St. George

We are on another Toennies-Jewell adventure. We are in St. George, Utah en route to Park City and golf, lots of golf. A comment on the trip was made about “we are family.” Might as well be. This is somewhere around 15-20 adventures the four of us have experienced, not counting what Pete and i have done sans spouses. And here we go again.

If you have never driven into St. George from the south, you should.

We stopped for lunch in Primm, just before Las Vegas, not wishing to stop and experience the glitz, baubles, neon lights, music noise at decibels in another stratosphere, folks intent on winning, losing, and cigarette smoke, but found it all anyway in Primm’s casino where we went for a burger to find the burger diner had been hijacked into just a bar, while the signs claimed the whole place was half smoking, half non-smoking — reminding me of the restaurant on Magsaysay, the main street of Olongapo outside the Subic Naval Base in the Philippines with the sign painted on the window claimed it was “50% Air Conditioned” — when at Primm’s the undeniable fumes of cigarettes defied the efforts of division and the smoke penetrated our senses and our pores before we escaped to the Mexican diner.

And then we went where you should go, at least once, to the high desert vistas with soaring cliffs with mesas on top and precipitous falls to the canyon floors. Rock, nothing but rock and some pockets of scrub vegetation, opening up to St. George. And then, the drive north opens up to the canyon surrounded by more subtle but still impressive buttes and mesas, even more breathtaking than the earlier precipices because the flat-lying layers of red sedimentary rock, capped by black lava rock, called basalt, lava actually, but that was…er, from 2.3 million to 20,000 years ago, resulting in striated rock formations blending the color of the earth with feelings of ancestral grounds here and wondering (again) how those pioneers heading west reacted when they first ran into this beyond grand beauty and even wondering how they could have reached here with mules, oxen, horses, wagons, on foot even into a desolate though beautiful land searching for a bountiful nirvana, and at seventy-five, eighty miles an hour in the back seat, i take it in and breathe deeply.

After settling into the hotel, we drive to the Cliffside Restaurant located on the strangely named South Tech Ridge Drive, to dine on top of bluff looking over the valley and yonder buttes, mesas but with the homes of the descendants of those pioneers and more recent invaders nestled in the valley, more than this land would allow if the land had its way. And the food was very good while we watched the lightning show at sunset and twilight. Impressive.

Now, the next morning, the view out our hotel window remains spectacular in spite of the ubiquitous franchise eateries and stores you now find everywhere like Home Depot, Target and on and on and on. Soon, we will depart this strange land and head north to another wondrous part of this world above the Great Salt Lake.

‘Tis a nice place to pass through, but i don’t think i’d want to live here. You see, i settled in the Southwest corner and don’t plan to move.

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