Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adventure Day: Highway 89

I had a four day weekend. It was great. I got so much done. So much sleeping. Mostly sleeping. I pretty much wasted the whole thing. Sigh.

No, it was good. I really really needed this break. Now I just need to power through the next four week of Body Worlds and then I can celebrate unemployment. I tried to make plans to skip town but nothing came together. Luckily for me (but not so much for him) codename Terrence needed a last-minute early-morning operation and ended up taking Monday off, so Adventure Day was born.

I've long held a fascination with US Highway 89. Not really sure why. Before the interstate freeway system 89 ran from the Mexican to the Canadian border. It's the road less traveled now, with lots of old/interesting/beautiful/ugly sights to see along the way. It exists in fragments now, but someday soon I hope to drive the remaining 1250 miles. When I accomplish that I'm going to get a tattoo to commemorate it.

Adventure Day started with breakfast at the Left Fork Grill. It's decorated with a subdued nautical theme which is good because many of the patrons look like old timey sea captains.

Next, the Army-Navy Surplus to gear up because on Adventure Day you need to be prepared for anything.

Surplus packs and bags. The one in the middle must have belonged to Corporal Klinger.

After an ugly incident with a Filipino gang that resulted in a mouth full of broken glass for Terrence, we were back on the road. 89 through Orem is more depressing than not, so we took I-15 and hooked back up with 89 in the Springville area.

89 breaks up and requires a trip through the deadly and dangerous Spanish Fork Canyon, each turn shrouded in a cloud of white.

Normally I would have been nervous driving in those conditions but we were both doped up on Vicodin so it was totally fine.

Pulled over to do some adventuring and crossed the frozen highway.

A short time later we made an amazing discovery: the lost city of Thistle! Like Jamestown, no one really knows what happened to Thistle. According to legend it was drowned in a flood in 1983.

The much receded "Thistle Lake" was frozen solid which made for better exploring.


He's been in hiding for a long time, but now he's getting sloppy.

Terrence has a friend named Zina. She lives in the heart of Pigeon Valley, a few miles outside of a small town at the end of a long dirt road. I saw a bald eagle on the way there, but I couldn't tell if it was crying or not.

Zina's lifestyle is much more rugged than mine, as evidenced by these neato bone chimes.

She has three cats, and two of them are especially noteworthy. Like this hairless fellow, Ruben.

He looks mean but his personality kind of reminded me of Charlie Brown. And petting him is just like petting microsuede.

Hans, the bengal cat. Probably the prettiest housecat I've ever seen.

An Icelandic artist named Inga left this behind. I like it.

The bathroom is tiled all crazy-like.

Zina knew I was coming so she turned on some glowing green lights so I'd be comfortable.

We ventured back out, Ephraim bound. But the road was blocked, by sheep!

Lots of them! A river of sheep! I haven't spent much time in the country.

A Sheepman wrangling these wooly cattle.. waitaminute, that's a Sheepboy.

To Ephraim, in search of the final resting place of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. Ed Roth was a counterculture/hot-rod icon in the pre-Beatles days. You might be familiar with his creation Rat Fink.

He's buried in Ephraim, in this cemetery.

Or so we thought. He's actually buried one town over in Manti. Manti has some rich sights. Like this, a Temple to the Lord erected by an ancient peoples.

The view from atop shows the cemetery we will soon explore.

Edbigdaddy Roth's grave is not easy to find, and the internet was little help. Cool cemetery though.

After hours of tromping around in the snow Terrence found pictures of Roth's funeral (thanks, iphone!) We were finally able to pinpoint the location through the background in the photos.

The inscription reads "We gave the world our two cents."

Back to Ephraim for some eats. Zina listed off the options: "A Chinese place, a couple of pizza places, the Satisfied Ewe - "

Clearly, when in Ephraim one must eat at the Satisfied Ewe.

We met up with English and his family. I've never met English but I have various connections to him. Gatsby has been good friends with him for years, I'm friends with English's brother TR, and I used to listen to English's public radio show, Huzzah for Ska. I'd even call in with requests sometimes. And I read his blog, so it was cool to finally meet him.


The drive back was something. So dark. So icy. So snowy. So isolated. I had to take too Vicodins just to get through it.

Stopping for gas, and who should I see on the front page of the paper, partying with the Governor? My new friend Zina. How about that.

Also, Sheepman of the Year.


  1. It looks like two sheep are crowd surfing in the second of the sheep pictures.

    I'm so jealous of this adventure.

  2. thanks for the shout out B. good to see you guys and great pictures, as always.
    especially those ones of Thistle!

  3. i was fascinated by thistle as a kid! also, you took some great pictures. i especially love the cemetery one.

  4. Hey! We know Zina too - and her parents! Sweet adventure, B. Nothing looks more appealing to me right now.

  5. Remember, half of the highway 89 tattoo starts on your foot, and then it continues onto chris's foot. Then this day will connect you forever.

  6. sheepboy is more of a man than you will ever be.

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