause, the odor stirred up a migraine, and the pillow stuffed with cardboard didn’t help with a bad night’s sleep.
Woah. Here I am complaining about travel.
I romanticize about the road constantly. I love the joy of movement. I love seeing new communities and the gathering of all types at local breweries and restaurants. I bask in unfamiliar natural spaces. I thrive in foreign cities, and places that feel far from home.
But the miles eventually become long. The interactions with strangers become slower, greasier, edgier. We suddenly pine for our own space, our own routine and rhythm, our own well-ventilated sleeping quarters.
So we must eventually trek home, happy, content, satisfied with another adventure, well aware that the highway is near-by, that the Road Line Yellow enthusiastically awaits our return.