Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Day 25: Cedar City, UT - Cortez, CO

So there I was, enjoying a post-prandial cup of Brown Drink and a fag outside the hotel this morning when my curiosity is piqued.  Just what is it that those two Germans are so earnestly photographing?  Then I recall that the Mudstang is concealed behind that SUV.  Yes, Gentlespoons of Team Cygnus, they are taking snaps of the graffiti thereupon.  Soon the Turner Prize judges will come a-knock-knock-knocking on your workshop door.  It rained this afternoon too, but fortunately neither long nor hard enough to remove the muck.  Or the scrawlings of various Tall People (I cannot imagine that Erika had anything to do with it).

I chose Cedar City for the first night back on the road due to its proximity to Cedar Breaks National Monument.  Cuddle the cognac, top up the Person of the Appropriate Sex, chuck another log on the radiator and I'll explain.  In the Gulag one of the exercises we were given was something call "Quality World" - if I have this wrong I'm sure my fellow zeks will pile in and correct me - in which each zek did the following:

  • Act out an instance of a Good Time through the medium of interpretive dance
  • Write a paragraph or two on what said Good Time made them feel1
  • Write another paragraph or two on what one wants from recovery

I stood open-mouthed in the middle of the room slowly turning my head from side to side.  Natch none of my fellow zeks could guess what I was doing or where I was doing it; it was, however, seeing for the first time this:
Like, wowsa!
The USAnian south-west is full of rock formations that don't just make your jaw drop but actually require reconstructive surgery to put it back in place, but Cedar Breaks stands out for me because it doesn't make a big fuss like, say, Bryce, Zion or the Grand Canyon.  Even if you see the signs, they're pointing to something of which you have never heard.

Plus it's even easier to avoid paying than in DETH Valley

After which you see the signs for Navajo Lake.  Like Cedar Breaks, the signs are wossnames I had passed more than once in the past without being curious enough to have a shufti.  Today I did.
In a Quality World it'd have a bit more water in it, but hey...
There is also Wildlife.  At first I though the tiny specks dancing in the air were merely dust kicked up by a passing motorcar but no!  They are very very tiny insects.  Time to leave before breathing any in. Less breathable and altogether easier to photograph was this chap:
Closest to a shot of Wild Turkey I'm getting on this trip...
US-89 south to Kanab and then east to Page was new to me and dead nice too, especially the first bit down the valley of the Virgin River - the same one that provides the interesting gorge on I-15 encountered previously.  I did actually stay in Kanab in 2003 but approached it from the other direction, having taken a foolhardy route south from Kodachrome Basin on dirt roads barely marked on the map and with no signage.  If I'd become stuck my exposed skull would still be out there, a perch for the quartering crow.

The woods ran out after Kanab; back to MMFD2.  Made worse by the part from the Glen Canyon Dam to Kayenta being a straight retrace of the outward leg.  And the eleven miles of roadworks leading to the Utah-Arizona state line, stuck behind an erratically-driven camper.  Doesn't that thing have fucking cruise control, I yelled as its speed varied randomly from 28 to 47 mph.  More frustrated even than I was the chap in a Roush-tweaked Mustang.  He'd sat behind me for longer than I'd have done had our positions been reversed (there was plenty of room for him to pass so assume he was reading the back bumper) before overtaking in a glorious outburst of V8 thunder.  Then he got stuck behind the camper...  Anyway, most of the afternoon looked like this:
This is actually quite a good bit as the bushes are bigger than a housebrick and there are Rocks in the background.  There might even be a corner up there too.

Things finally turned green again after passing the Four Corners Monument, where Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet.  These days the place is administered by the Native Americans which is ironic with it being just an arbitrary dot on on an arbitrary map created by the white man.  Actually, it took a teensy bit longer for the green to get going properly, which it did just as his His Bobness, courtesy of the iPod's resident platter-spinner DJ Random, finished belting out Desolation Row.

If you look out of the window of this room you can see Proper Rockies.  When it's not dark, obv.  Tomorrow I will continue the tradition established in 2010, which is to say buying boxer shorts at Wal-Mart in Durango.

  1. Feelings are very important in the Gulag and if you have difficulty in expressing them you are automatically suspect in the eyes of The Party.  Or something.
  2. Miles and Miles of Fucking Desert

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