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March 29, 1999
a year ago

God's Country

Much more driving today, lots of it, too. Through Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming we went, just bombing along. It turns out that the best thing is just to set the cruise control a few miles above the speed limit and just let the van use the mind it owns. That was one funny thing, that the van, on cruise control really has a mind of its own, and does all the shifting and accelerating and flogging the engine one might normally do, or not do quite so thoroughly on the passes.

We woke a bit late, I was so exhausted from the weeks before that nearly any sleep I get is something I value, so I slept in a bit while I could. Breakfast, though, was well worth getting up for. The Amber Inn in Bliss is, I think, the only restaurant/motel combination off the exit for Bliss, and the restaurant that is part of the 66 station and the rest of the combination is an absolutely excellent breakfast place. We went in and had just the best breakfast we've had in quite a while. Crisp hash brown, lovely crisp edged bacon, eggs done exactly as ordered, evenly browned toast, and biscuits and gravy to just savor. I loved the crisp edged, tender bodied biscuit and the gravy was rich and savory and had nice chunks of sausage to chew on. It was well worth having to wake up.

They even threw in a free travel coffee for John.

The road and country we traveled through was mostly desolate, desert and scrub brush, worn rock canyons and all kinds of dirt. There were areas that were all sage green, not just the vegetation, but all the rocks, land, and water were all this odd shade of pale, grey green. That was really odd. It was nearly a relief to get out into the parts of Utah that were red rock and eventually out to Salt Lake City, where there were mountains ringing, on all sides the farm country. Then out where as far as the eye could see, valleys were all converted to farmland between ragged mountain peaks.

There were lots of flat places as well. Just road ribboning ahead as far as the eye could see, disappearing in the shimmer of heat haze on the road.

It was all dry and clear and nearly sunny. Not blazingly sunny where we would have died from the heat, but just sunny enough that everything was warm and dry. Enough cloud cover to keep it cool. But all the passes and all the areas that might normally be closed by a snow storm were all clear and easy to get through.

I could, however, see, as I drove, why someone might call this God's Country. With all the lush farm land in all the valleys and the mountains brooding above, and with the blue, blue sky shining and the waters running in all directions in rivers so wide you could see much of the sky in them. I could see why. It was just so beautiful, and with the tall mountains in all directions, it felt like Something Bigger was just always watching. Perhaps something physical like the moutains, but with all the old sense of faith, there might also have been something more, with an emotional weight that massed just as much as those bulks of rock.

Emotionally, I was doing better. It is all now up in the air and free-fall is nearly weightless. I had nothing more to really worry about other than driving, nothing more that I could do to affect either end of the move. There were no calls I had to make, no things I had to get done other than get to Boulder by Tuesday afternoon. So, I did the one thing I could do, which was drive.

John does the bulk of the phone calls when we have to make them. They aren't quite the problem, for him, the way they are for me. I just hate calling people, on the most part, and he does a great job of just getting it done and talking with people and making sure that things are communicated in a way that actually gets across. So I thought I'd do most of the work of driving so that he'd be fresh for that kind of stuff, and then I'd have done *something* for the trip. So I took most of the driving for the afternoon and early evening.

When we crossed the border into Wyoming, the world changed, it turned all into prairie. Gold grass in all directions. There is a speed limit on the roads there, but I don't really know why. It's all flat and straight and easy. Hours later, as the sun was going down, we saw a sign for Laramie, and I blearily thought that I recognized the name, but hadn't a clue why. It was only a few days later that I had the brain chill of remembering exactly why I remembered it with all the publicity about the trial of the killing at the University of Wyoming.

But as we pulled in, I was just tired. So we settled into another AAA approved little hotel, and drove off to a AAA restaurant called the Calvaryman, which had steaks as their main offering. This really is beef country. For the price of a regular steak dinner we got immense slabs of meat along with a salad bar, deep fried mushrooms, drinks, baked potato, bread, crackers, soup, vegetables, and our choice of nearly two dozen different desserts. None of it was particularly spectacular, but as a whole it was amazing.

We got back to the hotel and watched the weather report and found that the passes we'd just gotten through were steadily closing behind us, one by one. The snow was following us but at a rate that wasn't quite as fast as we were outrunning it. John also called ahead and found out that we didn't even really have to be in Boulder on Tuesday as the sellers weren't really going to be able to be there until Wednesday. So we had a whole day to make just a few more miles, and could play in the predicted sunny day.

Sleep itself was uneasy for me. Too many new sounds, too many differences, and all the tension of the drive still in my bones and mind.

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