The thing they don’t tell you is how Colorado is flat. As a kid from Ohio, I always pictured mountains over yonder. So when my family piled in our silver Ford Taurus station wagon with the burgundy interior for a two-week western road trip, I hunkered in the backseat with my brother, filling a spiral-bound journal with my snarky commentary, ready to see some snowcapped peaks.
Ohio is not generally known as hill country. With the exception of a little strip near the West Virginian border, Ohio is pretty darn flat itself. Like if Ohio is a B-cup, Kansas is more like the training bra you get when you just need to cover your nubs. Mount Everest was an F-cup that you had to special order from JC Penney, and I assumed Colorado was a solid double D.
But the drive through Kansas on the way to Colorado redefined my understanding of flat. The plains stretched out on either side of the road as far as the eye could see. At one point after driving hour after hour after flattened hour, my dad pulled the car over and declared, “I want to beat myself with a stick.” We passed a woman sitting on the porch of her house, staring off into the distance. You could get lost forever in that sky. As we drove through Kansas, Colorado felt like a promise. Just a little further and we’d see a change in the topography, something new for our eyes to settle on.
And then we crossed into Colorado. We’re here, mountains! Where are you? I expected the Rockies to meet me at the border, payment for a monotonous job well done. But we rolled into Colorado with nary a mountain in sight. For hours I strained my eyes into the distance, trying to see the beginnings of the Rockies. But I saw flat and more flat.
I was fourteen and on the lookout for change, desperate for it. New boyfriend, new school, new hips, new anything. Hurry up, life. Gimme changes. READ MORE