23 October 2012


almost there...

Again. Another milepost. Actually, two of them.

First, the odometer flipped during our first fall leaf trip of 2012. We had just crossed the Grand Mesa, and we were heading for McClure Pass, yet another gallery of radiant fall color, but the sun had set, and all we could see was the outline of the hills against the pre-Draconid meteor shower skies. I had difficulty keeping my eyes open, so I missed THE moment when the nines rolled into zeroes. Nevertheless, somewhere along that McClure Pass stretch, my 4Runner hit the magic 300,000. I shot the odometer when The Lizard stopped for caffeine, which woke me up. For about ten minutes. Then I was happily snoozing again all the way back to Denver!

Darn.  Missed the mark.

Chair Mountain, McClure Pass, 2009

We'd hit 222,222 just outside of Las Vegas back in 2008 following The Lizard's first Julian Death March mountain bike race. We lost the clutch about 100 miles later, in Cedar City, Utah, the very same transmission that came with the car when the odometer read 12 or some such double-digit number back before the millennial zeroes.

The Lizard and I always considered that six-of-a-kind our lucky number because the car did not break down in Las Vegas and leave us stranded there for eight days while the car was repaired. (The car actually didn't take eight days to fix; finding parts took that long.) We are not gambling fans at all, and we don't really like big cities. But we do love red rock, and Cedar City and the surrounding canyons had plenty to offer. Eight unexpected extra days in Cedar City with a rental car was the perfect honeymoon we didn't get three years earlier!

Six of a kind, right outside Vegas

Self-portrait, Snow Canyon State Park

Zebra-tailed Lizard

200,000 had come a year earlier, on April 28, 2007. We turned 200,000 at 4:40 a.m. on Floyd Hill on I-25, on the way to a day-long hike of Rattlesnake Canyon, another amazingly rich lizard photography endeavor. We reached the trailhead at about 8:30 a.m. We got back to the car just before sunset, probably about 7:30 p.m., after a 15-mile hike and about 600 photos.

2 many zeroes

Loco at Akiti Arch, Rattlesnake Canyon

collared lizard in Rattlesnake Canyon, Colorado

I had to search my journals to find when I, alone, pre-Lizard, reached the first six-digit mark on my 4Runner. I couldn't remember back that far! I have a photo of the magic moment somewhere, but the event was pre-digital. I don't know which of the eight boxes of paper photos contains proof of the Toyota's first 100,000.

My first 5 zeroes in the 4Runner came while I was driving to the Crestone Trailhead with friend and fellow hiker Ferenc. We camped at Willow Lake, with one of the most beautiful waterfalls I'd ever seen, in a downpour. My tent leaked. I chickened out before reaching the summit of Challenger Point (speedy, strong Ferenc did summit both Challenger Point and Kit Carson), and both of us were chased down the mountain by one of the worst lightning storms I've ever encountered. Martina, a hiker we met along the trail that day, died when lightning struck her. The flood waters we encountered in the tiny town of Crestone on the way home further terrorized me, and the entire trip made me more than two hours late for a blind date my friend Carmen had arranged, which did not sit well with Carmen or the non-hiker guy who'd heard so much (good) about me. There's good reason that 100,000th mile didn't sear a bright spot in my memory banks. On the bright side, a better date, the perfect date - The Lizard - came along 10 months later.

the Sangre de Cristos

Willow Lake, scanned from print

While searching for the 100,000-mile mark, I discovered in my journal that I'd dreamed I did the Toyota Jump atop Mount Princeton. A week before that harrowing trip! I later felt like doing the Toyota Jump atop Princeton when The Lizard and I successfully climbed the mountain, our first fourteener together.

Mount Princeton

Also a numerical milestone recently, although only 948 posts have been published to date, my post total, which includes 60-something drafts awaiting the light of day, reached (and now surpassed) 1,000. By the time I actually publish that many posts, the total on my blog dashboard will read somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,060.

Hmmm. That perfectly matches what happened most recently with the 4Runner!!!

magic number


  1. Fantastic shots of the lizard and the beautiful landscape! Oh well you almost got all the zeros :)

    1. Thanks, Cat! I hope there are plenty more zeroes to come in the future. Without starting over from scratch!

  2. What fun to photograph the odometer when it reaches special numbers! And especially nice that you remember where you were.

    1. Thanks, CG! I have been writing in my journal every night for 13 years now, so it truly is wonderful to be able to go back and read about moments I surely would have forgotten.

  3. Another batch of stunning photos, but that collared lizard simply takes my breath away.

    Congrats on all your mileage! Photographic, crochet, hiking, cycling, AND vehicular. A rich life. :)

    1. Thanks, Sue! The collared lizard certainly is a sentimental favorite of mine!

      Yes, all the mileage... mileage makes me smile, just about any way I can get it!

  4. The photos are spectacular. The Sangre de Cristos are jaw-dropping in your photo. And, the shadow of you and the Lizard holding hands is so sweet.

    I, too, pay attention to milestones, but they aren't always the best ones. I just passed 100 days without my K. Your milestones are much more upbeat, all except for the Martina story (so sad) that I just went back and read.

    1. Oh, KB, you brought tears to my eyes. I can't believe it's been 100 days already. It seems like it's been just a few days. And yet, I know the ache goes on.

  5. At the rate we are going we would need 25 years to hit 222,222 on our cars. Now there is a goal. Will get back to you in 2028 and 2033 if they last that long.

    1. Thank you for a TERRIFIC smile! That was one of your funnier responses!


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