Saturday, January 1, 2011

Moab to Boulder

I knew from the day before that the B&B owner was a storyteller, so I let go of the notion of going on one last hike in Arches. I had a six-hour drive ahead of me anyway, with stops that I wanted to make. The first part of the drive was movie-set Colorado River – literally. This part of the river was filmed in several Westerns. When I got to I-70, the dramatic views continued, with the river to one side or the other and the red walls above. And the train on the same route - I started thinking it would be fun to take Amtrak Across America some day. But I get ahead of myself – first I stopped at Colorado National Monument!

National Monuments are different from National Parks in that they are designated by presidential proclamation rather than Acts of Congress (later, the CCC built the roads, an amazing engineering feat at the time). Colorado National Monument is high on the Colorado plateau, the same formation as the Grand Canyon, Arches and Bryce, and it too has a big canyon and red rock formations, semi-desert trees and awe-inspiring views. It might be just as well known as the others if it had Park status (my conjecture); it certainly has a lot to offer! I drove a few overlooks and did a teeny hike but didn’t have time for the entire Rim Rock Drive.

There wasn’t an obvious place for lunch. Well, there was, actually – Taco Bell. I had avoided chains so far, but I needed a quick lunch and Taco Bell fulfilled some of that desire for Mexican. I felt so depressed – here I had been cooking for myself with fresh ingredients, and Taco Bell was filled with Americans who regularly eat fast food. Never mind that in Manila, Julie and I went out of our way to go to Taco Bell and that I had mall food almost every night – that was different. This Taco Bell was a depressing welcome back. But it was practical, and sometimes that’s what you get on a cross-country trip.

On a suggestion from my replacement PCV in Azrou, who is from Colorado (though I might have thought of it anyway), I then stopped in Glenwood Springs (which is an Amtrak stop, too….). There are hot springs right off the road, which you enter after going through a classic building. I may not have had ski clothes, but I had a bathing suit with me, and I spent some time in the hot springs. Very relaxing – but not so much that I felt sleepy in the car; still had several hours to go!

The next part of the drive was a little challenging, the wiper fluid wasn’t working for a while and the windshield was streaked. I got to Boulder after dark, but not too much after dark. 375 miles today – and friends, wine and stew were waiting! Plus, the friends were interested in learning piffle!


  1. So is Piffle like the British TV show Balderdash and Piffle - a word related game and not a card game? My quickie internet search yielded no listings of the game/rules.

  2. No - it's a multiple-solitaire game. I searched for it in 27monthswithoutbaseball but it probably bears repeating!

    13 cards in the piffle pile (12 down, 1 up) and four face up in four piles. Everyone plays solitaire (red queen on black king, etc.) in the space in front of them and the middle (Aces, building up) is shared. When one of your face-up cards is used, move one from the piffle pile. The first to eliminate the piffle pile, either by playing on your space or by playing in the middle, wins that round (my contribution to the game is that you call "piffle!"). You count up the cards in the middle and keep score. When you get to whatever score you want to end on (or the number of hands you want to play), high score wins. Not surprised you can't find it on the internet...