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  • Writer's pictureAmy

Mutts and Mormons

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

It’s been a while since our last post. We’ve been busy hiking, driving, eating and forcing ourselves to chat with strangers. Peyton’s reaction to my last post was instruction to sit at a bar and strike up a conversation with bar mates. We haven’t had much opportunity to do that over last ten days as we spent 8 days in the wilderness of northern NM and are currently living in a weird, uber pet-friendly hotel in Utah where the liquor laws are puritanical and there are no bars. But as always, Charlie helps. She makes friends with everyone and forces us to exchange dog-related pleasantries with strangers.

So Canones, NM was pretty great. We were there for a week after Durango. Don’t bother to find that town on a map. It’s a tiny community of fewer than 200 residents who ranch, pray, and probably struggle. But they do all that in magnificent surroundings. The most well-known town in the area is Abiquiu about a half hour away which was made famous by Georgia O’Keefe who lived and painted there. Brose will tell you about all that, but I confess that, while I thoroughly enjoyed our stay there and hope to return, I ranted a bit about the inconsistencies between the VRBO description of our accommodations (which were lovely) and the reality of it, simply because I hate inconsistencies particularly ones that could be called lies.

So we are now in Kanab, Utah. Utah is a strange state. We have seen some of the most dramatic and spectacular sites of our trip to date, including a guided trip to White Pocket in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

But to my relief (all that Zillow bingeing is getting tiresome), I can say with confidence that I never want to live here, despite the possibility it could be a very healthy, and thereby lengthier, existence. It’s very hard to find good coffee, breakfast, cocktails or dinner. Sixty-two percent of Utahans are Mormon, and Mormons don’t do caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and most other things that make life fun. Moreover, one can sense a stealthy effort to persuade visitors to see the right path. Our hotel says it serves a “continental breakfast.” The first morning we ordered coffee with milk, and were told that they are a vegan establishment so don’t serve dairy. We went to a nearby bakery and asked for café au lait only to discover, several sips in, we had received café sans lait. I’m pretty sure there’s a conspiracy afoot to get us to quit drinking coffee. We went to a Cuban restaurant looking forward to Cuban cocktails, beans and rice. No Cuban cocktails but decent beans and rice.

Another weird thing about Utah is that the towns here like to monogram their mountains. Why?

Our hotel is called Best Friends Roadhouse. It’s ALL about traveling with your pets, mostly dogs. The rooms are funny. Built-in dog cubbies and pull-out puppy bunk beds, dog bowls, poop bags, feeding stations. It’s fun, if not a bit fetishy. Everyone here is simply mad about dogs, which was nice at first, but after a few days I’ve started to wonder if we are getting sucked into some kind of a creepy dog-worshipping cult.

We went to Walmart yesterday. I’ve only been in a Walmart a couple of times, not for political or snobbish reasons (although I admit to harboring both), but because there aren’t any in my usual orbit. You can find a lot of America there.

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