USA 2014: The Great Escape

I’m sorry I’ve fallen off the grid for a bit- it was expected though, and undeniably a welcome change. If you are reading this, it means I found a sufficiently strong wifi hotspot to leech off of. For the sake of communicational efficiency, as well as due to an inherent overwhelming expression compulsion, I’m scribbling  about the experience here.

Word of warning: This is not a concise blog. It rambles, ambles and shambles through the days. I’m sure you are used to it by now. If not, just skim through and look at the pictures.

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So. Week one.

After a miserably motionsick but otherwise uneventful plane trip, we filled our first day in Salt Lake City with the usual consumerism, before hitting the road towards Green River. We made it as far as Provo before our rental decided it didn’t like its key very much, and refused to start. A quick call to Hertz later, we ended up in a small office of theirs in Orem, awaiting our replacement car. Do you know how long you can comfortably sit around waiting for a car with a chatty mormon ex-missionary sales clerk behind a desk four feet away from you? I can tell you one thing, it isn’t three hours. So, when they finally brought our getaway vehicle out for us, we greeted it with elation. Until we saw its semi-flat tire with a nail through it. Another indeterminably long wait later, we were finally truly ready. We fled.

Now this new car is a Chevy Tahoe. I have to mention here that the Tahoe is big. I don’t mean “Oh what a conveniently large car for us and our luggage to travel in”-big. It’s more like “Accidently flatten the car in front of you without noticing”-big. I’m not kidding, this car is absurdly oversized. It’s huge. It’s black. It’s obnoxious. I love it! P1110363 (2) So, safely inside ‘The Beast’ as cliché compels me to call it, we set course for Green River, where we stayed at a wonderfully quintessential Southwestern Inn, well-maintained and probably unchanged since the early eighties. Green River consists of a truck stop, motels, a health care center the size of a single-family home and (because this is Utah) a liquor store made up of two government owned shelves in a roadside diner. A nondescript town, surrounded by some not-so-nondescript landmarks.

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(Top L: Sego Canyon. R: Goblin Valley. Bottom: losing my credibility as an archaeologist, Sego Canyon, Barrier style pictographs)

Our next stop was an isolated cabin called Los Vados, located in its own private canyon some distance from Moab. Here we would stay sedentary for four nights. A caretaker guided us and our jeep through several creek crossings and a badly maintained dirt road, and then there we were. Staying in one place for long enough to consider unpacking the suitcases for a bit.

It took me approximately two hours to get restless.

Luckily, this recurrent nuisance of a state of mind of mine had passed by the next day, which was spent happily traipsing though our little canyon, discovering a plethora of ancient rock art panels and remnants of stone tool knapping sites that made the professional archaeologist in me both squeal with delight and stare in appalled horror at the unregistered wealth of sites and finds. The night rewarded us with a view of the milky way that is hard to describe to my more cosmopolitan friends. P1110202 (2)    P1110115 (2) Fastforward through some of the usual sightseeing (think Arches National Park, Hovenweep, Anasazi Heritage sites,…), to a log cabin on an old homesteaders ridge near Cortez, Colorado. And whither then? The call of the road is strong. P1110225 (2)Liefs, Jessie.

P.S. I am taking a lot (A LOT) of pictures. All of which I will happily and over-enthusiastically show to anyone masochistic enough to want to see them on my return (because let’s face it, looking at other people’s holiday pictures can be really, really boring). I tried to make a “sensible” selection to go with this report.

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