Aliens ruined the vacation

Our intrepid writer JoE Silva has now driven more than halfway to his final destination – Lake Tahoe – to cover the Amgen Tour of California for Versus. However, due to an irrational fear of dying in a flaming ball of twisted metal and steel, JoE is driving. His road tripping adventure continues…

Green River, UT – Don’t let the heading fool you Neil, there is little out here in the wilds of Utah that is green or wet. I’ve logged hundreds of miles now in this country, hundreds of miles of undulating terrain where you ears pop every 15 minutes because one moment your are staring down from reality at something like 11,000 feet and the next you are desperately trying not to bottom out the rental as you plunge toward the bottom of a canyon. There are few people who can survive in this sort of environment Neil. You’re not one of them and I’m pretty sure I’m not either.

For example, the reason I’ve been off the grid for the past 36 hours is because I’ve been recovering from the ordeals of leaving the comforts and practicalities of regular interstate travel. We’ve plowed through completely horizontal curtains of snow, hail, and sketchy hairpin mountain passes where you can overcook a turn by simply sneezing at 45 mph. It’s the kind of driving that will do more than just rattle your nerves. When you have a tight schedule to meet and you have to white knuckle it through these conditions or totally upended your schedule, the subsequent downtime is equally dramatic. After a particularly bad stretch my co-pilot and I decided to bed down in Denver for the night to take the edge off. But that didn’t work out so well either. Our hosts were so elated by our surprise visit that the wine came out before we’d even had a chance to exhale. They don’t pour wimpy stuff in the Mile High City Neil and if you’re not up for long pulls off a bottle of Infinite Monkey at 4AM fresh from a snow sodden stretch of I-70 then there’s very little that will be truly recuperative about your “rest stop.”

We had to get out there, cross the continental divide, and scream across Highway 50 aka “The Loneliest Highway in America before midnight or we’d be in no shape to dive into the media scrum that awaited us at the Tour. Not an easy task – especially when things started to get weird just north of Moab. Out here the rocks are Flaming Carrot orange, there is no cell service and fuel is in short supply. When you find a gas station at this great remove from society you have to visit it lest you be stranded 100 miles or so down the highway. It was at such a stop where we our navigation app lost contact with the satellite and we found ourselves on a deserted canyon road. Then right there above the wild sage that somehow is able to find water and flourish out here we saw “them.” (see photo)

Now I’ve watched as much sci fi as the next guy, but when you unexpectedly come face to face with this sort of stuff beyond the fourth wall as Kubrick called it…well, that’s when you really start to take stock of things Neil. Special Agent Scully and I weren’t up for it. Not at this hour and not this far into the trip. We got back on a proper road and beat a path to civilization and the kind of GoDs we were used to stumbling across in everyday society (see other photo) Plastic hammer or no, he came with the comfort of fried foods and air conditioning. And for now I’m going with that sensibility Neil. At least for the next few hundred miles or so. To be continued…

Follow JoE on Twitter to see when he cracks at @The_JoESilva and on his blog “Just off the radar”

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