Sitting on the balcony of a condo near Breckenridge, Colorado. Facing the mountains, rolling hills, pine trees, mountain homes. It’s cold outside. Late June. My headache is starting to subside. Of course, I would be the one to exceed the maximum dosage 4x on an empty stomach, rolling through cycles of intensity in five long, long hours.
I opened a tab to write last night. Next thing I knew, I was plastered to the couch, arms like wool, visual scenes pulled straight from Jump Street 22. There was a dog somewhere, then an old woman, then a Christmas tree strainer in the sink. There was the large swaying face of le beau – a delay in processing who was where and why – cheesy bread that stayed surprisingly intact as it rolled through my guts. Like a bowling ball. But cheesy bread.
Yesterday morning, we left the tiny house Airbnb.
Leaving town, we cruised up road 50. More beautiful winding roads up up the mountainside. There was a road delay up ahead, a sheriff told us, a thirty minute wait. I guess that’s lunch, le beau said. So we parked by the side of the road, across a ranch, where a hawk spun around in circles over sunflowers and grass. We sat on the back of the truck, eating the Qdoba we’d just picked up, in balmy sunshine until the wait was over.
Around 12:30 PM, the long line of cars began to creep. We passed by construction trucks parked below jagged canyon rocks. The other road was blocked off. Were they blasting dynamite to make more roadway? It looked like it. We continued driving – across a bridge, past lakes and mountains, singing to M.I.A, until we reached a small town. There, we filled up on gas before making way to our next destination: a mountain pass off-road trail called Ohio Pass.
I drove off-road again! This time in its entirety. It was more forestland. The mountain crawl was peaceful, serene. Long sloping trees, gentle dips, mountains, mountains, and mountains. I was focused more on the road, on jagged rocks threatening to puncture our tires. We took a snack break at the end of the off-road, ate oranges and grapes, readily fermenting in our cooler.
Onwards and upwards. We arrived at Crested Butte, a town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. You could tell it was well-off, a tourist destination for skiers. The houses were anywhere upwards of 800K, most in the millions, at least, according to RedFin. People were on bikes, skating through the idyllic town. Before we left, le beau stopped by a dispensary.
We continued our drive past nature and small towns. During one stretch, we spotted signs about cows on the mountain. There are mountain cows? I asked. Where do they come from? Right as I said this, we ran into a whole herd of cows. A rancher dressed in plaid was riding a horse, going “hip! hip!” with his two dogs rounding up fifty cows, all meandering and mooing on the road. We were blocked by the cows, who lazily mosied in front, beside, and behind us. A symphony of moo’s.
On the drive, twisting and winding more than any other road we’d been on, we passed by a beach in Colorado; long stretches of pine trees; people in ATs riding down sand dunes, reminding me of Napoleon Dynamite’s grandma. Le beau skipped a rock at the beach. In one of the national parks, I accidentally tugged the USB cord out. We were without reception for the next few miles, stuck in the winding remote mountains. Luckily, we rounded towards a small town with LTE, where we downloaded the map.
During one of our last stops, le beau parked by a cliff.
You ever done jumping jacks on a cliff? I asked.
You sound like Uncle Rico.
Finally, after eight hours on the road, we arrived at the Airbnb, a few minutes away from Breckenridge. Of all the cities and towns we’ve passed through, this was the densest, most reminiscent of our city. Unlike the glossy black mountain roads, there were potholes in these roads, highways partitioned by direction, Target’s and Croc’s and Calvin Klein’s galore.
A winter getaway for tourists with an inclination towards snow. I suggested we spend our first Christmas together in Colorado.