12 January 2009

Angels in Moab Utah

It’s the summer of 2004 and we are in Woody’s Tavern in Moab Utah. Moab is an old uranium town in the high desert of the Colorado Plateau. The small town nestles besides the Colorado river, when seen from the air, or even from the high ridges of white and red slickrock that tower above the valley, it is literally an oasis, green in the otherwise brash, red countryside. Its also an oasis of hedonism in the otherwise, ultra conservative mormon state. Moab is where the irreligious go to bike, climb, jeep, play in the big rivers and drink beer. Moab is probably the only town in Utah that has more bars than churches! I love Moab.

So we are in Woody's Tavern, there are carvings of long gone peoples names in the bar, next to a sign saying don’t carve the bar. A rock band is playing and a lot of drunk hippies and rockers are dancing, badly. They have all been exposed to way too much sun and their sandaled feet probably haven’t seen a proper pair of shoes in 15 years. They mix effortless with bikers and the occasional, slightly perplexed looking tourist.

Its all going well, we are playing a bit of pool, having a laugh, then Roy or Tor suggest that we go for some white Russians and the downward trajectory steepens significantly. The level of banter rises with the volume of the band and the number of cocktails. We have been working hard for a month, now its time to play. Tomorrow we will head on a five day river trip on Cataract Canyon.

A couple of hours later and we are staggering back along main street to the single hotel room that the 5 of us will share. Its pretty quiet. I say to Atle “I am sick of Americans bitching about the price of gas, big fuckin deal if its 2 bucks 50. Its 9 bucks back home!”
He agrees, but without much conviction.
And then shinning out of the night is the towering light of the Shell sign.
“Fuck it, lets do something about it” I declare!
“Oh no!" He looks worried and then has a little glint in his eye. "Ok what? He replies”
“We'll solve the gas price problem, here help me up”
So with some undignified grunting a pushing I am up the sign, changing the price from 2.51 to 1.25… Problem solved!

Suddenly I am illuminated in the light of a torch, hmmm we don’t have a torch.
While I am pondering this a stern and very American voice says
“What are you doing?”
Without trying to be smart, I reply
“errr, changing the price of gas?”
“Why? Say the voice in blue.
“Cos I thought it would make people happy?”
This is not going well, I look around and I see Roy and Tor climbing onto the roof of the gas station in the shadows, I am not sure why. I don’t see Atle or Chris – so much for my look outs!
“Well get down here!” Commands the law, clearly not as interested in pleasing the public as I am. So I start climbing down...
“Get back up there and put the price right!” He instructs
So I climb back up and fix the price. Then just as I start to climb down I look up the main street and I see something that you don’t see everyday, even in Moab.
...Two totally naked women walking down the street...
The policeman sees them at the same time as me and mutters under his breath “fuck me – what a night! Maybe it’s a full moon!” To nobody in particular and I almost feel sorry for him.

Atle and Chris reappear immediatly and are in shark mode. They are failing badly, maybe it's because they have clothes on?

The policeman now has a fairly complex dilemma, he can:
1. Continue to arrest the idiot who was messing with the gas sign. In which case he has to leave the naked chicks with the guys with strange accents.
2. Arrest the naked chicks and the foreign idiot, which puts all three of them in the back of the car together, is he allowed to do that?
3. Rescue the naked chicks from the foreign guys.
Fortunately for me the girls start to look scared and he opts for option 3. Net result, I am saved from a night in the slammer. In retrospect I think they must be angels, set down to protect me from the ravages of the law…

Next morning we all wake up in a very small space with bad heads. Simultaneously 5 guys say

“I had a really weird dream last night, there was a policeman and two naked girls on the highstreet…”


Tony said...

Cool blog, and a great post! Just wanted to let you know that there are a few "ultra conservative mormons" who love Moab as well;). We don't go to Moab for the bars or social life, but we do love climbing, rock crawling, dirt biking and otherwise ejoying the sites and challenges outside the actual town of Moab.:)

John said...

Tony - thanks for your kind words. I actually have some pretty good friends who are Mormons and I have had some of my best desert adventures with them...
Wasn't meant to be offensive, just trying to set the scene with a bit of poetic licence.
Liked your pics, maybe see you out rock crawling one day :-)

Tony said...

No problem..I was probably reading too much into it and just wanted to give a point of view. I know a few narrow minded individuals, many LDS, so it's good to know there are those that can accept a broader group. Moab is sweet, I hope it stays that way!! If you see us rolling around be sure to say hi:)