As with the final day of any excursion, day three started with the best intentions. Our friends hadn't hit it too hard the night before, and the prospect of finishing their drive was becoming a reality. After a nice lunch in downtown Denver it was back to the Sienna, back to the road, and back to Google Maps.
6% downhill grades were hellish on the already questionable brakes of the Sienna. Driving down the Rocky Mountains is a harrowing experience for anyone whose brakes are close to retirement age. Dropping into low gear and attacking the hills semi-truck stylee proved to be the only method that could prevent the passenger and the constant observer -- now behind the wheel -- from uncontrollable tremors once the mountains broke.
The crossover from Colorado to Utah is weird at best. Pockets of civilization are strewn along the strangest areas in the southern end of the Beehive State, reminding you that nowhere is never really nowhere. And as the Arizona border creeps closer and closer, the populace becomes sparse and transitions from small towns and villages into communes and retreats...each as seemingly mysterious as the Utah landscape.
The dimly lit Navajo Nation of Northern Arizona leads the road trippers to the San Francisco Peaks of Flagstaff, AZ. For the driver -- and the Sienna -- this is home. Their trip is over. For the passenger it's merely a layover until he reaches his home in the Sonoran wasteland that is Tempe. For the constant observer Flagstaff is a much-needed retreat from the big city; a retreat filled with family, old friends, and rocky reunions.
It was a trip filled with musical memories. Everything from songs reminding us of exes to the passenger introducing this constant observer to something he's been stubbornly missing out on. It was a trip that will be recollected with complex melodies and catchy hooks...and a severe dislike for the Quality Inn in Des Moines.