People who travel know that sometimes amazingly wonderful things happen and other times things become incredibly difficult. After teaching our afternoon class in Edwards, Colorado, (which was our first class with high school students and it turned out great!) we started out late for our next stop in Paonia.
I think Highway 70 between Vail and Glenwood Springs is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the country. The road winds through Glenwood Canyon, suspended above the Colorado River. I find it strange to be saying that a highway is beautiful, but this one was... the designers of this stretch of road really knew what they were doing. We stopped at a rest stop to admire the river, as it was overflowing its banks because of the last few days’ heat melting the largest snowpack in recent memory.
We pulled up next to a van pulling an enclosed utility trailer. Peter said, “These must be gypsy travelers too.” Turned out it was The Kris Lager Band. They were headed to a gig in Aspen, and they also play sometimes at Moe’s Alley and the Blues Festival in Santa Cruz. Check the band out when they come to your town and support hardworking touring musicians. A snipped from our conversation with Kris: “Battle of the Bands, American Idol, they are all taking music in a wrong direction in my opinion. Music should bring people together, not separate us into classes. Think what the word “idol” means…” Thinking about the music jams we have played in while on our trip and how they have been times of great connection and fun, we say he is right.
The town and spa of Glenwood Springs are located where Glenwood Canyon opens out to let the Crystal River flow into the Colorado River. The lodge building of local red stone was built in the late 19th century and the huge hot pool and mineral baths there became a major tourist destination. Peter and I stopped for a soak. I love thinking of all the places I have gone in natural hot springs as a tourist…. Mono Hot Springs to soak tired hiking muscles, The Blue Lagoon in Iceland, Mercy Hot Springs for Katy’s 30th birthday and the last place us wanderers soaked, Quinn's hot springs in Montana...
At dusk, we drove in the direction of a campground. Here is where we had one of the “not so nice” traveling experiences. The RV campground turned out to cost $58. a night for a slice of cement pad and a snack bar. We drove on hoping for something better. We started to get Tired and Cranky. Then it happened.
The wandering book artists became all-american. We spent the night at Walmart. The parking lot was quiet, level and had a marvelous view of the snowy peak of Mt Sopris. All in all our Walmart experience ended out falling into the category of “ a very nice experience.” Who would have guessed it.