American Bear, Day 31 and 32: Colorado and a fresh face

We hit Durango, Colorado two days ago at about 3pm, our scheduled stop for the day. Sarah's hometown of Alamosa is only three hours away, and we've always planned to visit her family and take a brief break there. But all day towards Durango, we were both quietly thinking that heading all the way to Alamosa would give us a couple more hours of break... So we decided to mull it over during our late lunch in Durango. The second we stepped out of the car, we met Bob, who later on refilled our parking meter and left his phone number in case we didn't find a place to stay in Durango. Then, at lunch, we ended up talking to Carl for almost three hours, about aliens, photography, and the dark side of Portland. Everyone we met was extremely friendly, and it sort of made us both feel more comfortable about taking that extra break -- we had experienced the kindness of Durango, even if it was mostly off camera. And besides, we've barely taken a break, and driving three more hours was worth it if it meant we didn't have to drive three hours the next day.

We arrived at Sarah's house at 9:40pm to surprise her family. It was so relaxing to have good food, our own bed, a familiar shower, to watch TV. A typical summer vacation. And of course, our "break" still included some filming, transferring footage, doing laundy. We recharged. And had a wonderful time. It makes me feel like the next 28 days will fly by. We've had glimpse of the end, of when the whirlwind trip is over, and although we haven't lost any excitement for this project, I think we're both more excited for the end than we were before we remembered what relaxing is.

Several months ago, Sarah and I began talking about shaving my beard. It originally came up as a potential mini-experiment, to shave in the middle of the project to see how people interact and trust me differently with and without a big bushy beard. At this point, I think we've determined that it doesn't really make a difference; my friendly smile and our positive energy outweighs a scraggly beard. But it was on the itinerary. And Sarah, along with anyone I've met in the last several years, has never seen my face before. So we did it.

I barely recognize myself, a very odd feeling when I consider that this is my face, the one I've had my whole life, the face I ought to be more attached to than my beard.