Chapter 4: The Grand Canyon and Southern Utah
Eddie, a friend who lives in Chicago, flew out and met me in San Diego for the last leg of my trip. Ed’s a photographer (like he actually does it for a living) and though I was excited to spend a week in his inimitable company, I mostly invited him so I could have great pictures of the trip. Don’t tell him that though.
We left San Diego and spent the first night in Las Vegas, where I saw some things that were even stranger than what I saw in Tijuana. There was this weird wheelchair motif to the night, and I know I didn’t hallucinate it because Eddie saw the same thing. It all began with a guy in a motorized wheelchair, rolling along the sidewalk in a blue seersucker suit, one leg crossed over the other, smoking a cigar, adult beverage in hand. Following this was a series of your run-of-the-mill wheelchair users, but then as we took an Uber somewhere, I looked out the window and saw one woman pushing another woman in a wheelchair, and the wheelchair-bound woman was pushing a baby stroller in front of her. The baby stroller did not have a baby pushing anything in it, as it was full of homeless paraphernalia. Later, as we came back from seeing Le Rêve, we walked up a steep sidewalk leading to a Strip overpass, and suddenly this guy goes fucking flying down in the other direction – in a wheelchair, of course – hollering “Whoooooooooo! YEAH!” at the top of his lungs. I didn’t immediately react, because I was too busy seriously doubting my sanity. Then I remembered it was Las Vegas, the event horizon where crazy people come to seek a forever home, and started laughing hysterically. Eddie just goes, “There it is. I was wondering when you’d start.” And I was like, “HahahahaHAHAHAhahahahaha! Thank god there’s a place for people like that.”
As I mentioned, we also saw Le Rêve, and I can’t speak for Ed, but I sat there drooling in utter amazement during the whole show. I played off the drool spots as splashes from the actors though, so it was fine. We also visited a marijuana dispensary (not purchasing anything, of course), and marveled at the volume and diversity of the offerings, as well as the compelling salesmanship – the guy told me a certain product would thin my vaginal walls and cause shorter periods with less cramping. Thank you, sir, but I like my vaginal walls just the way they are.
The next day, we scurried off to Kaibab National Forest, where our plans to camp right on the rim of the Grand Canyon were foiled by a road that was so rocky the Gangstermobile couldn’t pass over it. Lady Luck smiled upon us, though, because we ended up finding a way cool campsite under a massive rocky overhang. We found it because a sign indicated there was a spring of some kind, but instead of a pleasant burbling spring, there just were two pools of murky water right at the base of the rocky overhang. The weird green fuzz growing on the top of the dark water might have been enough to convince less brave adventurers to go somewhere less spooky, but we stayed and no Inferi came rising out of the depths to drag us down to a watery grave.
There was plenty of wood for a fire, and so we made franks and beans, roasted marshmallows, and then threw more marshmallows into the fire and took pictures of them growing and twisting as they burned a slow and horrible death. Ed experimented with some fun light painting photography, and I acted as his trusty camerawoman throughout the night and the rest of the trip (for the record, he never called me trusty – I only gave myself that distinction because I only dropped one expensive lens cap onto the ground).
That night, it got cold as fucking fuck. Really cold, like 25 degrees. The sleeping bag I brought is made for two people, but it isn’t actually very thick, so we ended up clutching each other desperately for body heat, and froze anyway. The next morning we agreed that we’d prefer not to do that again, and stayed in cheap motels the rest of the trip. It was much nicer.
Over the next few days, we saw the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, Moab, Arches, Bryce, and Zion National Park. I was so, so glad that I ask Eddie to come along – I’ve taken people down to southern Utah before, and they just didn’t get it. Like, have you ever showed someone something that is super important to you, and they’ve been all like, “Whatever, no big deal.”? It sucks. Eddie did not do that. Rather, he was as amazed, overwhelmed, delighted, and awed by the glory of everything we saw. Several times, we expressed the shared feeling that we felt as though we were on another planet. I didn’t mind waiting during the many times when Eddie had to scramble around on dangerous precipices to get the perfect picture; I found myself much braver than usual, and scrambled around on some scary places, too. When we were standing on a ledge looking out over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Ed pointed out that even though you could see hundreds and hundreds of feet down and away, you still couldn’t see the bottom of the canyon. How nuts is that? The size and scope of the thing is truly mighty.
When we finally made it back up to Salt Lake so I could work, Eddie still had a couple of days before his flight back home. I brought him up to Logan, and he survived a night amongst my family, which is no small feat, and then a group of us went out to the Salt Flats and took some goofy pictures with a toy dinosaur up close to the camera as we all “ran away” in the distance. Kind of a lifetime dream come true.
All in all, the trip was a spectacular success. Naturally, I spent too much money, but that can’t really be avoided – simply planned for better in the future. 10/10, I’d do it again. After I go see some other neat stuff.
And no, family members, before you ask, there is nothing going on romantically with Eddie, nor with Matt, nor with Brian. I am determined to become an old maid, who travels wherever she wants for extended periods of time and doesn’t have to worry about anything but her houseplants and perhaps, one day, a cat. Thank you very much.