The Phoenix One Journals Stories from the dawn of RoadTrip America
On Monday, we wanted to tour Taffy Town in Salt Lake City, Utah, but ended up at the Coca-Cola sales and distribution center, where the nightly forklift derby had just begun. Across the street, we met Drew McElvin, who told us how he'd chosen Salt Lake as his new home after doing extensive research on the Internet.
Heading east, we stopped in Park City to visit Ray, Mary & Todd Freer. We stayed overnight in Grand Junction, Colorado, with Mark's aunt and cousins, Kathy, Stewart & Justin Hall. Then we buckled our seat belts for a trip over the Rockies. The Phoenix complained a bit at the altitude gain, but cleared Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel easily. Our goal was to reach Idaho Springs, a town with natural hot springs an hour west of Denver. We pulled up to Indian Springs Resort too late to take the waters, but just in time to meet Scotty DeGroff, "The World's Greatest Ski Bum Poet" and bartender at the resort. A soak early the next morning sent us off to Denver in fine form, where we checked into Ted & Faye Cline's Denver Meadows RV Park.
Mark's the official driver of the Phoenix One, and I'm the official reader. Right now, I'm in the middle of that quintessential travel saga of the beat generation, Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Jack spent a lot of time in Denver, but he'd hardly recognize the Larimer Street he haunted back in the '40s. He'd be even more amazed at the new Denver International Airport. We went out there to buy a plane ticket and felt like we were visiting Deep Space Nine. It's a marvel!
Denver is nearly a thousand miles from St. Louis, and we covered the distance fast. We'd planned to break our trip in Salina, Kansas, but an oversealous thunderstorm had left the campground two feet under water. We drove on and slept a few hours in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Junction City. We pulled into St. Charles, the oldest town on the Missouri River, Friday afternoon. It's a few miles west of St. Louis.
We'll be here a week or so. The Phoenix needs to have her windshield resealed, a tire patched, and a new latch on the head door, which refuses to stay closed. The refrigerator needs some TLC, too, and one of the window shades won't stay up. While we pause, we'll be posting stories from our Nevada wanderings last week. Don't miss meeting the only female steam & diesel train engineer in the country and the Salmon River outfitter who serves gourmet meals in the wilderness!