The last road trip me and Blue Eyes took, a year ago, was a bit of a disaster. Well, more than a bit of a disaster. It included some tortured moments of heartache, tears, pleading for information, agonizing over a life story that had been obliterated by the truth about Blue Eyes’ secret life. It also included some serious intestinal blockage for Blue Eyes caused mostly by stress (and partly by the food he was eating at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur) and a three day stay at a hospital in Silicon Valley. But, the trip also precipitated my participation in a betrayed spouse seminar that really truly helped me get back on my feet. I will always look for a silver lining.
This year, things are much much better. My severe trauma has abated. I go through whole days, weeks even with little thought regarding the affairs of my husband’s betrayal. Blue Eyes attends 12 step, fellowship, therapy, Buddhist meditation and engages regularly in recovery work while at home, so there is no way I will ever forget he is a sex addict. It is important for me to remember he is a sex addict. That is the reality of who I am married to, of who I love.
We are having our master bath remodeled. Unfortunately, our house is old and we do not have an en-suite, but this bath is across the hall from our bedroom and the main bathroom we use, so I call it, The Master Bath. Anyway, I have lived through remodeling on this house for nearly two decades. The house has great bones, some lovely features, and an awesome location in our city, but the old thing was boarded up when we purchased it in November, 1996. Although the house was built in 1939-1940, we are only the second owners. We have now remodeled every room and are starting over again. This bathroom was remodeled on the cheap and needed to be at least partially complete by the time we moved in, because it would have the only bathtub and shower in the house, at the time. Even though it would be our main bath, it did not have a working toilet. Well, truth be told, it had no toilet at all but just a rag sticking out of a hole in the floor. This was truly a fixer upper. I love our house now, but back then, we had no money and we lived with some pretty messed up spaces for quite a while. So, our very modest bath is getting a luxurious make over. It is nearly done now. When it is complete, I will post some pictures.
Early last month I was absolutely dreading the thought of the dust, the noise, the men coming in and out of the house all day and all this happening right outside my bedroom on one side, and right outside my home office on the other side of the hall. We already had the whirlwind business trip to NYC/Montreal scheduled shortly after construction was to commence, but I wanted to extend our time away. I attended a painting workshop back in April given by a talented artist, whom I adore. She was planning another workshop in Taos, New Mexico for right around the end of September. I decided a road trip was in order and I would attend her three-day workshop. We planned to drive straight down to New Mexico by way of Idaho and Utah. We would spend four days in Taos and then a couple nights in Santa Fe, then a night with my brother in Salt Lake City, then home. As the trip grew closer, however, and I was solidifying hotels, Blue Eyes started to voice his concerns. I could have easily done this trip by myself, and in fact had thought about it, having all that time to myself on the one hand seemed exciting, and on the other a little scary. That’s a lot of driving alone. Blue Eyes definitely wanted to go with me, he just wasn’t excited about all the time in Taos and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive myself, about that many days in a row painting. It’s not really my style, yet. My desire to paint kind of ebbs and flows. I thought what if I don’t feel like painting those days or even painting the landscape she has chosen? Blue Eyes also started talking about Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming, and how much he wanted to visit, and maybe Yellowstone… I mean if we were going on a road trip in the wild west, why not? Just about the time we were changing our plans around, the artist emailed to say she did not have any other painters signed up for the workshop, so I could pretty much dictate what I wanted to do for those three days. I emailed her back letting her know we would only be in Taos for one day. She said if it worked into my plans, she would be happy to paint with me on that day. When we packed the car, we packed all the acrylic and oil painting supplies I own, plus two easels. I figured Blue Eyes could paint with us. Something a little out of his comfort zone.
We packed up my favorite road trip machine, the Porsche Cayenne, and headed out for Idaho. Our trip went like this…
Day One – Twin Falls, Idaho
We left our house in the early afternoon on a Saturday and drove pretty much straight through to Twin Falls, approximately 8 hours. It was a gorgeous Autumn day with clear blue skies. Driving is not Blue Eyes’ favorite, but he decided he would drive until dark and then I could take over as his night vision is not that great. All was good until about an hour into my driving time, I could feel myself getting sick. My head started to ache and my throat was on fire. I was running a fever and had that general icky feeling. I thought about how miserable our son was a few days before when he gave me a hug and kiss at the Ramen shop in midtown Manhattan. Grrr. We arrived at our modest little Holiday Inn and I desperately ripped apart my bags looking for Airborne and anything that could possibly give me some relief. I had a fitful night’s sleep and in the morning, Blue Eyes ignored my glaring cold symptoms and merely asked, “so, are you ready to take a shower and get on the road,” as if I had miraculously healed over night. I know he didn’t want to think about me getting sick on the very first day of our trip any more than I did, but there was the reality of it, stuck right there in my throat. I threw a little fit and told him I was upset that he was acting like I wasn’t actually sick. What would be the point of that? I came out of the bathroom after my shower to find he had made me some hot tea and a vitamin drink. We headed out to a Starbucks to get a breakfast snack and more tea.
