Thursday, November 14, 2013

Purple Mountain Majesties

Leaving the fruited plain behind, October 19, 2013: Day Three...

Up before the sun I drove south on Interstate 25 to Denver, where I had breakfast with two friends of my younger days, both named Steve.  Steve Jacksteit was a peer at Signetics in the days before 811 E. Arques, Sunnyvale, California, became the parking lot of a Home Depot.  Steve Belecky was my tenacious investigator during my stint at Silicon Graphics Inc in the days when it still made the go to UNIX box for 3D graphics and other computationally intensive applications.  We enjoyed breakfast and coffee and the retelling of our best and favorite stories.  Then I was back on the road this time headed west on Interstate 70 over the Rockies (and through the Eisenhower Tunnel) to Grand Junction.  There the helpful fellas at the Chamber of Commerce suggested I take an alternate route to the goal of my day's excursion.  In 1985, when I drove from Minnesota to California, I passed the sign marking the turn to Arches National Park, telling myself I'd be back some day.  Well, 28 years later is some day I guess, so this time I made up my mind to visit the park.  The scenic drive the volunteers at the visitor center recommended was Utah State Route 128 and boy, is it scenic!  The nondescript two lane road crosses over land for a time before descending into a deep, winding canyon cut by the Colorado River.  This route through weathered red sandstone treats the sightseer to steep turns, steep cliffs, and blind corners without shoulders.  Scenic indeed, especially if you like watching white knuckles on the steering wheel.  It let me out in Moab, Utah, a few miles south of Arches.  The sun was approaching the horizon as I entered the park so I did not have time to visit the entire place.  Still, I encountered some arches.  I am in the desert now.

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