It’s night and the moon was out early but now it’s sunk below the rock outcropping to the west. It’s lighting up clouds that are hanging just above the ridgeline, and the stars are out and the crickets are going crazy. I’m two miles from Utah, two miles from the Colorado River, and still within earshot of Interstate 70.
The sound of traffic is distant enough that it sounds soothing instead of annoying. It’s one thing to feel like you’re in the middle of a big wilderness, and another to feel like you’re on the edge of civilization. I like the former, but after time it can feel isolating. The latter feels sort of like you’ve pushed some boundary that no one particularly cares about.
It is a period of civil war. Rebel vans, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil galactic anti-van empire. During the battle, rebels managed to steal plans to the empire’s ultimate secret weapon, the death smokey, an armored space station capable of dispensing enough speeding tickets to destroy an entire roadtrip. Pursued by the empire’s plain-clothes agents, Princess Vanna races home aboard her van, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore maximum cruise potential to the galaxy…
I’m in a 7-Eleven parking lot in a tiny town in western Utah, one hundred miles from Great Basin National Park. I filled up on gas and I got a strawberry ice cream bar and store brand donuts because I guess I no longer value my health. Inside the store the manager and a rep from corporate were spitballin’ about how they could reorganize the snack foods. It was amazing, I’ve never seen that before.