I've decide to condense these two days into one post as they involved a hell of a lot of driving and not much else. Given Nick's night in Oklahoma City, I was frankly staggered by his drive of over six hours to the infamous Dodge City in the heart of Kansas, almost without pause. But drove he did, and yet again the landscape quickly changed around us.
The loss of my phone is probably most sorely felt here, as Kansas is an intensely beautiful state. I've purloined one of Nick's images for this post, but you'll notice my own gallery sadly lacking. It's a place of endlessly yellowing fields, ruined farmhouses straight from the horror films and solitary trees standing cracked and broken, baked to iron in the relentless sun, snow and wind. We passed rolling tumbleweeds and huge meat processing plants that billowed smoke and filled the car with the sharp odour of the thousands of cows waiting in tight paddocks. Abandoned factories and grain silos stand like long dead sentinels on horizon, which seems like it was too far away to ever reach. It's one of the most emotive landscapes we've yet encountered, and if you ever get the chance, take the six or seven hours it takes to drive through it. You really won't be disappointed.
Strangely, the people we spoke to whilst we were in Dodge City didn't see the geography around them as we had. Perhaps it's about the familiarity of it all, especially if it's the only place you've ever lived, as one waitress told us - but to us it was a very special few hours. We retired early, as there was really nobody around - we are treating this as a rest night, partly after last night's excess and partly because there isn't actually that much happening in Dodge - perhaps that's why the well known phrase was invented in the first place?
After a restful evening, where Nick enjoyed the hot tub whilst I pounded the treadmill for the first time in too long, we left Dodge City with a bit of a quandary. You see, our hastily scrawled itinerary says that by this evening we should really be in Vail, deep in the Colorado Rockies, but that implies about 8-9 hours of driving. Following a brief discussion, we decide that we'll just keep going until we get tired or bored and stop somewhere, perhaps at Colorado Springs - a smaller town near Denver, which sits right at the foot of the mountains.
Once we arrive there however, it's clear that there's not much going on outside of the ubiquitous strip mall conglomeration and a couple of restaurants, so Nick - at this point clearly trying to set some sort of distance driving record - makes a command decision and we head on up into the Rockies. The next few hours also underline the tragedy involved in the loss of my imagery, because if Kansas was beautiful for its elegant desolation then the Rockies are beautiful for their sheer majestic scale. I wish I had more to show you, again Nick's kindly a couple of his photos to illustrate the next few posts, as some of this scenery is beyond what I can describe.
We arrived late into Breckenridge, a pretty little ski lodge town, and found a hotel. We went out for a few congratulatory drinks and some food, but Breck (as its known locally) is a very popular destination for college kids from all over the US - thus most of the bars were crammed with almost identical looking twenty year olds and we couldn't seem to engage as we normally would.
We're hiking tomorrow so an early night seemed in order - I'll speak to you from the mountains.