Chapter 10 : Ouray to Utah
Friday, 2000 June 2
We left Ouray early on Friday morning, heading for Grand Junction. T A’s appointment in Sacramento was cancelled, so we headed for our alternate destination: Las Vegas. Up U.S. 550 through Montrose, then west on Interstate 70 into Utah. When we crossed the border we noticed the same phenomenon that we’d noticed when crossing any state border: the geography just changed, and we knew — even without the assistance of a big sign — that we’d entered yet another state.
This day was probably the most uneventful one that we’d had so far. Our goal was Las Vegas on Saturday, so except for a few rest stops along the way we didn’t do anything else but drive. We reached I-15 in the early afternoon, and turned south toward Vegas.
Now I’ve got to explain a little about the way that we were driving. If you’ll recall, T A’s Metro had a top speed of about 71 miles per hour. For most of the time that we drove together, T A took the lead and I followed, usually hanging back about half a mile. That might seem to be a large distance, but we did have our CBs on and every once in a while we talked. I usually kept the Saturn’s cruise control engaged, but I found that no matter how I picked the set point that it was always either a bit faster than T A’s speed or a bit slower than T A’s speed. When I started dropping back too far, maybe a mile or so, I accelerated to 75 mph and proceeded to catch up.
But by the afternoon I was getting tired. Our day in Ouray was a bit longer than we’d expected. We’d left Bill and Rena’s place about 10 o’clock; but after the usual check-the-mail-and-settle-in procedure the time was midnight before I fell asleep. I think that T A stayed up even later. And without the usual sightseeing breaks during the day, I was finding that the road was making me a bit weary. I began dropping back a bit further than usual, having set the cruise control at 70 to avoid overtaking T A. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but the range of a CB radio isn’t unlimited, despite what popular entertainment may seem to imply, and the maximum useful distance between me and T A was about 2 and a half miles if the land was flat, and less when we were in the mountains.
So I began to get further and further behind T A, eventually reaching a point where he couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t hear him. Looking for some stimulation, I turned the A/C on high and the stereo up high, but that wasn’t stopping my yawning. The quart of coffee that I carried wasn’t keeping me awake, so I made a brief rest stop a few miles south of Cedar City, Utah. I figured on a five-minute break, then making an over-the-limit dash to join up again with T A. Well, I failed miserably. The five minutes turned into a 30 minute nap, and when I finally got back on the road the fatigue hit me within a couple of miles. Distance be damned; I had to stop.
I was coming up on St. George, Utah and there were several billboards advertising motels. I was in no condition to get picky, so I took the first exit that I saw an pulled into the first motel on the right. The time was five o’clock in the afternoon, and I was stopping for the day. Meanwhile, about 30 miles south of there, T A was in Mesquite, Nevada…
Although T A and I where several miles apart we weren’t really out of contact. Back in Chapter 6 of this narrative, I mentioned that during the time before we met in Audubon that we were communicating by relaying messages via my home telephone where my wife, the lovely Lisa, was standing by. Now once again I called her, explaining the situation and giving my location. She told me that T A hadn’t yet called her. I expected that he would though, and I told Lisa that I’d call back in two hours. When I did call again, I found that T A was holed up in a motel in Mesquite, Nevada. Mesquite was about 33 miles away and just over the Nevada/Arizona state line. Lisa gave me the phone number there, and I called T A. We arranged to meet at 9:00 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time on Saturday morning.
A brief digression: I’ve mentioned the time zone, because while T A was in the Pacific zone, I was still in the Mountain zone. And to reach Mesquite, you’ve got to travel for 27 miles through Arizona, which is also on Pacific Daylight Saving Time; or, as Arizonans call it, “Mountain Standard Time”. You see, Arizona doesn’t believe in Daylight Saving Time — I often wonder about it myself — so the entire state never enjoys that wonderful semi-annual ritual of “which way do I turn the clock?” that makes the rest of us either happy to get an extra hour of sleep (the last Sunday of October) or grumpy because we had one less hour of sleep (the first Sunday of April).
Next: Under Surveillance