03 October 2010

An arrival ... at last

Our destination: St George, Utah! What a welcome sight the College Inn was late this afternoon.

The last leg of our Utah-bound journey, following the stop at Navajo Bridge, was entertaining in many ways. Here's an annotated list:

Precipitation. Since making our way through the pass at Albuquerque yesterday we watched clouds form and disperse and form again in the western sky, the sun faithfully shining on us. By mid-day today it was obvious that there was water in those clouds and some anger. Eventually they became heavy enough that, in the distance, they produced vivid lightening and curtains of dark rain -- that stayed suspended, not reaching the ground.

The unassuming turn off at Jacob Lake to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. So tempting, but not yet ... not yet. Making that turn will come some ten days from now at the end of the trip, a grand finale to our Road Scholar wanderings.

A time change at the Arizona/Utah state line. Arizona doesn't participate in any of the daylight savings foolishness the rest of us do. I've heard it said that daylight savings makes about as much sense as cutting the top off a blanket, sewing that piece on the bottom and calling the blanket longer.

Towns at the state border. This particular location boasts sister cities, Colorado City on the Arizona side and Hildale in Utah, straddling the line. They're rather renowned in that they're actually a single polygamous compound.

The descent into Hurricane. With a long 7% grade of switchbacks, narrow road and run-away truck ramps arriving in Hurricane is an impossible to miss event. Tal drove and I helped -- with an occasional "oh my" and white knuckles gripping the seat on either side of my knees. According to the map, getting to Hurricane also means one has left the Colorado Plateau. Whew.

All was ready for us when we arrived … the door code worked, the keys to our room were where we had been told they would be, our room was more than welcoming. After a short rest we went in search of supper, finding our way, sort of mistakenly, to an exquisite restaurant, the Painted Pony, in our travel-weary, rumpled, bleary-eyed state – at the beginning of a booked Sunday evening. We were seated anyway, kindly, and had the most wonderful meal I can remember. My only regret is not having had the camera with me, so beautiful was Tal’s French onion soup – served in a large hollowed out onion, the melted cheese running down its sides, a shaft of sunlight falling across Tal’s place setting. Absolute perfection.

Day Four
Three States: New Mexico, Arizona, Utah
454 miles

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