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Being with MKL (who is a car guy extraordinaire) has enhanced my passion for the road. I’ve always loved road trips. I’ve always loved ANY trip. But under his tender influence, I’ve come to appreciate the curves, the straightaways, the texture of the road, and the personality and performance of my truck more than I ever have before. Our second date was a drive. He picked me up and suggested we drive up to Leadville, which is about two and a half hours away. I knew he was testing whether I was genuine about my love of driving and going places, and if we did well in a car together for an extended period of time, and I did not disappoint. Our five-hour round trip turned into an eight-hour round trip. We discovered a shared love of opera, and he put his hand on my knee after asking permission. It is still one of our favorite shared memories.

So on trips like Kelsea’s and mine this past weekend, I get on a stretch of road and think how he would feel about it. He would love to drive the road in this image, and I am looking forward to sharing it with him.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

Daily gratitudes:
Seeing MKL after an absence (or really any time)
Morning walks
Books
Peanuts
Crickets

Kelsea and I have returned to the real world of school and work. We had a fantastic time on our sojourn in Utah, and I drove 1000 miles in the last four days. Every mile was full of sights, talk, laughter, and love. Utah is beautiful and we would definitely go back, but perhaps in the spring or fall. I got a mild case of heatstroke on our one major hike attempt  — and I realized how much I need to pump up my cardiovascular system. One of the things I liked the most about Utah, aside from its beauty, was the honesty of its signage. When a sign says “Heat Kills”, it means it. And when a sign says 30 miles per hour (on a curve), it’s not kidding. I’m looking forward to sharing the beauty of this wonderful place with you through pictures.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “Some say a sunset can be too beautiful for words.I’d agree with that.There are a lot of things too beautiful for words for me.To me, it was the earth’s way of saving the best for last.” — Shey Stahl

Daily gratitudes:
Kelsea
The marvels of nature
Music
Adventures
Taking side roads

Kelsea and I are on our annual mother-daughter Labor Day trip. She’s now able to cross another state off her list – Utah. I’ve been here before but never spent a night, so I guess now it can really count.

Our first impressions of Utah:

It’s dark. Really, really dark. Of course, it is night.

Right after the “Welcome to Utah” sign, was a sign for the “Trail Through Time”. If it hadn’t been so dark, we would have taken it. And it made me think of Dr. Who.

Shortly after that sign was a sign that said “Eagles on Highway”. What?! No!

Followed thereafter by towns with such intriguing names as Cisco and Yellowcat. None of which offered any services. And were completely dark.

Utah has very nice, smooth roads. Truck kept zipping up to 85 all by itself.

The shift in energy when we passed from Colorado to Utah was tangible. Not unpleasant, just different. Perhaps I will be able to put it into words after a bit more time here.

We know we were driving through someplace magnificent, but that darn darkness prevented us from seeing what it was. It reminded me of when MKL and I went to Monument Valley – when we arrived at night, we had no inkling of what beauty we were missing.

 

In the course of our seven hour drive from home, we avoided running over a coffeemaker and a pair of gym socks, and did not see any chupacabras. I have been up for almost 40 hours now, and so it’s time for me to go to bed. Photos tomorrow.

 

I love classic cars. We seem to have an abundance of classic car shows in Colorado during the summer, and I haven’t made it to a single one this year! Next year, I’m determined to create a calendar in advance so I can schedule Job #3 around at least a few of them. We found this gem in New Mexico, and MKL was super happy to sit in it. It reminded him of the truck in which his grandfather taught him to drive on the farm in Kansas when he was a small boy. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to find a great classic truck of our very own when we get a little more space around us. Ours is out there somewhere!

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” — Anne Frank

Daily gratitudes:
The duck umbrella handle peeking from the lady’s purse on the bus
Sherlock Holmes
Sleep
That Janalee got a new job!
Watching internet cat videos with Kelsea

We sat on this porch in a pair of white wooden rocking chairs and listened to the wind in the sea oats and the waves lapping at the sand and said we could have been content there for hours.

