Life Is A Road Trip

The Amazing Adventures of a Zoobroker and a Sentiographer


Billiards, LoDo, Denver

on the roadMatt HillComment

I was still recovering from my flu in Santa Fe when we drove up to Denver. We stopped in Pueblo, CO for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. What a dead town... Good thing we drove up the east side, too, as there was a huge snowstorm that blew through and closed down passes on the west side. We hit Breckenridge for a day of skiing:


I am smiling here, but this was on the tail end of my flu. Combine that with smoking and an altitude of 10,000 feet. Eesh. Every 1/3 of a run I'd lean on my poles and wheeze and hack up phlegm. But it was soooo worth it. I skied the Rockies for the first time, although I can barely remember it. The village reminded me of growing up in the Adirondacks - it was very much reminiscent of Lake Placid, only very yuppiized. Although that's what I hear happened to Lake Placid, too.

So, Zoo began schooling me on pool at Tarantula's (see center of this photo). Lots of tables, sometimes lots of cute gals, though I wasn't in any condition to appreciate that :(


Denver is a great-looking city. I mean, ain't it grand to have the Rockies as your neighbor?


And we had our first encounter with Croc's. Ummmmmm, yeah. We made friends with one of the watresses and had a blast drinking with her and the other wait staff the following evening.


And after that, a jealous male friend form the wait staff almost killed hisself tearing through red lights in a drunken state because someone decided that sticking a tongue out at at him was good behavior. Score one for sobriety. Dork should have listened to us and not driven. We checked the next day and he ended up OK.

Ah, Denver. A great cooldown after 1,862 miles driven and 32 Starbucks visited

Zoo Broker's RT1 Memories ...


God, that was a good time, that's what got us started on this crazy passion. I don't have a ton of pictures from the trip, I will have to rely on Spammer to put some up. Some of the fragments that I remember right now ...

... Spammer standing outside Barney's Beanery (after rocking the house, karaoke style, of course), hammered, telling me that he might urinate himself. Fat girl groping me. Taping conversation with the agent of an actor (who shall remain unnamed) ranting about said actor.

... strippers who had book recommendations.

... the ceiling of dollar bills in Seligman, THE road.

... Spammer getting deathly ill in Santa Fe, getting groped by cougars, chili.

... Breckenridge, Crocs, Spammer watching Christy kissing me like a rabbit, "poor baby", her friend almost killing himself running a red light.

New Mexico, my head, my new love for Santa Fe

on the roadMatt HillComment

So we made for Santa Fe with a stop in Albequerque, NM. IMO, Albequerque was pretty boring. We stopped in Old Town for lunch. Great food. Looked touristy. The outskirts of town, coming in on Route 66 looked tired... not in an interesting way. But I did stop at a roadside stand to get some nuts I had never had before. They were like pistascios in a sunflower seed shell. Good shit.

Albequerque has an Edo section (East Downtown) that is similar to Williamsburg in Brooklyn - gentrification and such. Trendy kids, cheap flats.

We stopped so Zoo could look at some apartments he had heard about in an old school. Pretty cool, if you ask me, but unfortunately, it's a heavily gated community, and we go there at 5:15, so they office was closed. Looked cool anyway.

Santa Fe is only 'bout 2 hours north of there. Arrived around dusk.

Checked in and went out to Cowgirl for dinner. More barbeque and texas chili fries. Yum. After that, a local bar with live music. Was D-E-A-D in Santa Fe, but it was a godo time to drink. So I did! And if you're ever at 7,500 feet (or any altitude you're not used to...), here is a rule of thumb: DRINK ONLY 1/2 OF WHAT YOU'RE USED TO DRINKING, NOT DOUBLE.

Yup - you guessed it. A massive hangover and some embarrassing moments. Like flirting with 50-something lesbians. Hey - they were awesome! Great gals.

Anyway... next day - terrible hangover and then some nasty 24-hour flu. In bed for a day. Went our for lunch - incredible green chili stew, then back in bed. Stayed overnight - bad weather coming in and our plans to skit at Taos ruined becuase they don't like snowboarders (Ki snowboards, I ski). One of our goals is to run up to the Aspen are and see an old friend of mine from high school... but blizzard is coming in, ole' Spammer is sick and the west side of the Rockies is looking dangerous to drive over in February...

So far, Santa Fe has felt more right than any city, despite the fact that I am dead sick and can barely understand what's going on. It's full of artists and beautiful surroundings. It's like a small town, comfy and a short run gets you to the wilderness or skiing.

