Riding out of Estes Park was bittersweet at best...Big Thomson Canyon Rd. (Rt.34) is twisty and scenic enough...the sun was bright and warm...the temperature was comfortable...traffic was non-existant, but we were leaving Colorado today and that always depresses me. I could have spent another 3 months banging around the mountains; working my way over into Utah or up to Jackson Hole...Guanella Pass...Hurricane Pass...Loveland Pass...Ouray...Pagosa Springs...Million Dollar Highway...a thousand roads and trails I've never even seen. A couple days in Colorado is nowhere near enough...it's like being punished for being from somewhere else. Sure, it's better than simply staying home, but it's not nearly enough. It's like a kiss from a beautiful stranger just before she boards the plane - never to be seen again. It exhilirates...your heart soars...and then it crushes you with feelings of loss and longing. It makes you wonder if you would have been better off having never experienced it at all...happily oblivious...never knowing the thrill of it, but never knowing the pain of losing it either.
The upside is that you know where this particular girl lives...you can visit her again...you can breeze into town whenever you want and she's always there waiting for you...never even asks where you've been...just happy to show you something new...arms wide open for that welcoming embrace...hell, you can move in with her and start a new life if you want...she's game...if you're willing to give up your current life. People do it all the time...our driver for the 4wd tour did it...most of the folks you meet in ther mountains did it. The mountains are full of people who were so smitten with her that going back to flatland life was just too much to handle...they put a ring on her finger and decided to make a life together.
Colorado has been my not-so-secret affair for over 20 years. Sure, she's had relationships with other people for much longer than that and she gets around quite a bit, but she's never far from my thoughts and I come back to see her every chance I get. And while I seem to be getting older by the day, she's holding up quite well. Sure, she's had some work done...a little paving here and there where I used to enjoy her youthful dirt roads...a little widening or straightening of her curvy parts for the sake of progress...but she still looks good to me. I don't think I'll ever marry her...she doesn't seem to get along with my family...but when I can find the time to get away, I usually head straight for her doorstep and we have a great time while it lasts.
Today, I'm leaving her again.