August, 2017 - Devil's Highway to Denver

"I don't think I've ever gone that way. Let's try that."

That's how I like to start trips if ever I can. On  August 17th, my lovely bride and I motored from Goodyear, Arizona to Denver, Colorado in my Mustang. Initially I thought of going up the US191 through Moab, Utah, but both Google and Apple maps warned of issues on the I-70. So, we decided to take I-17, to I-40, to I-25. Except that I changed my mind after crossing into New Mexico, and veered Northward early onto the US491. Fun fact (which I learned later): this was previously named Route 666, and nicknamed "The Devil's Highway".

Mustang shadow. Image sized as a Facebook cover photo.
There are some pretty vast boring stretches along the 491, punctuated by moments of beauty. The hills and mesas that rose out of otherwise bleak, flat landscape were stunning for their striations and contrast with the scrub land around them.

I'm still struggling with balancing the joy of the journey versus reaching my destination. There were three places along the route that I really ought to have stopped for photos, but kept rolling. If someone is expecting me, I tend to de-prioritize photos along the way. As we were staying with a friend of mine from high school, I felt pressured to stop as little as possible.

Sunset along the US491 in New Mexico.
Angelina drove us on the leg of the trip into Shiprock, and we stopped for dinner at the Nataani Nez restaurant. We shared a Navajo taco and a sopapilla, and we didn't finish. If we go back that way again, we'll make another stop, and I'll be trying the lamb.

Nataani Nez restaurant.
We made it to the 285 in Colorado, where we eventually pulled off into a McDonald's parking lot to nap for a few hours. I woke up and my wife slept fitfully as I drove us on into Denver to my friend Aaron's house. Colorado photos in next post.


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