The first day of our honeymoon, a small blizzard cutting across the Rockies kept us stationary. We waited for the interstate to clear in a suburban Denver Whole Foods, making a last-minute decision to steer towards Moab, UT from the recommendation of a staff member who lingered by the kombacha.
Someone I made-out with once often quoted Horace Greeley’s famous line, embedding Manifest Destiny with regrettable memories. I sat comfortably next to my husband and marveled that I ended up with someone who wasn’t insufferable, considering my previous penchant for those with a high level of self-importance.
The interstate cleared by early afternoon. We headed west.
As we left Colorado behind, we stared out at the vast Utah desert. “Moab,” we reminded ourselves, as the sun hung low in the afternoon sky. We spent most of our trip chasing the daylight, incorrectly calculating the sunsets across the west.
Despite the urging of Google Maps, we turned left 2 miles too soon so we could watch the sunset from Fisher Towers. “This road follows the river, I have a good feeling about it,” I told my husband.
The desolate landscape changed drastically into the Colorado River carving its home into the surrounding red rocks. The sun caught the tip of Fisher Towers, igniting the rocks in a spectacular hue as it sunk behind the canyon walls. Every color looked like an exaggeration of its true form: an impossibly blue river, reflecting the clear sky above it; desert flora created an electric green boarder between the river and the rocks; the rocks glowed a rusty red, landscape I had only seen photographs of. It felt like an alarming mixture of being in a Wild West movie and a Yosemite Sam cartoon.
It took my breath away.
We had a mediocre burger at a biker bar before deciding to spend $200 to sleep in a hotel, steps away from the river. Our camping gear sat in the back of our car as we climbed into the cowboy-themed bedroom. We watched a meteor shower from the back porch before turning in early, the promise of a sunrise on the river before us. The next day, we would drive to California.