It could have been an amazing road...

new mexicoMatt HillComment

But Zoo pussed out. (snicker). Just kidding - i urged him to not get us stuck in the snow on a road where nobody drove and we had no cell reception. Bad idea. But he gave it the old road tripper try! Maybe he was just jealous that I was driving when we were on the original greatest road on Earth... After crossing into New Mexico, we saw another off-road loop opportunity and wanted to get off the highway. 






So after extricating ourselves in reverse, we stopped above the canyon for a photo opp and beef jerky. When I find the B/W scans, I'll post those. They were awesome.

Waking up in Sedona

arizonaMatt HillComment

The night before, after hitting the local bar and then back to the hotel, we ended up hanging out with a group of firemen/ladies who were in town for training on rescue in wilderness environments. It was a blast, and there were even a few from NYC and NJ. Nice cold night, cold beers and good neighbors. So, we awoke, grabbed our coffee and found out that the main highway leading back up to the interstate that runs through Red Rock State Park was closed, due to part of it falling into the canyon... the previous day. Seems like our  previous day;s excuriosn on the greatest road on earth was fortuitous! Now we just got to see less.. must come back sometime to see the majesty of those red rocks...





The Original Greatest Road on Earth, Part II

arizona, on the roadMatt HillComment

Zoo wrote his own post about our adventure here, and now here's my take. We were aimed towards making Seonda, AZ when we spotted a way to loop down south from Ash Fork under and come up on it so that we didn't have to backtrack. We hate driving the same road twice and will do anything to avoid it. It simply isn't in the road tripper spirit, or manly.

As we drove down the highway, Zoo spotted a side road the seemed to cut north of the mountains and drop straight into Sedona. I said, "where is it?"

He pointed, "there!" SHARP LEFT, boogie right, then stop. That wonderful, bullet-ridden sign and a cattle gate. I'm form the East Coast and had never seen a cattle gate. I was afraid we would fall in. No worries, we forged on into... cattle land.

Wide open spaces, black steer staring us down with clumps of yellow grass hanging from their mouths... it was idyllic. It was awesome. It was exciting. We stop and bust out the film camera. Bam. Wow. Breathless, because I knew the latent images I was burning into the silver halides would knock me over... I mean, how could they not? This was the great unknown. Now.

Arizona Cattle
Spammer on a Lonely Road
Zoo Standdown
Lonely Roads...

And this was just the beginning...


After this, the road dipped through gullies, wound around lots of enormous ranches and we passed (I swear) only seven trucks on their way out and one poor PT Cruiser loaded with a family later on... But I will get to that.

It was gorgeous. No one was around, we had a feeling (mind you, only a feeling) we would make it out of this alive when we realized that turning back would put us severely out of our way and damage our manly road tripping egos. So, despite the disappearing light and rising elevation, we pressed on. It was only supposed to be about 9 miles on rough road, and this was all dirt and gravel, baby.


That's when the PT Cruiser passed us, loaded with parents, kids and vacation accoutrements. We gasped and sighed. Oh, God, they are not likely to make it out of here. I mean, we were looking at little gray lines on the map and there were tons of branchings on the way to where we were at this point, and they were just starting at dusk! Hopefully, they were headed out to a ranch... Bu that PT Cruiser was a little lower to the ground than our Toyota Highlander had a titch more clearance... We waved at them like the devil was chasing them. They just smiled gaily and waved back... Sigh...

As we continued on, the hills and gullies turned into mountainous terrain. We had gone from almost-desert flatlands to the mountains, and it was just plain invigorating. And we did NOT want to be out in this area in the dark. As we crested a rise and saw the cut in the mountain ahead, our hopes rose, and then the road curve to the right and switchbacked around mountainsides, no guard rail, 10', 20' 40' 100' drops around the mountains... eventually bringing us to the cut in the mountain pass.

It was dusk, and I swear as we passed through the cut onto the near-summit, a wash of moisture passed over us. We stopped the truck,hopped out and landed in mud. It was totally arid moments before and all along our path. Spread out below us was the Sedona Valley, lit up and glittering... waiting for us to come and quench out thirst on their beer, and perhaps make a pass at some locals. Squish. Cold. Wonderful.

We hopped back in the car and headed down to what we hoped was a little town called Jerome. On the edge of town, our welcome was a sign that bore this warning, "IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE IN RANGE" and it was ridden with bullet holes and rode a chain-link fence with barbed wire. WTF? We boogied.

And in 100 yards, we were in the quaint, artsy town of Jerome. WTF again? We were relieved, and proceeded to drive down the windy (paved) roads into Sedona. Dropped our shite off at the hotel and went out for brisket at a local family-style BBQ joint.