Kanab Utah and the Magical Social Lubricant Also Known as Alcohol
Whilst motorcycling, one must stay hydrated and well rested . Which, absolutely never happens. On any given day on the road I am either extremely hungover with a seriously dehydrated brain or deathly exhausted from most likely a wild night with old or new friends, OR even more likely: both. In this particular case, I am fairly certain I was just exhausted from being on the road for 3-4 weeks at this point. My trip was coming to an end and I was on the home stretch back to Canada, headed North on the I-15 somewhere in Utah. I had been riding for forever on this particular day, determined to make it to Salt Lake City by night. But, when the Good Lord sends you a sign you better answer that call, and answer it I damn well did. Floating on a vibrating two wheeled cloud at around 90 miles an hour in the setting sun around 7pm, my thoughts recalling random memories of this last trip and having mini flashbacks from the last few weeks. Seemed like a blur of good people, a million highway scenes and gas stations, sunburns, and fuckin’ great times. I digress. On this fateful day my thirst for more adventure and cold beer was climbing the charts, and just like that, as if it was made by Jesus himself, a gigantic billboard that read “SALOON”, then immediately following that was another billboard advertising “Denim Surplus Warehouse”. Like?! Am I getting Punk’d? I must be dreaming I thought to myself. My growling stomach and dry eyes tore me from this revery and back into reality just in time, so timely in fact that I almost missed the exit to this denim/saloon paradise.
First up is the denim wonderland. I stroll in prepared to max out my credit card and throw out certain necessities in my duffle bag to make room for more important necessities: vintage denim. Upon entering I inhale the sweet musty smell that accompanies every thrift store and Value Village without fail. However, as my nose is pleasantly awarded, but alas my eyes and heart are not. Not so much a denim haven, but a once-denim-surplus-store-turned-western-saddlery, I have now entered. To my dismay I flick through the meagre and lonely racks of brand new run of the mill Levis and Wranglers and inside of 10 minutes I am done. Oh well. Now for the saloon. I exit the saddlery and make my way about a half a block down a dirt path to the saloon, mentally crossing my fingers for something that will make up for this injustice. I walk through the period correct swinging saloon doors and am happily greeted by wooden floors, cow skulls adorning the walls, a classic bar compete with brass rail and a few wooden tables and chairs. In the corner is a tall John Wayne looking character strumming an acoustic guitar along with a terribly shitty drum track playing a Hank Williams epic: “I’ll Be A Bachelor ’til I Die”. Heart be still.
I belly up to the bar, where there is one man sitting alone, a handsome mid 30’s man who is dressed fairly sharp but hunched over his drink like a full blown Quasimodo. The bartender, a young blonde girl looking somewhat out of place in an establishment such as this. I order my usual travelling requirement: a pint of PBR or equivalent and a shot of Jameson’s, essentially two thirds of a George Thorogood song. This caught the attention of the man at the bar and he exclaims “Now THAT is a drink order!”
We chat casually and eventually have some intermittent commentary from the cute bartender girl as well. I learn this dude is from New York and here working with an NPO for animal rescue and only here for a few days.
After two rounds of my usual drink order I concur its time to get gone and decide to head out to the patio for a cigarette and be on my way. I invite Mr. New York, as I’d noticed him vaping during our light conversation. He enthusiastically joins me, and as we’re walking out I also notice that he is most definitely a little tangled from sitting at the bar drinking for much longer than I. We sit on the patio, smoking and getting deeper into conversation, as I watch the light of day slowly fading and my hopes to make it to SLC also fading. We order another round and I explain my reoccurring dilemma of “should I stay or should I go”, in other words do I try to make it to Salt Lake tonight (which would require about 4 more hours of riding) or do I stay in this quaint little town and get a little unwound myself? My new friend offers up a solution: “Hey man if you don’t go you can stay in my hotel room, theres two beds, you’re more than welcome.” Now, I’m no stranger to awkward situations or questionable moments where I’ve wondered: “Is this dude gonna kill me, or is he looking for some brotherly love, or what?”
I decide to order another round to contemplate my current situation. We end up smoking all my cigarettes and get increasingly drunk. I decide to stay. Fuck it. I could beat the shit out of this dude if it gets weird, but being a generally good judge of character I deduce that this dude is just looking for a good time and drinking buddy for the night. I oblige. We dive into the many topics of life and love and basically turn my “one drink stop” into a good old fashioned guy’s night.
The night continues on and on, and around 11pm we both notice a gang of beautiful women, certainly not from this town, accompanied by a bunch of dudes in black T-shirts and black shorts. If experience has taught me anything in this life, we were looking at models and a film crew. What are the chances, that on a Monday, I would stumble into this saloon, find a buddy for life and wind up being joined by a film crew from LA shooting a commercial in Kenab Utah for the week. Once again the definition of serendipity comes to mind.
Naturally my drinking buddy who is easily 10 drinks deep at this point saunters up the bar and invites the girls to join us on the patio. They accept his barely audible and slurred offer and before I know it we have 5-8 beautiful women sitting at our table, all with a similar intent for the evening: to get fucked up and have a good time. We quickly learn these girls are so painfully “LA”: talking about what kind of lawn they had put in at their houses and going into agonizing detail about their dogs/pets. Now, a little known fact about me, I have put up with so much bad conversation and bullshit due to the fact the girl at the moment was just extremely attractive, and this night was no different. The liquor was working wonders and now the film crew had joined us, a group of awesome dudes with weathered faces and a lifetime of stories from the business end of a camera lens.
At around 1am I am pretty dinged up, y’know that kind of drunk when you are really only registering every 3 or so seconds? Well, that was me. Somehow there is a group of us, all walking to Mr. Drunk Ass New York’s hotel. Zero recollection of how and when but I must have grabbed my duffle bag, because I am instantly aware of how heavy it is, and when you’re drunk, usually things like a heavy bag get pretty annoying pretty fast. Finally arriving at the hotel I am elated to see that there is in fact, two beds. The music starts blaring and the drinks continue to flow, although I am slowly shutting down. I don’t remember what happened next, but I awake to the blinding sun coming through the window and Mr. New York hurriedly packing his things. He leaves in a rush and I am alone once again. Then I realize I slept in all of my clothes, jacket and boots included. I awake again hours later to the front desk urging me ever so politely to check out AKA get lost.
So, what can we learn from this? Well, don’t believe everything you read and sometimes its OK to trust drunk strangers.