It's all about logistics. The Cadillac has a home in Mancos, Colorado. Daphne is working in Mancos for her mother, but she is coming back to Boulder Thursday. The road trip is nearing the end, and I see a free ride from Mancos. So, first thing in the morning I make the nearly 8-hour drive south from Boulder, through Ouray to pick up my suit and extra gear stored there, then over Red Mountain Pass, Silverton, Molas Pass, Coal Bank Pass, through Durango to Mancos. I arrive just in time to change cars - a Caddy for a Honda!
I'm now in the shotgun, and Daphne has a package to deliver to FedEx in Durango before 4:14pm. She is a speedy driver; always was, and we make it...almost. The agent is kind and stays open, helping immensely . FedEx is the best! Daph went to college for several years at Fort Lewis, so she knows the town. She's starved and recommends the 'Serious Texas Barbecue'; she say's I'll love it. We order heaping quantities of smoked beef and pork with cheesy potatoes. A carnivore's delight with not a green veggie in sight. But are we full! Sated, smiling and bloated we cruise east to Pagosa Springs, with its steaming waters bubbling into the San Juan River. Up over Wolf Creek summit, with its magnificent rock formations, and down through the narrow canyons of the South Fork of the Rio Grande to Del Norte.
We roll out into the high plains where at an unlikely intersection in the middle of nowhere we make a left turn onto 285 for the journey north to Saguache, veer into the mountains again through Salida, and into the real South Park, and the town of Fairplay, known for the animated TV show South Park. It's an enormous valley, the southernmost of three great geologic features: North Park, and Middle Park to the north. Sitting at 10,000 feet, with the Mosquito Range to the west, the Front Range to the east, and the Thirty Nine Mile Volcanic Field to the south-east. It's been raining a bunch, and the Honda's wipers are crap. But Daph is happy.
To the east we see the rays of the sun ignite a tiny layer of clouds under a huge thunderstorm. Lightning strikes constantly, magnifying the darkness of the clouds. Rain and hail pelt the windshield.
The sun shines under the thunderhead
As the sun fades...
The open road ahead
The heavens open
But we are talking a bunch; I haven't seen Daphne much since she went to college eight years ago, so we are making up for lost time. I ask her about her boyfriend: is he good to her?
Yes, so good! He's so polite and caring... He's just great!
I'm glad; that's what a father needs to hear. What will she do next fall after her summer job?
Back to Boulder, get a job, make money, then go to Ireland.
Wow, Ireland? What made you pick Ireland?
Oh, I've always wanted to go. The music is so great there. It has such charm. It's a dream...
Daphne at the helm of the Honda
To the west the sun is blazing like an inferno, and the clouds magnify the effect. The rain is pelting the windows as we drive at high speed on the straight road. Every direction is magnificent. Elk and deer mingle with the cattle in the fields.
On up 285 to north to Boulder. We arrive at midnight. I'm happy; I've just spent eight hours with my daughter.