Westward, Ho!

30 April, 2009 § Leave a comment

p4255689I had the opportunity to take a five-day trip to Colorado for work last week and while the convention itself that I was attending left a rather poor taste in my mouth, the chance to go exploring throughout Kansas, Nebraska and northern Colorado made the entire trip more than worthwhile.  It was only my second time ever to Colorado and certainly my first time visiting the other two states.  Needless to say, my adventuring streak came out in full force and with a full tank of gas, a GPS eager to navigate me and a sweet rental car with XM radio set to the soultown station, I hit the open roads.

These are my observations about the western realm of the states, particularly as considered in juxtaposition to the east:

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– When Robert Frost penned his famous line about taking the road less traveled, he certainly must have been referring to Kansas – – I easily traveled a good thirty-five miles or so at a time without ever crossing paths with another vehicle.  Even rural roads in Hickville, New York, get more traffic than that.

– The west is a speed demon’s dream come true – – with the average speed limit sign reading 75 mph, how can you go wrong? Exactly. You can’t.

– A soul really can have the space to breathe in the west. p42556511

– By the same token, views of the horizon truly are unmarred by human creations, including neighborhoods, apartment buildings, grocery stores, gas stations, courthouses, banks, restaurants, shopping centers and man-made forests – – or, in fact, any forests at all.  There are, however, a million more undulating rows of telephone lines than you would see back home.

p4255652– Pick-up trucks are as common in the west as the Honda Civic is in the east.

– Main St. in the west really can consist of the following: four dilapidated, weather-beaten houses, one rusted out, windowless auto mechanic shop that looks like it hasn’t been frequented since the ’70s and several broken-down trailer homes. If you suggested such a thing on the east coast, you’d get laughed out of town.

– It is likely that the number of steer will easily outnumber the amount of people in the west. The ratio? At least 1:7, people to steer.

p4255712– Lastly – – and arguably most importantly – – never drink a 16 oz cuppa joe before going on a roadtrip in the west. Gas stations, portajohns or even a helpful stand of trees are few and far between… and sometimes even four hours or more apart. I kid you not. (Best part of this particular lesson learned? Last Sunday morning when I was looking out over a crowd of forty or more eager, upturned, youthful faces soaking in every word I uttered, I was aghast to hear myself helplessly yet inxorably retelling of my somewhat ill-fated search for a convention potty spot in podunk Nebraska the day beforehand. And once you start telling such a story to a youth group, you have to finish it, regardless of self-incrimination. O, brother. Can you spell “blushworthy”? At least I probably won’t be returning to that particular church in Greeley for another several years and by then, all the kids that could remember my eloquent soliluqoy about the woes involved with having a very full bladder in a very flat, barren, restroom-less state will have long since graduated…)

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Have you ever unconsciously started relating a story to a rapt audience when you realized about halfway through the telling – – after the damage had already been done – – that you a) had been struck by a severe case of verbal diarrhea and that b) it was too late to do anything but finish telling it?

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