I left my hat in Moab

by ✍ October 26th, 2014

Yes, I’ve written of “dry” in the desert southwest. Santa Fe is dry. We go to considerable effort to save water—like harvesting, gray-water use, low-flow toilets, water in restaurants only on request…and on, and on.

Talk about yer dry. Visit Moab (mō ̷ăb), Utah. Out in the middle of nowhere. Parched. Home of sprawling mesas cut by vast miraculous canyons and punctuated here and there by magnificent arches—towering rocks with holes. An off-roaders’ paradise: it’s recommended that 2 days be allowed for a 100-mile trip across the dirt-paved Rim Road.

(They call the city theme color “red”, reflecting the surrounding landscape. Actually, it’s a shade of orange, rather like this.) T-shirts, shopping bags, caps, art, and other paraphernalia in this hue are widely displayed ad nauseum.)

The dirt’s a haven for bicyclers, too: mountain bikes abound. Moab is littered with bike stands and bike shops; the town and countryside with bike trails—some even two-lane, complete with center stripe. Bikers visit from worldwide.

The town uniform includes baseball caps. I’d say, nearly 35% of folks wear them. I felt rather out of place in my Fedora. I drew glances, and even a remark. Nice hat, one fellow said.

Yet, dry? In restaurants, water servings are automatic. (Perhaps a tourist-friendly device.) Old-style (i.e., not low-flow) toilets are the norm. The town has several green, well-watered grassy areas. Surprising. Through the center of town, a bike path runs alongside a small stream.

We walked the bike path on the way back to our motel room from supper. Instead of crossing at the end, on a pedestrian bridge, we decided to cut across early, at a two-foot gap. Stoopid. I stumbled, a foot plunked into the gap, and my Fedora flipped over the six-foot waterfall nearby. It lodged under a nearby overhang, not to be found in the foreseeable future.

I left my hat in Moab. We returned to our motel room—me, drenched—for our nightly cocktail.

Moab restaurants serve three-two beer. One of the state’s 44 government-run liquor stores was across the street. We went there to find out about Utah’s liquor laws. These DABC liquor stores are the sole source of normal-strength. beer and all hard liquor. Not fully dry… Yet these god-fearing Utahans must be doing something right: the state is ranked by various sources as fourth or fifth among the happiest and most peaceful.

Ah, well. Later that very next morning, the transmission solenoid in a low-gear went south, and we had to nurse our car back to Santa Fe. Hatless and in high gear, we arrived to a dinner of green chile enchiladas and full-strength beer (for me) and a margarita (for mi esposa). There’s no place like home.