If you know me at all, you know that I needed to get my coffee fix in before leaving Kansas. Parking downtown, I knew there had to be caffeine around somewhere, so I began to walk through the damp streets until I found a warm glow protruding from behind an espresso machine. Checkmate.
Iced latte in hand, I rounded the corner heading back to my car, which was allegedly the wrong corner because there I stood, face-to-face with The Raven Bookstore.
Now, I know my name isn’t that uncommon, but it’s uncommon enough that I was never was able to get that cheap tourist keychain with RAVEN scrawled across Mickey Mouse in screaming yellow font like the other kids. So, whenever I see my name on something, I get a little excited. If you’ve been following along on my posts from this solo road trip, however, you’ll begin to notice that there were small signs like the Raven Bookstore following me everyday, normally after getting lost or when I least expected it. Interpret these as you wish, but I like to think of it as the universe telling me I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Two espresso shots and six hours later, I arrived in Colorado at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Inching my way over to the edge of the cliff, I looked down into what appeared to be nature’s bowl of lucky charms. Strips of fuchsia and sunset orange protruded from the white formations below me. Without further ado, I began the downhill trek into the world of color(ado). From above, the trails looked like a small neighborhood, but once inside, the loops seemed to be never-ending. I spent what felt like the rest of the day winding through the rainbow roots of the Earth, getting lost and found until my stomach told me we should focus more on the found part.
The Airplane Restaurant was just 45 minutes up the road, which felt like nothing compared to how far I’d come. I couldn’t wait to eat here because it’d been months since I’d been on an actual airplane due to the pandemic, and I figured this was the closest I could get to that wanderlust feeling for now. I was seated in a front booth inside of the fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker that had been around since 1953. Though the thought of airplane food is normally off-putting, I can assure you this restaurant can prove that stereotype wrong with one bite. However, the portions here are huge, so be forewarned! I ordered only an appetizer, yet still left feeling like I needed a stretcher just to make it to the parking lot. Thankfully, I was couchsurfing just a few miles up the road for the night, so I headed off into the orange sunset feeling like I’d just reenacted the modern day Last Supper.