The plan called for 25 hours of driving in 4 days. Nestled in the soft crook of my couch and several beers deep, this seemed completely reasonable.
I left home around 5:00am and headed Southwest towards John's place. Arriving exactly at the time we had agreed on, he was, of course, still asleep. Coffee and insults fixed all that, and we headed out to the canyonlands of eastern Utah.
Hours passed. After the initial excitement of changing lanes and freeways a few times, we arrived at the I-15 freeway, and settled into the mind-numbing rythymns that accompany all that is completely flat and completely straight. We passed Las Vegas, probably the ugliest city in the world during the daylight hours. As my Dad says, "no one chose to live there, that's just where the horses died."
Some several hundred hours later, we arrived in Moab, the mountain bike capital of the world. There actually happened to be a large mountain bike festival the weekend we were there, and there was spandex, shaved legs, and shiny titanium frames for as far as the eye could see. Sights this disturbing should never be observed sober, so we hit up the local brewery.
Despite some strange Mormom law that allows a maximum alcohol content of 3.2% on beer, the beverages were certainly...well, beer-flavored at least, and they eased the pain of a long-ass drive.
Hours later, full, tired, and half-drunk, we stumbled off to bed before visiting the Arches National Park the next morning. And it was worth it:
The next day consisted of waking up early, copious amounts of coffee, political discourse (without anything being resolved), and amazing red-rock scenery throughout Utah and Arizona. We were hauling ass because we were hoping to kayak on Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Sadly, due to some vindictive god, we arrived too late to make this a reality. Thus, we hit up the internetz to come up with a back-up plan. We found a well-reviewed hike in an area that was described as "adjacent to Page, Arizona." Having looked for apartments on craigslist, I should have known that this was an obvious trap.
58 miles later, we found the trail-head just as the sun was starting to go down. If we wanted to catch the sunset, we were going to have to charge up this massive rock fortress at breakneck speed. Sadly, you cannot get to the top of any peak without the trail being mostly uphill, and this became drudgery. I still had visions of getting some prize-winning photo, so I pushed ahead of John and headed for the top.
An hour later, completely alone and lost in my own thoughts, I heard rocks come tumbling down somewhere ahead of me, and it brought me to a complete stop. Either there was a rock slide or...there was something else up there. I stayed still. I waited. Another small shower of rocks above and ahead of me. Terrible thoughts of mountain lions and alligators and yeti's came to the forefront of my mind, and I refused to move a muscle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something big and dark step out of the shadows. MOUNTAIN LION!
Actually...no. Just a mountain goat. Not so awesome as the first mountain alligator ever found, but still cool. We stared at each other, and then went our separate ways.
After getting some good pictures of the sun setting over the hills, we headed back in the darkness with our headlamps, and drove back to the campground..
After conquering mountains and their monsters, we felt the need to get drunk. Thankfully, we were outside the clutches of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and we were able to get all of the hard alcohol and non near-beer that we wanted at some bourgeousie hotel bar back in town.
Celebrations are great, but they make a 10 hour drive back home the next day even more painful than is probably necessary. Great trip.