Although we will shortly have to mortgage them to pay for corporate bailouts, one of United State's greatest assets is our national park system. Leaders with more foresight and testicular mass than our current herd of flunkies had the vision to set aside large pieces of our country for preservation and management. The result is a panoply of parks containing everything from caves to cliffs, geysers to ghost towns. Unlimited admission to the entire system can be had for just eighty dollars a year. Straights - that's less than Disney; gays - less than the White Party; lesbians - a trip to Home Depot. The only card that gets more road trip use is Burqa Boy's fake ID.
We headed south from Salt Lake City to Moab, Utah, and Arches National Monument.
Phallic National Monument
Moab is located on the eastern side of the Colorado River (which by East Coast standards is a creek and by West Coast standards is a raging torrent) and on the north size of towering piles of uranium tailings which are sprayed with water from Department of Energy trucks to reduce the dust blown into town by the dry Utah winds. The locals, mostly lesbians with herds of cats and open toed shoes, are too busy painting or printing kokopelli on every available surface or garment to notice. It's kokopellitastic.
Two miles outside Moab, and just a mile away from the dusty uranium tailings, is Arches National Monument. A winding road takes you to the mesa above where hundreds of stone phalluses give the park it's name. I mean Arches. No, I mean penises. There are over 2,000 stone arches in the park (some spanning more than 300 feet). But, as Burqa Boy pointed out, there are at least four towering stone male genitals for every arch. "They're everywhere!" he exclaimed. "Look, uncut, uncut, cut, mushroom head, canker, cut..." Renaming the park Phallic National Monument might seem silly, but Iceland does have a popular Phallological Museum.
Dim Witted Tourists
We headed next to Mesa Verde National Park, two hours east of Moab. Mesa Verde has the largest collection of ancient cliff dwellings in the world. 601 to be exact. As one tourist aptly said: "You can stand on the cliff and just see 'em."
Mesa Verde also hosts the largest collection of exceptionally dim-witted tourists. Witness:
"The people who built these dwellings were agrarian, peaceful and we believe largely egalitarian."
"So did they eat their dogs?"
"Uh, no. We find no evidence of that."
"Were they cannibals?"
"No...they were farmers."
"Yes, but did they eat each other?"
"We have no evidence of that."
"What about turkey. Did they eat turkey?"
"We believe the ancient Puebloans left here about 1300 AD."
"When are they coming back?"
If you need more evidence of the faltering economy, you can find it in the busloads of foreign tourists waving handfuls of stronger currencies. There are French and Australians, Chinese and Middle Easterners. But, if any group of foreigners is as annoying as American tourists, it must be the Germans. It's easy to recognize Germans. They're large, have a fondness for wearing calf-high black socks with Birkenstocks, and will smash you on the head with a Leica if you get in their way. We saw lots of Leica-induced injuries in Mesa Verde. Germans like to be first in line for cliff dwellings.
We headed eastward once more for a stopover in Durango, Colorado, arriving - unintentionally - in time for the Durango Cowboy Roundup. Burqa Boy has no affection for cowboys, but I think the stereotype of well fitted Wranglers, torn flannel shirt, wide hat and a drawling "What ya' packin' there, compadre?" is pretty hot. This Cowboy Roundup, however, is less about porn than actual livestock. While we declined an invitation to the Cowboy Poetry Reading (how many things can rhyme with "prairie"?), we did take the chance to pet longhorn cattle. That's something you can't do in New York City.
We finished our week with a sleep over at 9,200 feet, two train rides through the mountains of Colorado, and a dinner of elk meatloaf. Don't eat elk meatloaf, especially when your next available toilet is on a swaying train.
Our stops this week were history lessons for current events. In Mesa Verde, the ancient population outgrew their resources and were forced first into defensive positions and then forced to leave altogether. In Durango and Silverton, miners removed the valuable minerals in a few decades, leaving behind polluted rivers and ghost towns. The first happened 700 years ago; the latter less than 100. We were convinced decades ago to surrender our future to the wisdom of "the market" - an entity which we're told possessed intelligence but is actually a school of fish driven entirely by alternating hunger and fear. Lacking reasonable discourse, intelligent and qualified leaders, and a national consensus to place the well being of humans over corporations, we now face serious problems. Unlike the ancient occupants of Mesa Verde or the miners of Silverton, we don't have anywhere left to migrate.
Of course, we could always annex Canada. Heck, it's practically our 51st state.
A few notes before I close for this week:
Last week Burqa Boy and I delivered a fantastic little video that took quite a bit of time to make. This week our video is more modest. However, we're pleased to present the brand new Burqa Boy Paper Doll and Air Freshener!
Several people have asked for a discussion board. While we don't have that yet, you can send us your comments by clicking here.
You can't win the "Go Here" contest by submitting places we've already been. Nice try.
Next week: Denver, Santa Fe, the Grand Canyon and maybe...Las Vegas!
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