Monday, May 8, 2006

a rocky start

Utah is brand new to us, one of those few states we have yet to encounter.  And even though it meant veering slightly south, we couldn’t resist the lure of a place that wears its name in bold white paint, the Hole ‘n the Rock south of Moab.  We took the scenic route that winds down along the Colorado River, oohing and aahing all the way.  

HITR is a one-of-a-kind tourist trap built by a guy named Albert Christiansen, who cleared out a 5,000 square foot living space in the side of a mountain, ran a diner in it for awhile, carved a tribute to FDR, and in his “spare time” taxidermied a little too.

The Big Ball got to pose out front, and then we turned back to the north, for a long stretch of what Mike aptly called “inhospitable” land, where people and cell phone signals are pretty scarce.  Then in Wellington, we stumbled across one of those small but striking places we’ve learned to love, Carl & Elaine’s Deer Crossing--an explosion of fences and an arch all built from antlers!

The town of Helper is just down the road.  Not only is it the last name of Dick Van Dyke’s neighbors, Millie & Jerry, it boasts a Muffler Man like no other on the front lawn of the old Civic Auditorium.  They’ve put a pick in his hand and covered him in black--a Mutant Miner on the city payroll!

We then climbed back into the mountains and made tracks for that Great Salt Lake, to pay tribute to our old friend from Lawrence, Herk Harvey.  Horror film fans may know him as the director of “Carnival of Souls,” a cult classic which was shot at the old Saltaire Pavilion in the early 60s. Herk’s gone now, but Don snagged a pair of his shoes in an unnatural shade of green at a garage sale some years back. Herk said you shoulda seen the suit they went with...leading us to believe he’s rhumbaing in heaven tonight!   

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