The road trip continues. For those of you just tuning in, I'm trying my best to give my friends and family updates from my road trip, which I've called #TilTheWheelsComeOff and is taking us from Pennsylvania to California and back again. Here's my Day One recap if you missed it.
There's way too much I could talk about, so I'll keep it to a few fun facts and a story or two.
Saturday: Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods (CO) Sunday: Rocky Mountains, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Mesa Verde NP (CO) Monday: Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP (UT)
Total Miles: 2,500 Total States: 10 (PA, OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, CO, UT, AZ, NV) Total National Parks: 4 (Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon, Zion--technically 5 because we drove through Capitol Reef) Total Ice Cream Cones I've Eaten: Only 6 (3 were yesterday) Total Animals Killed by My Car: 1 bird, 3 rabbits (read on for the story on this--it's harrowing), and 542,358 insects, all of which are stuck to the front of my car.
Best Part of the Drive
After we left Colorado Springs, we took Route 24 through the Rockies down to Route 50. If you're ever going through Colorado, I can't recommend this drive any more--it was amazing.
Best Brew Find
Nano 108 Brewing Company in Colorado Springs - They only serve beer, but they have a food truck outside with awesome brats. Their nitro and stout are so smooth, it's like drinking liquid clouds.
Best Sounds in Our System
NeedtoBreathe - The Reckoning Taylor Swift - Red (My choice. Unfortunately for Jason.) Silence. (To make it up to Jason for Taylor Swift) Partially Examined Life (A philosophy podcast. Jason's choice.)
Best Small Town
Telluride, Colorado. We stopped in Telluride because there's a big bluegrass festival going on. It was sold out, but we still got to hear some music on side stages in town, and check out Telluride's surroundings:
Best Dumb Decision I Made
Let's just say it's a tie between something I did on a bridge over the Colorado River, and the decision we made at Natural Bridges Natural Monument in Utah.
Biggest (and Most Harrowing) Surprise
On Sunday night, we drove through the night from Mesa Verde in Colorado to Bryce Canyon in Utah. I don't know if you've ever driven through the desert at night with no moon.
It was hours and hours of darkness, except for the road right in front of us. I'm pretty sure we passed incredible mountains and rock formations, but all we could see was black. We could have passed Godzilla doing yoga on a plateau without a clue.
I learned something else about what hides in the desert--rabbits. Like, tons of freakin' rabbits. It started off as a cute, funny little desert quirk: Oh look! Was that a rabbit that just darted across the road? Ha! and Another one! Who knew there were rabbits in the desert?
Friends. That evening in the desert of Utah, we began the most harrowing, nightmare-ish drive of my life. I would be driving down the road, usually going at least 75 mph, watching the brush on the side of the road zip by, and all of a sudden, Whoa! A rabbit shoots out of the brush and right in front of the car.
And when one came out, they all came out.
Another would pop out. One would run at full speed, then stop at the last second, forcing me to swerve.
"These bunnies want to die!" I yelled at one point to Jason. "They're going kamikaze on us!"
Some of them ran parallel with us, as if to mock us. Or to signal the other troops that we were coming.
Finally, the inevitable moment arrived. I was singing along to Katy Perry or some other nonsense to stay awake. My car barreled down the desert concrete to meet fate just ahead in the darkness.
It happened almost as fast as you could blink your eye.
A flash of ears and fur. My breath leaving my lungs.
And a sickening crunch as my car smashed into a suicidal rabbit.
"That did not just happen!" Jason and I looked at each other. "Oh God."
People. This happened two more times that night.
For hours, scores of rabbits darted across the road. In our last hour, I counted almost 40 rabbits. That was one hour of about five. It was like a bad dream. At one point, I looked at Jason, my eyes bloodshot from anxiety and a lack of sleep and said, "I think we died a while back on the road, man. And now we're in hell--doomed to drive on this dark road and live in fear of kamikaze rabbits for eternity. It's sick."
We made it to Bryce Canyon--barely--just before sunrise, just in time to catch the first rays of daylight hitting the Bryce Amphitheater and setting the canyon below ablaze with color and life.
But somewhere on a godforsaken stretch of cracked desert road, the bodies of three bunnies lie still and broken. A thousand other bunnies hide away to rest in their holes until the next night when they will carry on the legacy of their fallen comrades, striking fear into the hearts of men and bringing them to their knees in terror.