Seeking Color In The US

rocks that rock

Tripping On IOWAska

Color 53, Color 52, Color 51, Color 36, Color 37, Color 34, Color 44, Color 43Maggie OwensComment

People said there's nothing to do in Iowa. They said it and we believed them. What idiots they all were. 

We stumbled across the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. Some time in the early 1900's, Father Paul Dobberstein promised Jesus that if he survived pneumonia, he'd built a shrine made completely out of rocks, minerals and crystals. Spoiler alert: he survived (if you want to avoid spoilers, don't go on the internet, man).

He spent 42 years building the shrine and today it is the largest collection of precious stones found in one location. In fact, it is estimated to value $4 million dollars. To put that in perspective, that's more than Celebrity Apprentice's Omarosa and 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander have combined.

(Editor's Note: though 4 million dollars is quite a large sum, it's only a 10th of Frankie Muniz's net worth. I guess it should really be called "Malcolm In The 1 Percent," huh? What's happening to America's middle class, guys?! Open your eyes, America. Real Eyes Realize Real Lies).

With walls made out of agate, amethyst, azurite and more, we found nearly all 60 of our colors here. 

They said there would be nothing to do in Iowa. 

... What rocks were they smoking?

Bad Blood National Park

Color 9, Color 10, Color 48, Color 16, Color 50, Color 6Maggie OwensComment

We were in the most beautiful place in South Dakota: The Badlands National Park.  It was stunning. Everything was cloaked in a soft yellow light. Deer were prancing around. Honest to God, it was a God-Damn Lana Del Rey music video. Honestly to Lana Del Rey, it was godly. It was hard to take our eyes off of it. 


...See, none of us remembers why now but we were all in a fight. Tess vs. Maggie, Maggie vs. Ceil, Ceil vs. Tess. It came to a fever pitch when we shared an appetizer trio at the local bar right outside the park. 

We pretty much ate our microwaved appetizers in silence and, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a T.G.I. Friday's commercial, but that is no fucking way to eat appetizers. Do you know how awful it is to bite into a mozzarella stick that still is frozen in the center and have to silently chew it because you’re friends  are being equally as icy?! IT’S TORTURE!

We got back to the camp just in time for the most beautiful sunset we've ever seen.

Jesus! Pop a Midol, Mother Nature! I'm trying to be passive aggressive towards my friends which is really hard to do with such aggressive beauty in my face.

"Hell is other people," she thought. "Hell is other people and uncooked mozzarella sticks."

"Hell is other people," she thought. "Hell is other people and uncooked mozzarella sticks."

"I'm a sad girl / I'm a sad girl" - lyrics from the Lana Del Rey Song "Sad Girl"

"I'm a sad girl / I'm a sad girl" - lyrics from the Lana Del Rey Song "Sad Girl"

We ended up all separating. I won't say who did what exactly but one of us went for a hike, one of us ran off with some cute Israeli boys with man-buns to listen to music and drink whiskey and one of us wandered around looking for enough cell service to look up if there was an ACTUAL T.G.I Friday's around. (PS: if you're wandering around the Badlands and you see a mirage of a Friday's, is it technically called a CGI Friday's? Can someone get Michael Bay on this? He owes me one. He'll know what I'm talking about).

In all honesty, The Bad Blood National Park was so spectacular and vibrant, it's something everyone should see in their lifetime, no matter how stubborn and pig-headed their loved ones are. 

In the end, we all made up and THIS IS NOT A STOCK IMAGE I SWEAR.

Devil's Tower

Color 35, Color 29, Color 14, music, Color 11, Color 58Maggie OwensComment

Our journey to the eastern border of Wyoming was an arduous one. It took a full six hours across what Ceil called "Bleaksville, Nothingz County." (Please note: Ceil absolutely cracks herself up when she says this. Her game-changing jokes like this are what makes a six hour journey feel like only a five and three quarters one). 

Why such a long journey? We were on our way to see Devil's Tower. 

In the 11th hour, someone, I won't name names but it rhymes with Tessa, asked, "How long are we really going to look at a rock for?" 

Outraged, Cecilia and Maggie quickly fired back at Rhymes-With-Tessa, saying things like "it's not about the destination; it's about the journey!" and "Live a little! When are you ever going to return to Bleaksville, Nothingz County?!" 

