Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Back Home, remembering Moab


What is it, like, a month since I've been home from my trip? And still I haven't posted about one of my most favorite stops on the road. Sheesh!

My life is like that. I hop off of one thing, sometimes a hair too soon, and I'm ready to get cracking on another. Of course, the current 'another' is finding a job and settling down into my house. Not quite as alluring as a road trip, unless you've been on one for three months.

I had a choice while back up in Washington state of routes through Utah. One would have taken me to the Northern rim of the Grand Canyon, and for a while that was the plan. Then a friend called and told me she'd be in southern Colorado, and would I be into meeting up in Taos, NM. I said hell yeah, and so my new route would take me through Moab. Oh well, I thought, I'm sure it's pretty there, too.

Oh my God. Am I on Mars? This one's from Canyonlands National Park, a vast landscape of sandstone sculptures, winding riverbeds, buttes and canyons. I went on a six-mile hike in the Needles District on fine day, and it was amazing. Except for those kids...there was this young couple of yups and their two wild boys just ahead of me who all felt that the 'Stay on the Trail' did not apply to children, who were free to stomp up the delicate plant life to their heart's content. Little fuckers.


Now you know how I love my roadside attractions. Just about forty-five minutes south of Moab is Hole 'N The Rock, which delivered all the things I crave: a great story, endless kitsch, and emus. Albert and Gladys Christensen called this 5,000 square foot excavated sandstone home, and both were buried in a little grotto just outside of it (check out the website for photos of the inside.)
Ah, Albert was such a multitalented man: Frankenstein like taxidermy, oil paintings of FDR, Indians and Our Lord, and...well, blowing giant holes in rock. His wife favored beadery and doll collections. The two of them lived inside the rock and ran a cafe in front of the living quarters during the uranium boom. He was working on an elevator shaft that would access a desert rock garden at the top of the rock when he died in 1957. Gladys stayed in the house until her death in '74 and even fashioned herself a rock bathtub. It has since changed hands a couple of times and now belongs to a family from SLC whose youngest son---I'm guessing 13---was the consummate tour guide. Onsite emus will give you dirty looks for free. Don't pass it up if you're ever out there.

Arches National Park is just a hair north of Moab, and was the inspiration for all those Road Runner cartoons. The most famous formation, Delicate Arch, is the shamelessly ubiquitous image on every liscense plate, body shop sign and plastic cup in the city. I was determined to see it right at sunset, when everyone scrambles up a half mile of slickrock to see the play of deep orange light on the sandrock. I was so busy with my dinner at Buck's Grill House (which I recommend) that I lost track of the time and had to haul ass and still missed the Golden Moment. I sat in the waning light and watched an old man walk around the base of this gorgeous formation, and It Was Good.

Oh, man, what else? There was horseback riding and rafting and the German woman who took off her pants. A few of the local servers were surly, and for the love of God, do NOT eat at the Slickrock Cafe. The service will make you feel like killing someone.



Blogger Adventure Man said...

I like the pictures. Moab rocks! I like your blog too, kind of a travel blog of sorts.

I blog about Outdoor Adventures in Moab, so I ran across your blog. We should link our blogs to each other. I walways want to have as many outdoor travelers/adventure enthusiasts as possible! (www.moabadventurecenter.blogspot.com)

3:39 PM  
Blogger Cathy VanPatten said...

Isn't Hole n" the Rock great? Frankenstein taxidermy is the perfect description of his, um, *talents*--that poor donkey!

I found your blog while searching for what others had to say about the Marfa Lights--we wer just there a couple of weeks ago and were enchanted by them and--as you were--by the folks who gathered to watch them.

Just letting you know that as a fellow road trip enthusiast, I really enjoy your blog!

8:03 PM  
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11:01 AM  
Blogger eatme_delicious said...

Great photos! :) And glad you liked the earl grey white chocolate muffins from my blog.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Jared said...

Well so, I just read your whole blog. That's right, the whole fucking thing. Started yesterday, finished today, ran a couple errands, emailed ex-girlfriends links to the blog...
Amazing Taj, really fucking great, I loved it. I'm in the wine industry, and did a road trip, still on it sorta. Anyhow. I want more. Please write more. Here's mine:

4:51 PM  

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