On the Road: Marathon drive | AspenTimes.com

On the Road: Marathon drive

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

I ran a marathon last week that was nothing compared to the torture of my drive from San Francisco to Aspen in a day, the last leg of a road trip.

I’ve done drives like that before, but always as a tag-team kind of thing. When going solo, it takes on a fatigue of entirely new dimensions.

I got up at 5 a.m. with the stars still out and didn’t stop at a coffee shop (none were open) until just after Sacramento. Therefore, I didn’t really wake up until I was going through Reno and entering the vast Nevada desert.

From there, I waited hours and passed numerous gas station casinos before going through nowhere towns like Winnemucca and Elko (where I snagged a foot-long turkey sub).

I got sick of most of my CDs and listened to an entire Elmore Leonard book on tape before beginning to lose my s— just south of Orem, Utah. It was only 6 p.m., a mere 13 hours into the jaunt, and I knew darkness would fall before reaching home.

I was getting shaky and a bit disoriented by the time I hit Fruita and chowed down on a pair of Gordita Supremes at Taco Bell, just before my fifth cup of coffee.

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I slid Rage Against the Machine’s first CD into the player, turned it up high and rolled the windows down while slugging back the coffee, and managed a coherent phone conversation with a friend heading through Silt and Rifle.

Once I finally hit Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley, I knew I was going to make it, but that didn’t make the last 45 minutes any easier. My legs were cramping painfully, my stomach was unhappy, and it felt like there was a sort of vice on my temples.

Nearly 1,200 miles later, I rolled into the driveway and struggled just to make it to bed. It was, however, my bed.