We even told her that in addition to its being a total geological anomoly and a sacred ground for several planes tribes including the Dakota and Cheyenne, "this rock muthafucka is the muthafucking rock in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind." None of us has actually seen this movie but, one day, Netflix might add it to its streaming catalog and that would be very, very important to us. 

So we looked at the rock.

We really, really looked at it. 

But somehow, Ceil ended up in a child's sized swimsuit and we ended up just taking pictures of ourselves per usual.

Because I (Maggie) made fun of Ceil's sense of humor earlier in this post, Ceil says I have to finish this by giving her a compliment and, according to her, "it can’t be how good I look in a child’s bathing suit." You know what I have to say? She's got the heart and courage of a lion. 

Me-Ow, am I right, fellas?

Me-Ow, am I right, fellas?

Garden Of The Gods

Color 14, Color 10, Color 9, Color 17, Color 31Maggie OwensComment

As we head north towards Wyoming, we are well aware that we'll be seeing less and less of the iron-rich reds and oranges that we've fallen in love with here in the Southwest and Colorado.

Today we visited Colorado Springs' Garden Of The Gods and got to enjoy these warm colors one last time.

Sure, north in Denver there's the concert venue Red Rocks, but, come on, guys — we're poor. The only concert we can afford is when an attention-starved barista at Starbucks hums along to the Nora Jones playing in the background. And even that's pushing it. 

Why do they call it Garden of the Gods? One of the two guys who set up Colorado City suggested the park would be a "capital place for a beer garden." The other dude, likely someone who has to top what other people say all the time, said "Beer Garden?! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We shall call it the Garden Of The Gods." 

... to which the first guy hopefully responded something along the lines of "okay, man, there are no wrong answers during brainstorming." 

Even the bathrooms are rich in these Southwest oranges and reds. How will we ever find it in ourselves to pee in the dull bathrooms of the East? 

Even the bathrooms are rich in these Southwest oranges and reds. How will we ever find it in ourselves to pee in the dull bathrooms of the East? 

Well, goodbye for now, red rocks. We're northward to places like Boulder and Yellowstone where the stones will likely be... yellow? I don't know. How would we know? Because this is a color blog and we're knowledgable and we do our research? Red rocks, please. Get real. 


Grand Canyon

Color 6, Color 49, Color 14, Color 10, Color 9Maggie OwensComment

So we took Pug-A-Boo to the cutest dog park in Arizona. The locals call it the grand canyon (probably because it’s such a grand place to walk your balloon pug!). 

It’s a weird feeling when you’re writing a blog but you still can hear no one laughing at your own jokes. Fine, douchebags, it’s the Grand Canyon and, while we’re on the subject, pets technically aren’t allowed. (But we brought Pug-A-Boo anyway).

This place is friction’ crazy. People should really talk about it. 

Well, at least Jorbi P. is talking about it. 

Well, at least Jorbi P. is talking about it. 

Anyways, as you can imagine, the colors here are bonkers. Ceil would like to note that “they rock.” Get it, because of the rocks? Maggie would like to note that she’s going to effing kill herself. Get it, because of the rock joke Ceil made? 

With so many different layers deep within the canyon, and so many different shadows depending on the time of day, there’s no real limit to the colors you’ll find here.

The most striking, and famous, is a level called the Redwall Limestone. It’s what gives the grand canyon its notorious orange-red color because of the iron-oxide in the sediment. Iron is behind a lot of things that are famous for being red. 

PS: if god poops in the grand canyon, do we call it the Iron Throne? Let’s move on. 

PS: if god poops in the grand canyon, do we call it the Iron Throne? Let’s move on. 

We actually hiked pretty far down into the canyon. We wanted to see the color gradation for ourselves. We got pretty far and it was spectacular. BUT THEN an old, old man (think Jafar’s disguise in the beginning of Aladdin) who “volunteers” for the park told us we had “probably gone too far and it was too late in the day and we better turn around.” No joke, guys, it was like 2:30 in the afternoon. This guy was batshit. But he got into our heads and we turned around before we had planned to. 

Later, when we returned to the top, we spoke to a ranger who told us there hadn’t been any volunteers in the canyon since 1948. My bones went as ice-cold as the Colorado River. Pretty eerie, right?!

Okay, another bad joke that no one’s laughing at. The volunteer did really exist. But, honestly, that’s how old he was. 

Look at the other asshole we met on the trail: 

And, for a bonus, here’s another pic of Pug-A-Boo.