Bike Trip Pt. 5—Monument Valley to Blanding

After the sunrise, I took a brief nap up until my checkout time.  Since I was giving myself an extra day to get back to Boulder, I could be more flexible with when I left.  Monument Valley to Blanding would be the easiest day as well—only 75 miles to go.

Leaving Monument Valley, I knew that Forrest Gump Point was near.  It's the place on the highway where Forrest, after running for 3 years, declares that he's tired and heads back to Alabama.  It was a tourist shit-show, for lack of better words.  I went a few hundred feet past it, and pulled off on a little patch of dirt.  The view was still fantastic.  I figured that this might be the best opportunity for a self portrait, and pulled the tripod off my sissy bar bag.  I was pretty happy at the results. 


Before I knew it, I was in Blanding and at the motel.  Somewhere in the fine print was the fact that the room I booked, the cheapest one available, was a smoking room.  I opened the door to that faint, but still wretched scent of stale cigarettes.  I was equally amused and revolted.  Well, I should take advantage of this, and go buy some cigarettes.  I had the idea for some images in my mind. 

The town of Blanding, innocent enough, was the catalyst of a realization I had—these beautiful national parks, forests, and deserts I had been going through, filling my thoughts with amazement, did not deserve to be surrounded by manmade creations that seemed so out of sync with the beauty.  Sometimes garish, stark, pitiful, bleak, or a mixture of all, the peace and satisfaction of your soul gets sucked out.  This sad, stinky room was certainly a representation of this.

I didn't feel lonely on my motorcycle, flying next to natural wonders, but these towns bring about that feeling.  They are out of place, and in return, you feel out of place.

But of course, it's intriguing at the same time, almost like a morbid curiosity of sorts.  I walked around Blanding in search of cigarettes and images.  

I used to love cigarettes when I was in high school.  The taste was deep and roasted, like coffee, and my young lungs didn't mind the smoke.  Slowly but surely, my desire for them disappeared completely.  My lungs began to feel like they got kicked when the smoke entered them and all I could taste is what I imagine caustic household cleaner might be like on the tongue.

I lit a cigarette from the cheapest pack I could find and watched the smoke softly billow up towards the ceiling.  It felt so incredibly wrong.  I placed it on the provided ashtray and pulled out the Book of Mormon from the nightstand.  These were my ancestors who settled the area—astonishingly resolute people.  Mormons, although very clean and organized, don't have much flair in their culture.  Maybe that's why the town is named "Blanding."

I crushed the ember into the ashtray and went to bed with the sickly smell polluting the room, hoping that the pictures would be worth it.