The weather on the southern horizon did not look to be in our favor and after fueling we were met with a headwind of unknown velocity bringing with it both torrential rain and light snow both proving that my application of rain-x to the windshield was sorely lacking. After untold dozens of miles of hard driving into a stiff headwind, the car began to exhibit t a distinct lack of motivation
. We were running out of gas. We coaxed the car another mile before coming to rest off exit 31, Pintura, somewhere in the great big middle of nowhere that is southern Utah. An exit denominated by gravel roads and cow fences. After calling friends to notify them of our highway predicament in the hopes that they would come to rescue us, I walked away from the car in search of fuel, ignoring the 2 bicycles that we have been lugging about, strapped to our trunk. While Kirstin, in all of her logic, simply called the state patrol knowing that AAA would take days to get to us and there had been a highway patrolman off the previous exit (30). After pulling my hair back , as to present a less shocking/threatening appearance, and knocking on 3 farmhouse doors, I found a kind-hearted elderly couple about ¼ mile away. They said that they would help if they could. After donning a pair of gloves that had seen at least 20 years of hard work, while walking to the garage this kind man explained to me that on first sight he and his wife thought I was a girl. I explained to him that back in Seattle I used to work at a children’s museum and was asked regularly if I’m a boy or a girl. Upon opening of the garage, my heart swells with optimism upon seeing 18 pieces of power equipment and multiple ATV’s’ I was assured he had fuel. This kind man wandered about the garage lightly kicking one red plastic gas can after another in search of the precious drink our car needed to move our adventure along
. I was expecting him to simply loan the gas can and fuel to me, the container to be returned shortly, recharged. Instead as I imagine, this was some high part of the day for him. He set the fuel and the funnel into his car’s trunk and proceeded to drive me at ridiculously slow speed back to the car. After his further assistance fueling the torture bubble with 2 ½ gallons of fuel, he refused our $10- payment in lui of a $5 payment, what the fuel would be worth at any corner station. After a thorough and heartfelt thanks for the gift, he simple said, "no problem, it happens all the time." Which in my mind means, probably twice a year.
And so, we were back on the road, to Colorado City, AZ and our dear friend Mary’s uncommon hospitality. Upon our arrival and an initial couple of minutes of greetings and how do you do’s we started making meal plans. In speaking of our breakfast preparation for the next day, we identified and shared with our wonderful hostess our need to visit the local grocery. Mary asked me if I was accustomed to people staring at me and my crazy hair. Oh yes, was my answer, few days go by that people don’t stop and stare or even better point and laugh. She warned me that people will stare at me at the co-op store that serves as the towns’ grocery and, arguable, is the place to see and be seen. After the four block drive to the far side of town I pulled into the co-op parking lot to find our little car completely dwarfed by a virtual lake of oversized SUV’s and large people movers of many shapes
. Upon our entrance to this medium sized store I was struck by three different circumstances: one- no men shopping, not a one, the only men in the store were stocking shelves. Two- everybody was wearing, basically, the same simple dress, in simple solid colors and no frills oh yes, and the French braided hair…um different...Three- when Kirstin and I walked into the store through the little entry time seemed to stop. People fell silent; registers stopped ringing whispers were whispered. For, what seemed like 15 seconds all commerce in this little store had ceased. From what I noticed, nobody pointed but stares were given from all corners of that front part of the store… that was fun. After the first couple of hours of initial visiting, some fabulous dinner of enchiladas and salad, Kirstin headed off to bed and I stayed up late, drinking beer and visiting with a small group of friends, both old and new. All of the people that I’ve met in this small town have an uncommon sense of calm and groundedness about them. I’ve enjoyed and will miss Colorado City.
After driving the 13+ hours from Seattle to Salt Lake City we have never seen a more attractive floor. I'd like to report my sleep was sound and peaceful but I don’t remember a thing about it. One minute the girls were talking about our drive and the next, Kirstin was asking me to move over to make room for her fabulous morning massage from Trisha. Kirstin's massage was a wedding gift from our dear friend Trisha and was well deserved and well received. After repacking some little bit of the car we left SLC (passing the Mormon temple), to drive through the bulk of Utah to our next destination.