Hannah got a new t-shirt yesterday.
Flying north on Weld County Road 77 in our bus yesterday afternoon, with six of my children in tow, most of whom were fast asleep in spite of the sound of Five Iron Frenzy’s horns and screaming vocals bouncing between the windows, I missed the small road-side sign indicating Grover was six miles to the east.
Of course, I wasn’t really planning to go to Grover, even though it’s a fond rest-stop for a Saturday afternoon road-trip. We’ve found ourselves there a few times, and intentionally at least twice.
I knew I was in the neighborhood, but it wasn’t until I passed the sign, that it seemed like the right spot for a break. I asked Hannah, “you want to go to Grover?” She responded with a “sure” that carried more uncertainty than the word is supposed to convey.
I braked quickly and pulled into the dirt on the side of the narrow, paved road with no shoulder. Making a u-turn in a church bus is never convenient, especially on a narrow country road, but we didn’t exactly have to stop traffic – the only other vehicle in sight was also headed to Grover.
The market and cafe in Grover is the only business open on Saturday afternoon, and the cafe’s side of the room had actually closed an hour before we arrived. We covered the bottom of a 30-year-old shopping cart with candy, chips, drinks, and one small t-shirt and checked out without waiting in line.
Even at a small, the t-shirt is too big for Hannah, and too cheesy to be appealing, but it made her laugh. I’m always a sucker for buying Hannah the things that make her laugh.
The screen-print on the shirt pictures a car traveling a lonely stretch of country road with a giant road sign to the right that says:
- The End Of The World 9 miles
- Grover, CO 12 miles
You have to work hard to stay in Grover for more than a few minutes, especially on a cold and windy day. We weren’t in the mood for hard work, so we packed back in the bus with our stash and moved on.
If Grover is, in fact, 3 miles beyond the end of the world, it turns out there’s a whole bunch more than just Grover out there. We drove north another hour or so, soaking up the sites through Hereford, Colorado, past Interstate 80, then Carpenter, and Burns, Wyoming and kept going into the great unkown until we intersected with US Hwy 85 again.
Then we turned south and headed for Cheyenne and, eventually, Greeley.
A road trip to nowhere in particular, and particularly a road trip to no place of consequence, is always good for the soul.
Old farm buildings, faded and tattered, and blown to a slant by the relentless wind of the plains, a growing crop of lazily spinning windmills, a herd of antelope enjoying a hilltop view, a sunset that stretches a bazillion miles with the folly of extravagant colors to which no one is really paying attention, thousands of geese flying into the sunset in their awkward, undulating v-formations, and mile after mile of rolling hills, buttes and ravines covered in dry, brown, knee-high grass determined to stand strong against the daily onslaught of good reasons to give up.
These are the things we found yesterday beyond the end of the world. If you’ve never been there, if you’ve never had the heart to venture beyond that boundary on a lazy Saturday afternoon or otherwise, you might not believe me. You might think this is a fictional account, born in the madness of a jungle of children in the wee hours.
But Hannah has the t-shirt to prove it.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Probably won’t resist the urge to do it again.