On the way to Moab, we stopped for gas at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon. Not to reinforce any stereotypes here, but it's worth mentioning that the this particular Chevron station is owned by Indians. I'm not mentioning it in order to make reference to Apu and the Quick-E-Mart, but because this gas station advertises an Indian buffet.
Common sense tells me that an Indian buffet inside a gas station in Spanish Fork Utah is as likely to give one food poisoning as a McDonalds in Mumbai, but I'm neither common nor sensible. For the same reason I once ate a pickled egg after learning that the scuzzy crust on top of the vinegar was a mat of microscopic worms called vinegar eels, I knew I had to try the Indian buffet.
Actually, it wasn't bad. I didn't even get diarrhea. And since my van is really drafty, the remaining drive to Moab wasn't made too unpleasant by my customary flatulent aftershocks. I would even go so far as to say that if you are ever at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon and you don't feel like eating at The Little Acorn Drive-In, and you don't feel like driving anywhere else to eat, and you don't feel adventurous enough to forage for nuts and berries in the woods, you might as well try the Chevron Indian Buffet. It's that good.
For the rest of the drive we talked about a book I had just finished reading. This doesn't sound too exciting but you need to understand that usually our conversations revolve around things like potty-training and family finance. Discussing a book was a wonderful indulgence.
When we got to Moab we went straight up to the slickrock bike trail. This is the part of the trip that I affectionately call "The Tour De Humiliation." You see, the last time I rode slickrock I weighed nearly 100 pounds less than I do now. I also rode my mountain bike everywhere I went and I rode fast. I used to ride so hard and fast, that one time a stranger pulled me over and said, "Boy, you look like a hard worker! Let me tell you about a business opportunity called Amway. . ."
Back then, I could ride the entire slickrock trail without getting off my bike. At least that's how I remember it. This time, I was just a flabby has-been. When I got a flat tire a few miles into the trail, I secretly breathed a sigh of relief, and rejoiced at the opportunity to walk back to the car with a good excuse.
The entire ride I kept telling my wife, "I used to be able to ride up this hill" and "I used to do this whole trail in a few hours" and "I used to weigh 185 pounds." It was like getting slapped in the face by a former, better self. I am a shell of the man I once was.
That evening we met up with all the other rally people at the Big Bend campground and watched people get drunk for a while. We got tired of that pretty quickly, so then we went to sleep in the van down by the river.
In the morning everyone gave us a hard time for going to bed early. Wisecracks abounded. My personal favorite came from my friend Martinio Calderrama of Senor Martgage Mortgage who took to calling me "magic fingers Dave." I had helped him fix his scooter and he commented on how it made him feel dumb that I could do such fine work with my big clumsy fingers and I made the mistake of saying that my wife is amazed at what I can do with my big fingers. (That's not what I meant, get your mind out of the gutter.) I knew it was a mistake as soon as I said it. Damn Tourette's. The fact is, my wife has commented in the past upon seeing me work on machinery that it's amazing I can do delicate work with such huge hands. (Oh come on!) There's really no way to say that without it sounding dirty is there? Anyway it was a compliment and I'll take them when I can get them.