Day Two – Jackson, Wyoming
Twin Falls was merely a practical stop. A place to sleep, but Blue Eyes ended up researching the area a bit and we decided to go to Shoshone Park and see the falls before getting on the road for Jackson.
Our drive from Twin Falls to Teton Village/Jackson Wyoming was a very very pretty one. I had no idea Idaho had so many spots to view the gorgeous snake river & canyons.
After a very leisurely drive, stopping wherever we wished (although I could kick myself for not having Blue Eyes pull over a couple more times as we drove right on by some amazing photo ops), we arrived at our hotel late afternoon. My head cold was just getting more intense, so we opted to stay at the hotel for dinner and enjoy the sunset view from our balcony.
Day Three – Jackson, Wyoming
The Grand Tetons in Wyoming are amazing. Although we had planned to hike to some of the awesome view points in The Grand Teton National Park on our one full day in Wyoming, and Blue Eyes had even brought his hiking boots (it is quite shocking he even has hiking boots, actually) there was no way I was well enough for hiking.
Instead, we had the hotel pack us up a lovely picnic lunch and direct us to the most beautiful spot they knew of. We dined on charcuterie and imported cheeses, cold poached salmon with grilled asparagus and tzatziki sauce plus fresh berries and mint at a picnic table on String Lake.
After our picnic, we took a scenic drive around Jenny Lake. We both had a lovely day despite my being under the weather.
Day Four – Aspen, Colorado
We woke early on our second day in Wyoming so that we could go on a private guided wildlife safari, of sorts, before leaving for our long drive to Aspen.
Above: view of the Tetons and Jackson Lake from Jackson Lake Lodge (there was actually a black bear eating the final remnants of a moose carcass right off to the right of this picture, but it was impossible to get a photo that didn’t look like a big black blob).
We saw moose, and prong horned antelope
We spent about an hour and a half listening to the bugling mating calls of the male elk. It was amazing. Each male has his own unique bugle call. We watched the elk cross over the clearing below and then we heard the male elk fighting, their antlers crashing against each other and echoing off the mountainside.
While watching and listening to the elk, this cute little red fox kept crossing our path. What a tail!
We also saw herds of buffalo and this beautiful team of horses with the Grand Tetons as their backdrop. A great final memory of our time in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. We did not make it to Yellowstone this trip. Not enough time.
We ended up arriving Aspen after dark.
Day Five – Taos, New Mexico
There was a lot of driving, unpacking, and packing on this trip. It all worked out okay. We slept in in Aspen and ended up having a wonderful lunch at an adorable French restaurant Creperie du Village in downtown Aspen. We also did a little shopping.
Above: Creperie du Village Soupe a L’Oignon
Below: Boeuf Bourguignon Crepe
After lunch and shopping, we departed Aspen for New Mexico by way of Colorado Hwy. 82, Independence Pass Highway. Above, Aspen groves.
Below: the beautiful yet treacherous highway 82.
We arrived Taos, New Mexico at about 8:30pm. After our day of driving, plus me getting out of the car in 38 degrees wearing linen shorts and a lightweight blouse, hiking a half mile up hill at 12,000 feet elevation to get a picture that isn’t even worth posting, by the time we got to our Taos hotel, I was in no condition to go out to eat. We ordered dinner into our room. Our hotel was casita style, so when we put our dishes out before bed, we called room service to make sure they picked it up right away. They said they would.
We were woken at approximately 2:45 in the morning by some critter eating the leftovers of our dinner outside our door. Obviously the hotel staff had neglected to pick up the dishes. We sat there for a few minutes hoping the animal would quickly eat what it wanted and leave. Nope, he just kept eating and eating and clanking dishes and there was no way we could get back to sleep with that racket. I looked out the window to see who our visitor was. It was a SKUNK! Now that was definitely the worst case scenario. A bear would be scary, but a skunk, NO. We called the front desk and they said they would send someone right over. About 10 minutes later two young men arrived with flashlights and keys. They jangled the keys around and coaxed the skunk off our patio. I was holding my breath making sure they didn’t aggravate the skunk… no one wants a mad skunk. They finally got the skunk to leave the food alone. They promptly picked up the tray and left. Phew, now we would be able to get back to sleep. Nope. We had left a number of tortilla chips on the tray from our chips and guac, but they must have dropped some because the skunk was back and he was really chomping on those chips. For twenty minutes he was crunching away. He finally left and after being awake for about an hour, we finally got back to sleep. So, I guess we should add skunk to our road trip wildlife viewing experience. A skunk eating chips and guacamole!
