Utah: left behind, and it was awesome

Posted by jdg | Friday, August 25, 2006 |

Last night we were driving on a small state road on the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado, through a district of polebarns with corrugated steel roofs offering used office furniture and granite countertops starting at $45 per foot, when a SUV drove fast across a dirt lot, stirring up clouds of dust, and I asked Wood what day it was. The 23rd, she said, and as she said it we both realized it was our third wedding anniversary. The sun was already setting, the baby in the backseat wanted us to find a motel "now! please!" and it seemed that in the frenzy of packing and traveling we had forgotten more than just the small gifts we ordinarily exchange: we had forgotten the significance of this date altogether.

So we splurged and got a room in a great hotel. I can't stay in another Motel 6 like the one where we spent the night in Winnemucca. That Motel 6 had a beer bottle opener screwed to the bathroom counter. This was its only amenity. And when Wood wanted to drink her 22-oz bottle or Russian "Ursus" beer, she found it useful. Last night we stayed with the Matics whose hospitality, as I told Stefanie when we parted, was positively Homeric. Remember in the Odyssey, when Telemachus goes to visit Menelaus and Helen, and there is that long description of Menelaus' generous hospitality? Well Menelaus didn't give Telemachus his own king-sized bed. How could we stay in another Motel 6 after staying in a beautiful home filled with toys and boys Juniper loved?

As we reflected on our anniversary that we didn't know was our anniversary, we decided it was still a pretty good day. We saw Mormon ground zero, where we posed Juniper in all kinds of blasphemous spots. We went to Liberty Park's playground, which was the nicest we've ever seen. Juniper then drew with a green marker all over the face of the beautiful little girl who has probably occupied more bandwidth than any other baby in the world (and Leta still shared some of her M&Ms and Wheat Thins). And then we drove across southeastern Utah and its breathtaking scenery. Wood did get a migraine when we hit I-70, but Juniper didn't scream too hard in the hundred miles to Grand Junction. That was a blessing.

In a few minutes we're going to head east towards Denver. Traveling with a toddler truly does suck. But they sleep, and there are a lot of nice people to see along the way.