The plan: tour for Blue Lily, Lily Blue for two and a half weeks, then fly to Colorado for a family vacation over Thanksgiving.
The tour: Kansas City (whoo!), Toronto (yay!), Miami (TAKE MY BODY MIAMI JUST TAKE IT)
The backstory: Every moment that I wasn’t speaking to readers on tour, I was texting Lover. (ME: “IF YOU REALLY LOVED ME YOU WOULD GET ME A DATSUN FOR MY BIRTHDAY” LOVER: “I’d get you a Datsun if I thought that was what you really wanted. But I don’t think you really want a Datsun. I think you’re just hungry.” ME: DATSUN DATSUN DATSUN”)
The trip: I flew from Miami to Denver to meet my family at the airport, where we would begin the 6.5 hour drive to our Durango rental house. “We have to make one stop before we leave the Denver area,” Lover said, as we departed the airport in two rental 4wds. “I’m sorry.”
I could not be upset. I had the keys to an enormous rental Tahoe, I’d just plugged my iPod into the sound system, and I had six hours to drive my mother, sister, and daughter completely insane with my music. There was nothing wrong with life.
In fact, just a few minutes out of the airport, my sister said, “Look! Look, what is that!”
I glanced to where she was pointing. The sun had just split through the heavy cloud cover to shine on an access road next to the highway:
Behold! A DATSUN. Surely this was a good omen for things to come, even if it was brown.
A half hour later, we’d arrived at Lover’s scheduled stop, a suburb of Denver. Lover directed us to park on the curb, then he had me get out of the car.
"Go ring that man’s doorbell," he told me.
I got out and rang the man’s doorbell. Which was how I found out that Lover had bought me a Datsun for my birthday.
I hope you’ve all learned an important lesson: if you text your spouse 57 times in as many minutes, you can persuade him to do anything, including pull the trigger on buying a car so you don’t have to.
We had to leave the Datsun behind — it is traveling safely on a truck to Virginia, nowhere near Colorado snow — before continuing to Durango. If you have not been to Durango, please be aware it is grotesquely beautiful. The entire state of Colorado should be illegal.
Anyway, we sat around in the beauty for a day, and then we drove to Moab, Utah, to drive rental Jeeps around the desert.
ME: Mom, you should come.
MOM: Oh, I don’t know. Will it be jolty?
ME: It’s just desert. It’s just Jeeps.
MOM: I don’t even like driving around the farm, because of bumps.
ME: It won’t be bad! Come on! We promise!
I’m not sure if you can see the Jeep in that photo. It’s right in the middle. It’s that thing pointed down.
Can you see the road in this picture?
It is the dark bits. It’s more obvious if you are following someone, like a Lover or a sister.
See this face?
It is a brother saying “Whoo!” and thinking “Sorry, Mom.”
Lover is pleased to have not rolled his Jeep and is also thinking “sorry, mom-in-law.” He took a video of me coming down some rock, but the glare of the sunlight off my grin makes it hard to see anything besides my world-destroying joy. Anyway, the point is that there’s not much better than being on top of the world and knowing you crawled up there while your mother hyperventilated in the back of one of the Jeeps.
Sorry, Mom, but it was sort of the best day of my life. Back in Colorado, we continued the theme of Things That Go by riding on the old Durango steam train.
That was all right, too, but it would’ve been better if I was driving. And finally we went to see Mesa Verde, which was staggering, but my photographs do no justice, so google it and then go see it yourself.
Will I be back to Colorado? Of course. I’ll be back next year to do more location research for my post Raven-Boys project (CODE NAME darknovel). I don’t know if there will be Jeeps or trains, but I would not be shocked in the slightest.