Journey Through the Desert Pt. 1

{by Daniel}

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” – Isabelle Eberhardt

Sunday June 4th, 2017. 8am.

I quickly rubbed the sleep from my eyes, headed downstairs and got the coffee going. It was the first day of a long awaited journey southwest and although I hadn’t slept much, I was feeling very much alive. I’d been to the Rockies plenty, driven all the way through them on Interstate 70 a few times… but this time we wouldn’t be stopping for gigs and rundown hotels. This time was different.

I poured a mug full to the brim and found Amy at the door, as focused and determined as I’d ever seen her. It was time, finally. We rounded up the rest of the gear we hadn’t packed the night before, strapped the bikes up and headed west, glad to be going far from this tired old slaughtertown.

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The Plan

While the ultimate mission was to take Bonnie where she had dreamed of going in life, we both needed some true adventure; free from the oppressing nature of a profit-driven society, and timestamps, and bills and the never ending chatter of cell phones. We needed to feel human again, that is, connected to this planet, resonant with its winds. To taste the gritty dirt in our teeth, to roam freely as wild animals do. To follow our hearts and spirits and trust in our innate ability to just be.

We had eight days and roughly 3,000 miles ahead of us.

The first stop was Denver, naturally, to visit our lifelong friend Joel, his wonderful partner Alex, and his little Welsh Terrier, Bradley. Amy whipped up some amazing spaghetti and meatballs that night and we shared all sorts of stories, ideas, business concepts, laughs, you name it. (Visit the Conversations to hear a clip). Joel and Alex are the kind of people you want in your corner. They truly make you feel warm and accepted. While it would’ve been nice to spend another day or two with them, we had a lot of road ahead of us and so we made our way further the next morning.

The drive to Moab, Utah was a shorter one than the day before. We decided it best to take our time getting there so we could set up camp in the evening when it started to cool down a bit. Along the way there are plenty of worthwhile stops.

The Colorado Rockies have always felt like home to me. From the steep, snow-capped peaks, to the rushing rivers of their melt, the whole experience is always liberating. To come from a landscape so manufactured by mankind and to find yourself in a place only a few animals can actually live instantly starts to rewire the brain. It’s refreshing to say the least.

Stopping for lunch at a small lake just off I-70

Further down the road, we pulled off in the small statutory town of Eagle, Colorado. We got a tour at the Eagle County Historical Society’s museum (ECHS Website) from a lovely older gentleman named Greg who told us the story of how the Ute people found their way into the area and how Eagle got its name. See video for his story:

Checking out Eagle River

Feeling satisfied with our time in Eagle, we thought it best to get moving again further westward.  In doing a little homework for the trip, I had come across Rifle Falls State Park. It came highly recommended and we still had plenty of time to get to Moab. Sure, getting there would add an extra hour of drive time, but it was 100% worth it.

The park is pretty small (only 0.19km²) but it features a 70ft triple water fall, limestone caves, all manners of wildlife including three species of bats, trails, camping, and even an old brick stage with seating! One trail will lead you right behind the main waterfall and the mist, while a little chilly, is totally refreshing after sitting in the car for hours. Here’s the Wikipedia page if you want to learn more. If you ever get the chance, I definitely recommend making the stop.

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When we got behind the main fall, it was clear to both of us that this was a truly special place. Amy seemed especially moved by its tranquil beauty and felt this was a perfect spot to leave some of Bonnie’s ashes. After a little prep work, she picked a small pool that formed in the soil and gently laid a small amount into it. We carved her mother’s name into the soft, wet ground (it will eventually wash away and we were careful to not leave any permanent markings). We stayed for a moment, calm in knowing that this is a place she would have loved to see.

It was time to go. We got back in the car and headed west again. After stopping in Grand Junction for some provisions, we finished the drive to Moab. Joel and Alex told us of Lone Mesa Campground situated on BLM land and about thirty minutes outside of town. We arrived there shortly after sunset. It was great that we couldn’t see much of anything while driving in because it made for a pleasant surprise when we realized how gorgeous the landscape was the next day.

We got our spot set up quite efficiently, had a fire and some grub, some conversation and shortly made our way to sleep. It had been a busy day, and we had plenty of adventure ahead.

Lone Mesa Campground outside of Moab, Utah