Monday, 11 October 2010

Eagle, Colorado October 11th
Yesterday bridges and yah-boo to Sydney, San Francisco, Clifton, The Menai Straits, Millau, Avignon, St John’ College Cambridge and ( an inferior and dilettante imitation, rather typical of the place ) Hertford College Oxford. Today it is yah-boo to Rome, London, Paris, Bucharest, Berlin, St Louis, which I know is tacky but I am in the States, Mumbai and Moscow. There are many others I could include in this category but they are the ones that come to mind. All these locations have at least one well-known but definitely man-made arch. They are usually triumphal, too. A statement of glory and power, through which only the very special may pass, or beneath which an eternal flame burns, or under which an unknown warrior is interred, or the other side of which is new hope and opportunity. I saw 7-8 arches today. All entirely natural, all entirely magnetic, each quite uniquely shaped and spoiled only when there were people standing under them. I walked quite a long way to get to some of them but there were pots of gold at the end of each trek. I can’t get a picture on to this site but if you Google images of ‘Delicate Arch’, you will see what I mean. If I had to look at a landform every day for the rest of my life, this would be the one. It is isolated, quite remote, perfectly formed and will be the screen-saver of choice on my computer when I get back. I have not done this other than at the Grand Canyon, and then not for as long, but I dwelt at Delicate Arch for a good half-hour. It was reasonably early, the crowds had not gathered and it was a good place to be.

I had, unfortunately, chosen Columbus Day for my trip to Arches National Park. There were more people, by far, than at any of the other places and whilst it removed just a little gloss, it also served as a reminder of how fortunate I have been to visit the USA at this time. I spent 5 hours there and walked about 10 miles in total to the arches I visited. I will happily bore anyone who wants to know why there are so many in such a relatively small area on request.
I did stop in Moab for a cup of coffee at 8.00 this morning. I finally met my first Obama supporters in the busy and noisy Red Rock Bakery, run by an American who went to Glasgow University as a post grad. I didn’t know this, to my shame, but Utah is the most staunchly Republican state in the whole of the USA. Moab is the only county in the state to vote Democrat. The other states I have been to, after Oregon and Washington, are also republican. I talked briefly to Jo-Ann who is working on a conservation project in the area, and her partner/companion, Lee, who moved to the area a few months back. Both said that the town was more laid back than most of Utah and I certainly got that feel in the Red Rock Bakery. The brief political overview they gave me was useful in further explaining why I have not met pro-Obama people yet. Their view, echoed by an older bloke on the next door table, is that Obama walked into a maelstrom and is the sort of honest person the country needs to restore faith in traditional institutions. They feel he has been given a very rough ride by the press and that he has been hamstrung by not having a senate majority. Interesting.
I then drove quite some distance to get to Eagle. It is in the Vail valley and there is already snow on the nearby mountain tops. The road follows the Colorado River the whole way from Grand Junction to here. It is a most varied valley, ranging from wide meadows at Grand Junction to a very narrow gorge at Glenwood Springs. So although it was a long way, the only danger was when I was too busy taking in the stunning scenery as opposed to any tiredness.
I had hoped to drive the Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park, NW of Denver tomorrow. Sadly, it looks like there has been enough snow there over the weekend to make it impossible, so I will just drive to the eastern side of the Park before dropping back down to Boulder, where I am staying with some relations of friends from church.
I am now going to go into Eagle for my first beer for nearly a week. It can happen.

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