I tossed and turned, trying to find a comfortable position, but it was the back seat of the car and comfortable is few and far between. I glanced at my phone, 2:05, it was black out, I knew I was feet away from greater salt lake but my eyes couldn't tell me as much. I stretched and reached into the cooler, one red bull left. Why not. I crawled out from my sleeping back and snuck into the drivers seat, I knew it was four hours to Arches national park, maybe I could catch the sunrise. I didn't know it at the time but I would hardly speak a word today, most of the dialogue would be confined to the chatter of my mind. As I drove through Provo and snuck off across the mountain pass towards Colorado, I ignored the waning gas gauge, the weather was miserable, rain pounded relentless as a drum, the water pooled on the pavement and distorted the view. It took me another twenty five miles to realize I was running out of gas, the light was on which meant I had about twenty five miles to go, I could turn around and drive downhill through the chaos I had just pushed through or hope that my twenty five miles remaining could somehow carry me the forty miles to the next town.
I babysat the car in neutral down the mountain, back through the storm that poured from the sky like a shower cleansing the mountain side, I should've been angry yet I was strangely calm standing pumping gas in the pouring rain sometime after four in the morning, smiling to myself wondering what today would bring. After back-tracking the drive seemed to accelerate, I found myself passing through small town Utah as the sun slowly illuminated the dry, mountainous red plains. As the cliffs and peaks revealed periodic coal mines, remnants of American yesterday, I contemplated the abandoned buildings and fenced petrol stations. The windshield began to seem more and more like the screen of an old theatre, playing westerns starring a grimacing Eastwood or bemused Newman, the drive passed quickly and before I had time to be truly present I was wandering the flats of Arches searching for its most Delicate, I wished I had a horse, I wished someone was chasing me. I daydreamed my way around this foreign clay wonderland, for how long who knows, I remember now more of what I thought than what I saw, with a quick goodbye I drove south to a road I wanted to see more than perhaps any place on my itinerary, Monument Valley was more American to me than any place on either side, the long impossibly straight road, was more about opportunity than the journey, something about the pillars stood as a symbol of possibility, driving towards monument valley in some odd fantastic way reminded me of the american dream. A kid in tattered jeans stood with a thumb up as car after car flashed by in varying degrees of blur, I pulled over and asked if I could take his photo, he obliged. Smiling he climbed into the car -do you have food?- I did. As we started driving he asked if I was going to stay for sunset, it must've been around five, I told him I was going to drive to horseshoe bend instead, he said it would be worth it. The kid was headed to Texas so our journey was a short one, I gave him some food and dropped him at a junction pointed south to phoenix and east, in a round about way, to Albuquerque. For a quiet, unassuming kid he spoke loudly with his eyes, he was truly grateful for the meal, and perhaps more for the company. Although we spoke little the generosity of a fellow traveller, and the sound of good music did more than enough to rejuvenate his spirit, I just appreciated hearing a story without so many words. A college dropout he had hitchhiked from Austin to the pacific ocean because he wanted to taste the salt water, I hope he found what he was looking for.
My car wound its way towards Page as the sun began to slowly dip in the sky, I don't remember seeing another car along that lonely drive, I played a Bob Dylan album over and over as my foot grew ever more heavy on the accelerator. Soon only 'Blowing in the Wind' played through the speakers, I must've heard the song sing forty or so times until the light pollution of Page was visible on the horizon, probably half-hour until the sunset. I blew up dirt behind me pulling into the parking lot at horseshoe bend, grabbing my camera I stammered out of the car and ran clumsily up the steep sand dune that precluded the lookout. Reaching the top I saw an incredible gathering of people looking out at one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen, the sun was in the midst of setting, perfectly aligned with the centre of the bend, as if its rays were the wings of a plane on its way to land. I found a spot near the edge of the cliff and sat in awe, I just sat as the congregation of people slowly packed to leave, I sat and sat until all light had disappeared beneath the horizon. Walking back to my car under the guidance of the stars I wondered how I could be so lucky, thinking that the world really tried its hardest to work in mysterious ways. I drove into town at first looking for a hotel and then later settling on a case of beer, Blue Moon. I found my way to the shore of Lake Powell, listening to a fittingly titled Beck song, sipping on my beer. A couple sat down beside me, I said hello, they introduced themselves in German, I handed him two beers and we just stared up the stars. Soon the beers were gone and with them my two German friends, I just smiled as they left, laying back down. Above the milky way was clearer than I had ever seen it, probably clearer than I ever would again. I thought about life in the same way one does in a moment of such insignificance, everything in that moment seemed so far away I felt like a third person narrator of my own life, I saw myself in the infinity and I was truly excited with what I saw.