From the middle of Colorado, through the center of the state, and into eastern Utah, drivers honk at the Royals carriage, people continue to wave, pump their thumbs in encouragement. Truckers blare their air horns.
A few miles over the border, Steve Taylor of Thompson Springs — speck of a town a few miles down the highway, population, 39 — sits high up in the car of his highway grader. The heavy machinery kicks up a cloud of dust that engulfs and can been seen a half-mile away.
Slowly, we pull up and roll alongside him.
Yeah, he shouts and nods. He can talk, but taps his wrist, only few minutes.
Baseball? World Series? It’s not something he gives much mind to.
“I don’t really watch baseball all that much,” he says, but basically knows who’s in it.
“Kansas City,” he says, and thinks a second. “Someone else.”
Football is his game. By football, he means the Broncos. But his son likes the games.
“He likes Kansas City,” he says. “Tell me how the Chiefs and Royals are going to go all the way, but you know how that can go.”
He starts the motor on the grader again, but shouts before he leaves.
“Who else is in it?”
“Who else is in the Series?”
Giants, we yell.
“I’d go with Kansas City then,” he said. No big reason, he said. “Because San Francisco is in California.”
He doesn’t give much mind to it, either.
Think of it as an epic journey, as an odyssey, as a Royals road trip halfway across the country to seek out the devotion that now belongs to the boys from Kansas City.
We in Kansas City have always loved our Royals. But now, say the sports pundits, so does the rest of the nation.
This scrappy, sliding, bunting, running team — ball players who tip their caps in admiration of one another, slap high-fives like they smack doubles and buy drinks for their beloved fans — has captured the heart of America.
But how much do people really love the Royals? How much do they actually know about our boys in blue?
Such are the questions that prompted The Kansas City Star, on Sunday, to send two of its own — reporter Eric Adler and videographer Monty Davis — on the road, 2,200 miles to San Francisco, in the most conspicuous of Royals cars.
Follow them at kansascity.com or on Twitter at #royalsodyssey. Feel free to contact the reporters on Twitter through @eadler or @montydaviskc.