Moab, Utah. God’s country. A ‘Book of Mormon’ in every hotel dresser in the place of ‘Gideon’s Bible.’ And everywhere you pull the car over to walk around, every coffee shop and restaurant, it’s painfully obvious that you’re not from there. The whole ritual of ordering food and drink is just a little different, and the old woman behind the front desk at the motel leers at you before turning around to fetch your room key, as if you’re already guilty of some crime.
Of course at the time I happened to be in college, sporting all black clothes, and likely looked like some kind of “ne’er do well,” what with my youth and my long hair and my sunglasses and my obvious godlessness.
Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not.
I had a wonderful adventure driving through Utah, and was thoroughly surprised – and kind of delighted – to recognize that a day’s drive from my cozy little casita in Tucson would land me in a place so completely foreign; it was like traveling to another country without the terror of not speaking the language. It was an alien place, with some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen in all my travels. The ultimate destination was Zion National Park and, upon arriving, I realized that a one-week vacation flat-out wasn’t enough time. If I had the opportunity, I would move to the region and work at one of the resorts for the season, hoping that perhaps six months would be long enough to get my fill of the park.
Maybe I’ll return someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later.