Friday, August 21, 2009

Who You Callin' a Westward Ho?

Last week D. and I took a (much-needed) very short vacation out West. D. had never seen the mountains nor the Southwest. I hadn't been since Stella was a baby. So we (and by "we" I mean "D.") did a TON of driving and left Tuesday night at midnight and drove all night (*cue Cyndi Lauper*). Below is the map of our route:

View Western Vacation in a larger map

It was fantastic and we needed a get-away after the madness of summer and my being gone for 11 days on the bus trip to Washington D.C. It was so good to just have fun together and talk and see new things.

This here is the sun rising over Texas behind us.

Texas tepees at the rest stop on I40.
South of Amarillo.
We drove 30 miles out of our way to see what was billed as "America's 2nd largest canyon" only to get there and be turned away because they were doing road work. We got out to stretch our legs and D. got this one of me. I hadn't slept in 28 hours and I didn't get to see that canyon, so I was mad.
D. got close-up with a bee feeding on a cactus.
This is New Mexico between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The sky is overwhelmingly massive. I love that sense of expanse.
Looking down into the Bandalier area outside of Santa Fe.
More Bandalier.
Looking out from one of the cave dwellings. I could have lived in one. They were insulated from the heat and you can look out them and see for miles.

Performing Arts center in Santa Fe. I needed more time for architectural photography!
The famous St. Francis of Assissi basilica in downtown Santa Fe.
Driving north from Santa Fe to Taos. It was cool, intermittently rainy and unbelievably appreciated after 107 degree heat with 95% humidity in Arkansas.

Wildflower field outside New Mexico. That sky again....sheesh.
We were just driving along and saw a bunch of people pulled over on the side of the road so, of course, we did too. It was the Rio Grande gorge. It just appears out of nowhere. I kept thinking about long-ago explorers and their "holy shit" moment when they would have come upon this and had no way to get across. It's like a crack in the earth.

This is one of the Earthships in the Greater World Community outside Taos. They're futuristic and natural at the same time and now I really, REALLY want to stay in one.
We saw sunflowers everywhere on our drive, from New Mexico to Kansas. Now I have an idea for taking a bag of wildflower seeds and throwing them out the window when I'm driving places. More wildflowers, less fast food bags!
Pink adobe. Love it.
Northern New Mexico, driving into Colorado.
Outside Durango, CO we spotted this incredible rainbow. I haven't seen a full-arc rainbow in several years.
Double rainbow!
Driving north from Durango to Ouray. Probably the most impressive mountain passes I've seen. I had never been to the San Juan mountains, and now we can't wait to go back and spend more time around Durango, where I'm lucky to have several friends from Arkansas.

The wedding (the real reason we were driving out West) was held on a ranch outside Ouray, Colorado. Because of where I grew up, I have a particular soft spot for little, historical towns tucked away in the hills (or mountains in this case). I love this building in tiny downtown Ouray.

The toppers for the wedding cake.
Derek, the groom, pouring some bubbly for Ginny, the bride and my close friend since we were eight years old.
Their perfect son, Granite. He's a little more than three months old here and was so well-behaved and adorable all weekend. Damn those aching ovaries of mine!!!

Hey, looky at my sweetie!
The ceremony was very intimate and sweet. Derek constructed a wreath of Aspen boughs that he and Ginny stood in. The families and close friends who were giving readings stood around them and then the guests in the outer concentric circle. It was lovely.

Ginny is a Gemini and can't speak without using her hands. This picture reminded me of our entire history together and I love it. She's reciting her vows to Derek here.

And then there were three. Beautiful family; lots of love in this photo.
Ginny is hugging her dad, who I hadn't seen in nearly 20 years. He was a second father to me growing up and it was wonderful seeing him again.
Unfortunately, the day after the wedding we had to leave again for the monumental drive home. This is a high-altitude lake somewhere on Highway 50 between Montrose and Gunnison.
In the Monarch Pass area somewhere...

We followed the Arkansas River home, crossing it (as well as the Continental Divide) several times throughout our journey. It's crazy to think the small, bubbling creek we saw in Colorado becomes the wide, dirty, roiling beast that I know from Fort Smith and Little Rock.

We were very happy to come back home and look forward to planning our next adventure. Someone should get married on the beach next time!


afro moon said...

Beautiful rainbow, beautiful baby, beautiful pictures!
and if you were referring to the Palo Duro Canyon... I lived there once.
Not in the canyon, but in Canyon.

Sarah F. said...

Aaaggghhh!!!! I love your pictures!!!! I've always wanted to get married on the beach...just don't count on that to be your next vacay :)

Jennifer Erwin said...

That's an awesome drive. It's nice to get out there and see the whole sky and it's nice to come back home again and feel sheltered.