peaks in the colorado rockies, hwy 70

     The Colorado Rocky Mountains are justly famed. Mighty peaks offer winter in late June, a true feeling of "the rooftop of the world". They leave me wondering what the Himalayas, twice this height, must be like!
     The drive-by ski resorts along I-70, Glenwood Springs, Vail, and Steamboat Springs, have lots of pleasing, cozy-looking chalet architecture and well-designed streets of restaurants, bistros, and hotels. I didn't stop, I had a friend waiting in Denver.

     I'd crossed into Colorado near Grand Junction and stopped there to visit my friend Beth McKee, whom I'd known in a former life, when we'd both lived in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Beth's sublime garden is the subject of a website page on her site, .

odd street sign near my friend Beth'sL "E 1/4 Rd."
beth mckee, grand junction, CO
beth's pasta and home-grown salad
left: An odd street sign near my friend Beth's.
center: Beth herself, looking out for me.
right: her delicious pasta and home-grown salad.

     In a couple hours I was back on the road, following the Colorado River gorge and then the spectacular Rockies.

massive outcropping east of Grand Junction
a massive outcropping east of Grand Junction
idyllic colorado river valley along I-70
the highway follows the river gorge
      Following the river on I-70: peaceful valleys alternating with gorge-ous, hairpin turn, driving
vail summit, photo by Matt Salek
                                               Vail Summit                          ( photo by Matt Salek)

      The night and I made Denver hand in hand. I came down into a galaxy of lights and threaded my way along the city's arteries to Wheat Ridge, then to the home of the person who'd kindly agreed to put me up. Going to bed after an hour's conversation over dinner, I woke at 5:30 AM and realized I had a chance to beat rush hour traffic if I got on the freeway immediately instead of having breakfast with my host, as we'd planned. And so, leaving an explanatory note, I hit the road before 6.

denver skyline from the car moving slowly in traffic
Denver skyline from a car moving slowly in a rare moment of almost stop-and-go traffic.


the biscuits cafe, east of denver

     Above is the Biscuits Cafe' at a little whistlestop just east of the Denver area. I had stopped to fill the gas tank as soon as the traffic had thinned and the buildings had yielded to the wide-horizon plains and fields you could re-name West Kansas. The time was 7:30. I wanted to get close to Kansas City, 600 miles away, today, but a body demands food and this seemed like a good place for it.
     Very good, judging by the fact that all the tables had at least one person at them, except a tiny one, separated by a couple inches from another small one at which sat two late-adolescents who seemed to have a bit of an attitude. I hesitated momentarily before joining them, and a trucker at a nearby booth said, "I'm 'about to take off, buddy, you can sit here."
      So I did, and then he wound up staying a little while. I asked where he was headed.
     "Texas," he said.
     "Ever get tired of driving across the country?" I asked.
     "Well, they send me from Colorado down to Texas. Then it's Florida. Then out to LA by the southern route. It's always different, how could I get tired of that? Been drivin' 32 years, and it's still brand new every day."
    "They have little condos in the trucks now, I've heard."
    "Yeah, they're pretty nice. Little kitchen, DVD player, comfortable beds...well, I gotta run, nice talkin' to ya," he finally said, and pushed himself up from the table.

     Another trucker over against the front wall spoke to him as he left.
     "I'm 16 years on the road. Headed up to Jersey now, then home to North Carolina. Pick up my wife there."

Ann and Bob Nynley, biscuits cafe, traveling home to near Lawrence, Kansas Gary Manis, carefree trucker from NC
Bob and Ann Nunley at left (see; driver Gary Manis at right.

    The second trucker was wearing a cap that said MARSHALL COLLEGE. A man who was sitting with his wife a booth down, alongside a window facing the parking lot, said, "Say, I went to Marshall, too. What's your name?"

     "I'm Gary Manis," said the driver.
     "I'm Bob Nunley. This is my wife, Ann," said the other gentleman. "I think I remember a Manis. Maybe she was your sister.
     "I did have a sister went to Marshall," said Gary.
     "I'm a retired geography professor at the University of Kansas," Bob said. "I thought we got a wonderful education at Marshall. Never known any better."
     "I thought so too, Gary said."

     After we talked awhile, (I'm e-mailing the Nunleys to see if they recall more of the content of the conversation), I went out to get one of my art cards to give to each of my new friends. Bob told me that Ann's an artist, too.
     "Check out her website, ," he suggested.

     I just did. Bob was being modest. Scroll down the page a little, and you'll see profiles of each of them...both very accomplished, giving gifts of skill and wisdom to the world. I should have known. At one point our conversation — I don't recall how — turned to the subject of the psychic propensities of animals, and Bob demonstrated then that he knew quite a bit. I mentioned an interview I'd heard on National Public Radio with cutting-edge scientist Rupert Sheldrake, about a book he'd written on the subject. Bob nodded, recognizing Sheldrake's name, which isn't exactly a household word. Yes, I should have known.

"What Remains Is the Essence",
the home pages of Max Reif