pit-stopped at the Maverick gas station. FIRST STEP TO ADVENTURE,
according to their signs. They also had murals of cartoony versions of
the local landscape all over the place, even in the bathrooms. A sign
on the cash register warned: VAPING UNREGULATED THC IS DANGEROUS TO
was no parking at Zion National Park. My Lifetime Senior Pass got us
in, but we couldn’t stop. Not only were all the spaces around the
park filled, but the spaces in the park were filled, too. People
staying in the town outside could take a shuttle bus in if they
wanted to hike, but we were stuck on the crowded road, only able to
stop briefly at a few overlooks.
We were stuck in a a traffic jam, behind German motorcyclists, being fed into
tunnels, getting slap-happy and eating Lorna Doones amid the natural
beauty and road construction.
we went to Coral Pink Sand Dunes, hiked the Martian landscape with
yellow plants, and the delicate footprints of tiny, unseen creatures.
You have to remind yourself what planet you’re on.
since we were last there, shiny, new St. George-type dystopian hotels
had popped up in and around Kanab. The dastardly neosprawl threatened
the funky tributes to the mythic/Hollywood Wild West.
took more pictures of the murals at the Glaziers Market (part of one I later
found out is based on a painting “The Holdup” by Charles M.
Russell). And once again, the Lone Ranger watched over us at the
had Outlaw Burgers at Houston’s Trail’s End, where holsters--with
guns--decorated the back wall. Even though a sign warned PLEASED DO
NOT TOUCH, an employee told me I could strap one on for a selfie if I
wanted. I passed. A Chicano brandishing a six-shooter in a restaurant
full of white people, in Utah . . . I didn’t want to risk it.
next morning, we found that all the restaurants in Kanab with
“breakfast” on their signs and menus were still closed at 8 a.m.
So we drove past the mountains gnawed on by the oil and natural
gas industry, while huge ravens patrolled overhead.
the road from a sign announcing buffalo, elk, and alligator jerky, we
finally found the Thunderbird Restaurant, “Home of the Ho-Made
Pies.” Their Utah-style breakfast burritos were more like wraps,
and had lots of potatoes.
the way to Bryce Canyon National Park, turkey grazed in the fields,
and we passed another Galaxy Diner that had a statue of Betty Boop
in front of it. In other fields, bison grazed.
in Bryce, we were hiking amid the hoodoo fairy castles along a trail
aptly named the Fairyland Canyon Trail. We were so dazzled that we
got lost. Luckily, we were rescued by a nice couple who had Sixties
rock playing on their car’s satellite radio. They had gotten lost
the day before.
were PRAIRIE DOG CROSSING SIGNS. I even saw a prairie dog cross.
the end of the day we settled into a charming, pre-fab log cabin at a
motel in Torrey, across the street from Rustler’s Restaurant. A
young woman with an Eastern European accent brought us steaks. Muy