Instead of writing another blog that is quickly becoming typical of the trip, I have decided to take a backseat and write whatever I want. Cool?
By gods, America is immense. 46 days have passed when we departed from the Timberwolf Court and we have lightly explored the Eastern part, blazed across the south, brushed the northern part of New Mexico, went in Arizona with considerable length, forayed into the southern Utah, and combed our way across Colorado. A lot is left out, missed out on our part. When you look at the world map, you realize that America is big. We were fortunate, really, to have a nation that stretches from the sea to shining sea. Reading Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage gave me a glimpse of America in 1800’s. It was heavily centered in the Eastern part, and when Thomas Jefferson proposed to send Lewis and Clark to explore the West, the Congress thought it unnecessary and foolhardy but Jefferson saw it through. Some fifty-odd years later, a civil war split open this nation. The south, led by the irreparable General Lee, very nearly splintered the Confederate states away from the Union. But thanks to Lincoln and the factories of the North, America is preserved. Then Manifest Destiny came along and the rest is history. Take a look at Europe’s map and you see many small countries, using the boundary of rivers or mountains to separate from one from another with centuries of rift between nations…namely England and France. That could have been easily America. But it wasn’t the case and 46 days later, we are still lost in the vastness that is America.
But what is America’s identity? What is uniquely American? Germany is renowned for its beer halls and sausages, Spain for bullfights, Italy for their pasta, and on forth. For me, what defines America would be consumerism. The Wal-marts, Starbucks, McDonalds that sprinkle all over the landscape. The landscape vary from desert, plains, mountains, rolling countryside, but the one thing that is constant…is these corporations. Every time we go to a Walmart, regardless where, it is always nearly packed with cars and people from all walks of life.
We, also, are victims of consumerism. We bubble with nonsensical happiness when we see a Wal-mart sign. We spend an hour or more walking along the stalls, discussing which food we should get—especially at the sweets section. We absolutely love Barnes and Noble and rank it first above all in terms of giddiness when we park our car right across B&N. That would mean coffee (especially for me, occasionally for Bob, rarely for Scott), WiFi, and finally- books! Wendy’s is the absolute champion for us. Once, we drove 60 miles just to eat Wendy’s.
Allright, enough with my blathering…here’s something from the trip. After climbing some rather tough peaks such as Longs and East Crestone Peak…we all agreed that Mt. Elbert would be a pushover. Mt. Elbert is the tallest mountain in Colorado, and the 2nd tallest in the continental US. However, it is called a gentle giant for a reason…the way to top isn’t too hard with generous routes. So, being vagrant experts- we decided to buy a large bottle of beer and carry it with us to the top. The hike to top was 4.2 miles one way, with 4,600 feet in elevation gain. But as a testament to our fitness and acclimatization to the altitude, we reached the top in two hours without any rest/stops. Here, a video ensues.
I dare you to not giggle at all.
Allright. I’ve got to explain this picture. As to why Scott’s Sierra Nevada tower over our beer (Bobby and Kevin). Budget. Sierra Nevada cost Scott 3.99 plus tax. Keystone Ice cost 1.69 plus tax. Both bottles are of 24 oz. Now it all comes down to alcohol content. Sierra Nevada boasts a formidable 5.6 content. However, Keystone reigns supreme by having a regal 5.9.
So who wins? In terms of sophistication? Buzziness? You decide.