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Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

Quote: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”  —  William Shakespeare

Daily gratitudes:
That MKL and I are now formally  and officially engaged!
A day to relax
Patterns of sunshine
Happiness
Downpours

Because a day can start out really lousy, and wind up with skies like this.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” — Nora Roberts

Daily gratitudes:
The smell of warm asphalt
Glowing rain clouds
Helping others
MKL
The man in the elevator who cheerfully took the earful I gave him when he asked me how my morning was going

Elk are abundant, as are deer – moreso than I recall in my 34 years in Colorado. Last weekend, driving back from work at about 10:30 at night, I came across a car that had just hit a large elk. The occupants were two grandparents (about my age!), their four-year old grandson and their small dog. The grandfather had climbed down the embankment to find the dying elk (not a wise move) and the grandmother, little boy and dog were standing in the dark by the side of the road. Pieces of their car were scattered across the highway and the entire front passenger side was crushed. Others had stopped, but had moved on when they realized there were no injuries. That felt wrong to me, so I stayed with the trio on the side of the road, kicked the debris out of the road using moonlight as a guide so no one else would have an accident, distracted the lady with talk of random things, made the little boy laugh, held the dog while she helped her grandson put on some warm clothes, and tucked them all in my truck until the police came to help. They were from the city, and were scared and shocked. And very, very lucky. As I left them, she said, “You’ll never know what a lifesaver you were tonight.” And I wished them blessings.

The moral of this story is, if you are driving in the mountains, especially at night, keep a weather eye out. Elk are quick and slow at the same time. Go slower than you think you should, keep your lights on bright when you can, and look for their eyes – that gleam is usually what your headlights will catch. Let’s keep you – and these beautiful creatures – safe and sound.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.” —  Peter Matthiessen

Daily gratitudes:
The 3-year old Bronco fan with his mohawk on the shuttle
The man in the straw boater hat
Lunch with MKL
My wedding boots
Love

Giving you a peaceful image to end (or start) your day. It has been a week full of emotions for many of us, and I have been thinking a lot about the origin of our feelings, both good and bad, and the direction in which it seems our world is headed. But I think those words are for another day.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Body tension will always be present if our good feeing is just ordinary, self-centered happiness. Joy has no tension in it, because joy accepts whatever is as it is.” — Charlotte Joko Beck

Daily gratitudes:
My dental hygienist, Kim
A freezer with eight bags of roasted green chiles
How leaves turn over before it rains
Keeping the migraine at bay today
Knowing that my daughter has strong opinions about the world she lives in – and that she cares

 

My old friend Vernon on Anegada told me that in Bermuda, where he came from, they called these cirrus clouds Mare’s Tails. Although with his Bermudian English, still hanging on after more than 80 years, it took me a while to figure out what he was saying — the way he pronounced it sounded like “Marstels”. I seem to recall him telling me that they were a portent of a change in the weather. These are a beautiful example in the unique and magical blue of a New Mexico sky.

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”  —  Lauren Bacall

Daily gratitudes:
That my voice sounds like Lauren Bacall when I get a cold
The ambulance drivers singing “Happy Birthday” to some unseen party over their loudspeaker
Hot air balloons in the morning
Pumpkin flowers
Old movies when I’m exhausted

The evening we had a girls trip through Rocky Mountain National Park was magical and it was wonderful to spend time with my ‘sister’. I think we drove my niece and Kelsea, who were in the car behind us, crazy because we were stopping every 500 feet to take pictures, some of which I have shared with you before.

The beauty and openness of the space at the top of the mountains lets me breathe and reminds me how much life is always worth living. There is always beauty. You just have to look for it.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”  — Agatha Christie

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling sorrow and knowing it will ease
Making soup
Mr. Man
Seeing MKL for the first time in three days
Returnable milk jugs

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