By noon on Thursday of the first full week in June, the AP World History Reading finished up. College Board only allows readers to fly back the day after the end of the Reading, so Jim and I figured that we might as well stay through Sunday and see some cool stuff in the southern part of the state. We had a hotel in Moab and a car rental to get there lined up, and in the past, the hotel concierge at the Little America in Salt Little City had been very helpful in coordinating the car rental. Not so much this time.
Our first clue that the interaction with the concierge was not going to bear fruit should have been her inexplicable pronunciation of “schedule” (as “shedule”). It was puzzling. The lady spoke with no trace of a British accent, and yet she had chosen to pronounce schedule as if she were some kind of Shakespearean thespian taking a break from performances at the Globe. You may be thinking, shouldn’t you expect pretentious pronunciations from someone who has the title of concierge? Nope. College Board has put us in this hotel for the last four years and this is the first time we have heard a concierge pronounce schedule as if she were Jean Luc Picard organizing an attack on the Borg. The only way it could have been worse is if she had told us to be patient “whilst” we wait for the rental car shuttle.
On top of the pretentiousness, the concierge, after looking at my car rental reservation, arranged a shuttle to the wrong Hertz location. After an hour of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles shenanigans, we made it to the correct car rental location and picked up a Prius.
We made a quick stop at the Target just south of Salt Lake to pick up some supplies and found the highest child to adult ratio ever recorded in the history of retail stores. In Richmond, there would only be nearly that many children at a Target if Elsa or Iron Man were making an appearance; in Utah this seems to happen on just an ordinary Thursday afternoon. After extracting ourselves from the parade of children, we had lunch at In-N-Out Burger, giving Jim his first taste of their food.
Then we took the Prius into the desolate wastes of Utah.
In spite of our late start, we were roughly on schedule (or shedule, as you already know), and we were able to see some amazing rock formations whilst we traveled.
Our hotel was in the town of Moab, but because it was so late in the day, we went straight to Dead Horse Point State Park so we could see the famous Colorado River overlook before it got dark. When we arrived at the park, we asked the ranger where the best overlook was. Apparently, from the look of utter, soul-crushing defeat on the ranger’s face, this question is asked several hundred times a day.
As you can see, the park was great, with clearly marked paths to the overlook and an awesome view of the Colorado River. And yet, while most people had given the park the 5/5 star review it deserved, some had not. My guess is that the people responsible for the low ratings fell into one of two categories:
- People who never give five stars, ever: These are the people who tell you that NOTHING is perfect enough to deserve five stars. Their reviews read something like this – “Had a great time at this park and really enjoyed the spectacular views of the Colorado River. The best state park I have ever visited. Four stars.” This type of rating is almost as pretentious as an American pronouncing “schedule” as “shedule.” Almost.
- People who downgrade a rating because of something that has nothing to do with the item they are rating: This is the jackass who downgrades a rating on Amazon because a blizzard caused the item to be delivered in three days rather than two. Their reviews read something like this – “The overlook at the park was fantastic and our campsite was perfect. The only problem was that our car got a flat and we had to change the tire in 95 degree heat. Three stars.”
Since I have visited Europe over the last few summers and have pointed out a number of the things that Americans do that irritate Europeans, I thought I’d do a bit of a balancing of the scales here. Hey, Europeans at American parks, you do not get unlimited time to lounge in front of the best place to see an awesome natural feature. Take your moment to look at the river, get some pictures, enjoy the scenery, and then MOVE YOUR ASS TO ANOTHER SPOT. I mention this because two groups of Europeans secured premier spots at this park and proceeded to get comfortable for a romantic evening. Unfortunately for one of the couples, someone was standing one foot away from them with a camera taking many, many pictures, ruining the romance.
But we fought through all of the difficulties to get to Moab just slightly behind “shedule.”