Aug 20, 2008

The Final Destination

After spending a few weeks relaxing from our incredibly stress-free vacation on the Greek islands, Amanda and I were ready to do some more traveling. I flew to Ann Arbor to spend some time enjoying their unseasonably cool August. Our days were spent playing ladder ball, sipping wine, and eating the most incredible dinners courtesy of Master Chef Ruth Petran and Master Griller Bob Petran. However, in the interest of saving everyone’s keyboards from saliva and drool induced meltdown, I will deny the urge to go over each meal in detail.

We thoroughly enjoyed our grand finale of the good life of all play and no work before our official move to Tucson. Not to place Tucson in a negative light. It is, however, no coincidence that upon our arrival Amanda will begin her massive push to achieve the greatness she had in Rochester and I will begin Law School, a sharp contrast to the lives of travelers.

On my fourth day in Ann Arbor we loaded the Hyundai with the deftness and precision of the world champion of Tetris. Neither nook nor cranny stood a chance against our superior packing skills. By Friday afternoon the Sante Fe was sagging beneath the weight of Amanda’s entire business, a 48” glass table strapped to the roof, and enough artwork to open our own wing at the Louvre.

Our final journey back to the real world began on Saturday morning. Had we not gone drinking with Bob and Ruth the night before, we just might have made it out of Nebraska. Yet, after passing through the potholes of Michigan, sprawling suburbs of Illinois, and the rolling corn fields of Iowa, it was a roadside campsite in the cornhusker state that we settled on for night #1. We were able to catch a few hours of sleep between the constant barrage of freight trains and 18 wheelers that assaulted our tired ear drums all night. I surrendered at 3:30 AM and decided to pack up the tent. It was an early start to a grueling day.

Sixteen hours of driving can be worse than waking up with your head sewn to the carpet. Yet, the beautiful scenery in Colorado worked hard to fray the strains of sitting upright for so long. The massive leather bound photo album behind my seat destroyed any hopes I had of reclining to an even remotely comfortable seating position. After passing through some heavy hitters in the famous ski resort lineup such as Breckinridge and Vail, we headed south past Telluride to the small ski town of Durango. The beautiful peaks surrounded us with the realization that you really don’t have to travel far to see some of the most stunning nature in the world.

We had our first real meal in two days at a Mexican restaurant in Durango and then drove our final hour to Mesa Verde National Park. Once our tent was erected we took a sunset hike on Knife Edge Trail. It skirts the edge of the Mesa allowing us to see for hundreds of miles over the flat valley below. Afterwards we attended a talk by a park ranger about the storytelling tradition of the Pueblo peoples that inhabited this land over a thousand years ago and still do to this day. We definitely heard the spirits talking that night. We fell asleep under a bright full moon in the desert: our new home.

In the morning we took a tour of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. After visiting dozens of ruins in the last few months, it still managed to impress us by its size and level of preservation.

By noon we were heading towards New Mexico for our final day of driving. We passed through the Navajo Indian reservation, the eerie specter of Shiprock, and were welcomed to Arizona via I40 by the incredibly nostalgic Route 66 town of Holbrook and a lush and green palette of plant life. It seems the arid forests and deserts of Arizona have had a good share of rain the past few years. How beautiful it has become. As we headed south we passed from high desert to pine forests, over red rivers, and into the Sonora desert. This dry desert is home to more species of plants and animals than any ecosystem in North America. Now you can add two more: Amanda and Leighton. We drove up to our new home just after a rainstorm and in the middle of a colorful sunset that is so common to the desert.

And so, after nearly 2300 miles we are here. Our new lives have officially begun. We were welcomed with open arms and a warm dinner by my parents. We have no income, no friends, and so many unknowns. We hope Tucson is as good to us as Rochester was. It’s a high peak to summit but we have faith. Amanda’s business will grow and I will study. Of course all are welcome to our spare bedroom on Croyden St.


alphasquirrel said...

What's Ladder Ball? And please post pics of the tent erection. TIA.

alphasquirrel said...

Seriously, WTF is ladder ball?

Anonymous said...

Dear Leighton and Amanda,

I am preatty sure that you don´t remmember me..

But i was going through some photos, post cardas, maps, and i found your blog address!

Let me reintruduce my self.

My name is Bruno, I´m come from Brazil, and we met in Turkey, in Kas. If I´m not wrong, it was on the very day when you found the robber, hagging around with the shirt and back pack!

I guess me and Leighton were suposed to go paraglideing with the same company that day, but they didn´t keep Leighton´s 'reservation'

I was very happy to see that you did fly over the med!

Oh, i have to metion this blog's pictures, there are amazing. You guys really captured those countries with such few snaps!

If you ever take some more time to travel, stop by BRASIL!

Best regards,



Anonymous said...


I´ve just read the Epilogue of Wanders, great text, i mean it!