Enterprise, Utah to Salida, Colorado - 685 Miles
Today is thank our sponsors day.
Morning breaks with an unpleasant realization: our motel phones won't accept our modem connectors. We make a deal with the person running the neighboring convenience store, who allows us to plug in our Apple Computer Macintosh 540c editorial loan PowerBook between the popcorn machine and jalapeno jerky display.
Cedar City, Utah. After a quick look at the Mountain Meadow Massacre Site (where Mormons tricked and then executed hundreds of settlers heading west), we are off toward Cedar City, Utah, and the famous statue of Old Sorrel the Horse. It stands on the grounds of Southern Utah University, mightily fighting to pull lumber through a snow bank. Old Sorrill was the only horse able to navigate the up-to-15-feet of snow while city fathers struggled through the winter to build the college before they ran out of money. The university was completed on time, but the plaque underneath the bronze horse misspellingly tells us that the city's first settlers were "English, Welch and Scottish."
A drive through the scenic Dixie National Forest is made more pleasurable by the smooth acceleration of our Alamo Rent-A-Car Chevrolet Astro Van. A QuikMart in Cedar City advertises its Chicken Cordon Bleu over the radio. And the Little Buckaroo Children's Rodeo taking place at the end of the week, features sheep riding and goat tying.
Store Shaped Like a Rock - Orderville, Utah
Joe's Rock Shop is self-explanatory -- and shaped like a big rock to boot. Outside are piles of semiprecious stones, a dummy hung from a tree, and a dinosaur skeleton fashioned of bleached cattle bones. Inside, a plastic change mat on the counter doubles as a "Crystal Awareness Guide" published by Legion of Light Products, and lists the transformational properties and chakra healing benefits of what lapidarians used to think of as just pretty stones.
At a trading post elsewhere in Orderville hangs another dummy. The Rock Shop cashier says they represent a brand of justice once popular in the West, but no one specific has been hanged in Orderville, as far as she knows.... [Joe has since moved to a non-rock-shaped edifice in Orderville, but the rock building is hosting another business]
Address: Hwy 89, Orderville, UT
Directions: The Rock Stop, Hwy. 89, south of town.
God plants a hole in the ground. But it takes the imagination of Man to create a tourist-friendly cave attraction out of it. And south of Orderville, near Kanab on US 89 stands a tragedy. That tragedy is Moqui Cave, the creation of self-taught artist and self-promoting showman Garth Chamberlain.
Hollywood-On-Location Thrills - Kanab, Utah
Kanab bills itself as "The Greatest Earth On Show." This area of red rock bluffs and monuments has been the site of many films (none since 1978) including Planet of The Apes , The Apple Dumpling Gang , The Search for Noah's Ark , as well as episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man . The town is proud of its filmography, and it is printed everywhere, from lunch menus to motel signs.
Frontier Movie Town has been open only seven years, and has not yet been in any films (when this report was written, in 1994!), but it does have on-premises a street set from The Outlaw Josie Wales . Normally static during the day, Movie Town comes alive when scheduled busloads of old people arrive. They are fed in a cafeteria, then sit outside under fake covered wagons while a gunfight and comedy show takes place in the grass directly in front of them. "The older people don't like coming through so much during the hot months," explains Mrs. Lopeman to her only visitors.
Address: 297 W Center St., Kanab, UT
Directions: Southern edge of Utah, Hwy 89/Center Street south side.
Hours: Daily 9 am -11 pm, (Call to verify)
Just down the road, at the Parry Lodge, one can sleep in a room where Ronald Reagan once slept. Eat in the lodge's "Dining Room Of The Stars." Kanab's title of "Little Hollywood" is well earned indeed.
The long, hot, desolate ride from Kanab to The Four Corners Monument is a great occasion to enchant carmates with cassettes of surprise -- from jaunty, evocative Tijuana Brass to the relentless 90 MPH pulse of Hawkwind. Who will crack under the simple hypnotic commands of "Teach Your Bird To Talk?" During this instructional tape meant to be played while the bird's owners are away at work, a woman simply says "Hello," first on the right speaker, then on the left. After five minutes she switches to "Hello, what's your name? Hello, what's your name?" Anticipation builds for the next phrase: "Pretty bird. Pretty bird."
Kayenta, Arizona. We rocket by the Burger King in Kayenta, Arizona, which we visited some months ago to check out billboard claims of a "Navajo Code Talkers" exhibit. Here, in the heart of the reservation, you can handle a Whopper and look at photos and articles that explain how 400 locals fluent in Navajo -- an indecipherable language without a written alphabet -- volunteered for a W.W.II secret tactical "code talkers" unit to evade Nazi and Jap code-crackers. This place is okay, but it could be better -- maybe by adding a continuous looped audio tape of some code-talk, and some uniformed mannequins bivouacked over the tray drop-off....
Address: 253 Peabody, Kayenta, AZ
Directions: Hwy 160 at the Burger King, large billboard. Exhibit is spread on walls and cabinets throughout the restaurant dining area.
And in no time we are at Four Corners, USA -- the only spot in the country where one can stand in four states balanced on one toe. Four Corners may be America's Most Arbitrary Photo Opportunity. Hundreds of tourists pouring past the admissions gate every hour are after that ever-elusive wacky, state-straddling vacation photo.
Hands down radio station of choice in the Four Corners area is KTNN 660-AM. DJs broadcast in Navajo, playing an eclectic mix of chanting Native America rave-ups and classic country like Okie From Muskogee . The occasional non- translatable phrase comes through the soothing Navajo, like "All You Can Eat," "Listener's Contest," "7-11," and "Chef Bernie."
We reach a wonderful photo opportunity at an otherwise nondescript souvenir shop called The Hogan. Out front, 10 or 12 telephone poles have been fit with giant arrowheads, and stuck into the ground at a 45 degree angle. In between them are several wigwams. The effect is that of a rain of massive Indian arrows. Stop your car and snap some shots. We did, with our handy Apple QuickTake 100 digital camera, assuring us of near immediate photo gratification when these natty sub-megapixel images are processed further with Adobe's fine Photoshop product.
Taking US 160 into Colorado, the reassuring musk of distant skunk tells us that we have returned to mammal-friendly climes. Trip notes are entered into our portable computers, with no fear of running out of power for up to ten hours, thanks to our lightweight VST Thin Pack battery plate.
Our handy Bell Atlantic Mobile phone looks awful sporty wedged between our mini-van's twin cup holder and Mike's bag of bootleg Japanese surf-rock tapes. Through Bell Atlantic Mobile's system of "roaming" we can call anywhere considered a local call from a pay phone, without slowing down from our usual breakneck 85 mph. That is, if the southern Rockies had cellular phone transmission sites. They don't now, but just you wait! Gangway for the future!
Night falls -- Showtime! -- at the Best Western Movie Manor Motel further east in Monte Vista, Colorado. This motel curves around a drive-in movie screen. Drive-in speakers are provided in each room, and back windows face the feature.