Day Six – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Due to the fact that I was still sick, we canceled our painting excursion and instead headed to the Taos Pueblos (Taos Pueblo UNESCO)
“Situated in the valley of a small tributary of the Rio Grande, this Pueblo Indian settlement, consisting of adobe dwellings and ceremonial buildings, exemplifies the enduring culture of a group of the present-day Pueblo Indians. It is one of a group of settlements established in the late 13th and early 14th centuries in the valleys of the Rio Grande and its tributaries that have survived to the present day and constitutes a significant stage in the history of urban, community and cultural life and development in this region. Pueblo de Taos is similar to the settlements in the Four Corners area of the Anasazi, or ancient Pueblo people at such places as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, and continues to be a thriving community with a living culture.”
After touring the pueblos, we headed to Santa Fe and enjoyed this gorgeous sunset at the Four Seasons Encantado Santa Fe. My favorite hotel of the trip. It does help that they upgraded us to a suite. It was lovely.
Day Seven – Santa Fe, New Mexico
We ended up relaxing most of our first day in Santa Fe. We would have extended our trip here if we could have, but they were sold out. We brought our painting supplies to the room and both Blue Eyes and I set up easels on the extensive patio and painted the gorgeous landscape. It was fun. Blue Eyes really got into it.
Later we went into town for tapas at La Boca Santa Fe. Below: Gambas al Ajillo. Delicious!
Day Eight – Moab, Utah
Before leaving Santa Fe, we had Saturday brunch at another fabulous Santa Fe restaurant, Cafe Pasqual where we had the most amazing BLT I have ever had. I dream about it with it’s chile rubbed bacon, roasted poblanos smothered in melted jack cheese, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, on toasted chile cornbread. Oh my!
We dedicated the rest of our time in Santa Fe to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art, Georgia O’Keeffe in Process exhibit. So worth the time spent in both of these wonderful museums. I love Georgia!
After spending as much time as we could carve out at the museums in Santa Fe, we headed out. Below: on the road again in New Mexico.
Day Nine – Moab, Utah
We arrived Moab and Sorrel River Ranch Resort late Saturday evening.
Sunday morning we woke to a delicious breakfast (above), and the most amazing view (below).
We fell in love with this resort. The service is a bit shaky, since they bring in most of the staff seasonally and they are spottily trained, but the location just cannot be beat. It is a working ranch.
Below: making friends, look at that backdrop.
Sunday evening, we headed over to Arches National Park to view some of the red rock amazingness at sunset.
Below: the path to Sand Dune arch with it’s deep pink sand
Below: view of broken arch at dusk.
Day Ten – Moab, Utah
We woke up Monday morning to pouring down rain at the ranch. Lucky us as we had a couple’s spa day all booked. We ate a leisurely breakfast then headed to the spa where we enjoyed The Ultimate Sorrel River Quench. Our couple’s day included a soak, an ultra-hydrating scrub, wrap, hot oil scalp ritual, and ended with a hydrating Sorrel River shea butter massage, all in our favorite aroma, I chose orange blossom. We each ended with a divine pedicure.
Day Eleven – Salt Lake City, Utah
On our last day in Moab, we decided to head back into the park one more time before heading to Salt Lake City. Below, a picture of our drive from the ranch back out to the highway. Colorado River canyon.
Below: Park Avenue formation at Arches National Park
Below: a bunch of arches including double arch, just not a great view of it.
Puddles left from rain the day before. Obviously we didn’t do any hiking, me in my bedazzled flip flops and fresh pink pedicure.
Below: our “little” Porsche Cayenne was feeling a bit intimidated by the big camping thing in front of her.
Day Twelve – Boise, Idaho
We stayed one night in Salt Lake City and had breakfast with my brother, The Listener, his wife, their 3 year old, and of course that little baby I visited in February. He’s a big boy now, eight months old!
Also, Blue Eyes is from southern California, the original home of In n Out burger and we had to have at least one burger on our road trip, since Utah is lucky enough to have the fast food chain there now.
Below: on the road again, Utah Sky.
Boise was, like Twin Falls, merely a practical stop, to break up the driving. We arrived at dusk, ate two meals, and then were on our way back home, and to our still unfinished bathroom. We listened to a lot of music on our road trip and since Blue Eyes did most (well all) of the driving, me having been under the weather and all, I got to pick the music. Some of the music was triggering. I had one bad spell after leaving Boise, where words of a song made me think of what I have lost, I just went away, but that was it. In 12 days, one moment of weakness, one little side trip to trauma-ville. I consider this a great success.
Just before arriving home, we stopped briefly at the gorgeous Multnomah Falls, which is about 30 minutes from our house.
We really loved our road trip. We did it. Even with one of us being under the weather, we made it, and we loved it!