Driving Aimlessly

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 16, 2010, was a gorgeous day here in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Even though I had just gotten off work in the morning from working the night shift, I couldn’t allow myself to go to sleep and let another beautiful day slip by. Hubby was at work. I asked my niece (who had worked the shift with me) if she would go sightseeing with me. She said she had to go to sleep. She’s been sleep deprived. I asked friends who were not at work. They all had things to do. I would normally ask my daughter to do things with me when she happens to be off, but her husband was off also. They’re newlyweds and have conflicting work schedules so, when both of them are off at the same time, it’s a real treat for both of them…which was why I didn’t even bother asking her.

A little voice inside told me, You don’t have to depend on other people to accomplish what you want to do. Just do it. That was exactly what I did. I packed some snacks and some bottled water. I packed my laptop in case I decided to do some writing wherever I was going. At 9 a.m., I got into my car, made a bee-line to a nearby ATM, and then got on I-80 west, not knowing where I was going. All I knew was that I had to go somewhere, away from town, where I could enjoy nature and the glorious day.

First, I thought of going to Crystal Lake or Granite Reservoir to relax while I write my novel, or to Vedauwoo to do some hiking. That’s only a 35 minute drive from town. Then I remembered my bad experience with a stranger in Vedauwoo three years ago. I axed the thought immediately. I then redirected my car’s path south on I-25. I called my husband. “Hon, it’s a beautiful day and I felt like I’ve been cooped up all year long, I’m going out for a drive.” There was silence. Then he said, “Okay, keep in touch.” His voice was flat and controlled. Even though we’ve done a couple of weekend trips outside of Cheyenne during the winter months, it was not enough for my adventurous, spontaneous, and restless spirit. Also, the weather on those days was not anything like yesterday’s—warm and sunny.

There I was going almost 80 miles an hour on the interstate and at the same time brainstorming where to go. I thought of going to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It’s too far, I told myself. Besides, I dreaded going through the Denver traffic. I’d be late for a 5 p.m. dinner with some friends back in Cheyenne. I was getting close to Fort Collins, Colorado. Think fast, I told myself. I decided to go to Loveland and park my car by the lake there, underneath some tall oak trees. The lake is neither desolate nor isolated. There’s no reason for me to be scared. It would be a nice place to write.

I passed the first exit to Fort Collins and immediately got hung up in bumper-to-bumper one-lane traffic that crawled along foot by foot. Oh, how I wished I’d taken that first exit. Too late. I had to suffer along with the rest of the crazies who decided to be on the road yesterday. I wonder if they had the same intention as me.

There was road construction everywhere. It was already 10 a.m. Instead of enjoying myself with nature somewhere, away from civilization, I was stuck in the middle of highway traffic with suburban noises, activities, and sights. I had to change my destination yet again. So, I got off at the next Fort Collins exit. I could have taken College Avenue and headed south to Loveland. Instead, I drove past College Avenue and drove all the way to the end of Prospect Road. I didn’t find anything exciting there…just housing subdivisions. I turned around until I hit a major road that runs north/south. I headed south. My bladder was very full; I had to go to the restroom with great urgency. Thank goodness, I came upon a gas station with a convenience store. My, oh, my, what a relief that was. I bought a small bag of chips. I didn’t really need it. It was just my way of thanking the establishment for saving me from my personal crisis. I asked the sales clerk if there are any scenic places to visit in the area.

“Absolutely,” she said with a smile. “Horsetooth Reservoir is just up on the mountain.” She pointed to the west. “Just turn right on that road there.” She pointed out the road to me. “There are places you can park and picnic. And lots of hiking and biking trails, too,” she added. I thanked her and followed her directions.

I drove a mile before the road zig-zags up to the top. When I reached the top, I looked down below. The view was magnificent. I drove further around the lake, stopping every so often to take some pictures and enjoy the view. The woman was right. The reservoir is beautiful. It’s also huge. It is much longer than it is wide. I couldn’t see where its length ends. The water was clear blue. So blue that it was hypnotizing.

The sun was already way up in the sky by the time I arrived there, but the temperature was still comfortable. There was a light breeze, just enough to move the air. For the most part, the sky was blue. Only a few clouds could be seen. I drove further still and came upon some vacation homes and a small marina.

It was the middle of the week, so most of the boats were tied up there. Only a handful of boats were racing across the water. A colorful sailboat was sailing on by, as well. I watched it until it disappeared from my sight.
I had only driven a third of the way around the lake, but I wanted to have lunch with hubby.

I looked at the time on my dashboard. It showed 11:11 a.m. I called hubby and asked if he’d eaten lunch already. He hadn’t yet. I asked if he could wait until noon. He said he would and asked where I was. His voice was still flat and controlled. As usual, I miscalculated the time. I was 38 minutes late picking him up from work. But hubby was understanding.