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Janni Lee Simner
13 June 2003 @ 01:56 pm
May 20, 2003
Green River State Park
Green River, Utah

"I hear you're leaving us."
"Where you going?"
--Discussion between customer and cashier in a small town north of Flagstaff

En route to Jackson at last, one new brake line and two new front brakes later. (No repacked brake bearings or new tires, though--we knew the brakes were going to need replacing soon anyway, and the price was fair, but after we agreed to that the mechanic--or rather his boss--became way too interested in selling us work we in fact didn't need. Those brake bearings were repacked two oil changes ago, thank you very much; don't tell me what standard maintenance I need.)

Anyway, we got out of Flagstaff around 11. Drove north, through dusty red desert filled with rocky red outcrops: north through Tuba City, toward Kayenta and Monument Valley.

Just before Tuba City, on the Res, we paid too much to see some dinosaur tracks in the rock behind a Navajo jewelry stand. Hey, sometimes you just have to do these things. Far as we can tell, the tracks were even mostly legit, and focused more on lesser-known herbivores than on the impressive big dinos.

We drove on, through Monument Valley--movie landscape-and toward Moab, the red sandstone formations growing ever more impressive as we did.

Moab itself was--more low key than we expected, tending more toward gray hair, less toward gung-ho mountain bikers than one might assume. Lots of khaki green outdoor-guide type clothing there, though.

Ate dinner in the Moab Diner, which claims to have the best green chile in Utah. Is there much competition, one wonders?

And Moab sports not one, but two good bookstores; Arches Book Company and Back of Beyond Books. The SF section in the latter was particularly striking--I like their taste.

We continued north from Moab, past Arches National Park (speaking of impressive sandstone) and then--rather abruptly--found ourselves in the great basin, a land of flat rocky scrub somehow different from the flat rocky scrub back home: different bushes, no junipers, maybe more sage--with mountains in the background.

This was familiar--echoes of that Girl Scout trip. But then, I suspect it'd be familiar to anyone who's visited much of the upper left corner of the U.S.

Stopped in Green River, 50 miles beyond Moab, at a pleasant grassy state campground.

Camp food: Fried chicken smothered in green chile cheese sauce. The Moab dinner has pretty good green chiles, whether they're the best in Utah or not.

Random observation: Some bugs leave red blood splatters on windshields. Others leave fluorescent green bug-gut splatters instead.
Janni Lee Simner
13 June 2003 @ 01:56 pm
Most of Iraq's looted antiquities are intact after all.

Not that the loss of 3000+ artifacts is a good thing--but after the original estimates of 170,000, one still feels some relief.

Of course, the administration seems to want to claim this means they did all right after all. But the artifacts were saved by the Iraqis who hid them, not us--and more, Rumsfeld was still remarkably disdainful that anyone cared about the artifacts in the first place.