From Monarch it was straight down for miles, bottoming out at 5,500 feet in the town of
My detour didn’t disappoint. A Honda Accord is no sports car, but it handled well enough to whip around curves and provided enough power to barrel down the rare straightaways. I stopped several times to catch awe-inspiring views of the
I caught up with I-70 again in
I crossed into
It was a good decision, as 128 is a gem. It starts out less than promising, passing through the “town” of Cisco which is nothing but a rusting, long-since-closed Texaco station and a couple of abandoned mobile homes. Things soon improved dramatically. After ten miles of flat, open range land, the road met up with the
As I approached
My thoughts immediately went to Raoul Duke arriving in Las Vegas to cover the Fabulous Mint 400 when, by cosmic coincidence, I passed by a hotel called the Gonzo Inn, complete with Ralph Steadman-inspired design flourishes and sign fonts. Well, I thought, if the Jeepers were gathering in
After checking into the Gonzo Inn – a single, unfortunately; they wanted too much for the Gonzo Suite – I looked for somewhere I could eat, drink, and maybe talk to someone. The Moab Brewery (actual, inspiring motto: “
Susan was in her mid 40s, though I only figured that out after talking to her for a while and picking up clues. She had that healthy and relaxed look that everyone seems to have out west, and if I didn’t know that she had been in college in the 70s, I would have guessed that she was ten years younger than she really was. I also learned that Susan was once a lawyer like me, but got out of the business five years before when she concluded that she could never be happy in a job where she couldn’t trust her clients, the lawyers across the table from her and, sometimes, even the ones down the hall. After bagging the legal career she opened a restaurant. The restaurant flopped after a year, so she moved to
When I told her I was a lawyer on the lam she pressed me: did I hate it? If not, why did I quit? If so, why was I going back to another law firm when my trip was over? Since I liked what I had seen of the west so far, why didn’t I just come out here and stay for a while? It was a pretty good cross examination coming from a woman who claimed to have given up the legal business. When she saw that I was going to play it close to the vest rather than pour my heart out about my career misgivings, she offered that I should quit the law now before it burned me out completely. Easy for somebody who makes ends meet by “enjoying the sun” to say. Not that she was wrong.
Dispensing with the shop talk, Susan and I agreed that we hated the Jeepers in town for the UROC thing. They were loud. They were dangerous. They were dirty. And that was just the guys in the restaurant. We couldn’t imagine what they’d be like once they hit the trails that weekend.
Noticing my little guidebook was open to the section on
Her boyfriend (do people in their mid-40s have “boyfriends?”) showed up a few minutes later. He paused for a second, processed the scene of his, um, girlfriend chatting up a strange young man at a bar, quickly ascertained that I was no threat, and sat down. The three of us talked for a few more minutes, during which I gathered that the sun-enjoying business must pay pretty well, because boyfriend spent his days riding his mountain bike or reading books while living with girlfriend. Again, nice work if you can get it. Feeling like a third wheel after a while, I paid my check, said my goodbyes, and headed back to the car.
I decided to take a short driving tour of