Sunday 22 August 2010

Bluff, Utah

When I left Antelope Canyon, I left without my friends from cooking school. Erin had come up from Phoenix with Jon and Marco, over from Italy, and they all headed west to Vegas as I drove east, back towards the four corners.

The loneliest moments when travelling by yourself come immediately after you've had company. It feels even more acute this time because we've shared some incredible experiences. The last few days remind me that no matter how many amazing things you see in the world, nothing beats sharing them with people you love.

Marco, Jon, Erin, Me

We say our goodbyes. I don't fancy camping or sleeping in the car, so give the Frommers a quick once over, book myself a motel room in Bluff, Utah, and start chalking off the 170 miles between here and there.

I've said before that impressions of a place are largely governed by state of mind, but maybe it's not so true. After mile upon mile of stunning landscape, Bluff reveals itself one building at a time, nestled in the shadows of the red rock ridges and, well, bluffs. A coffee shop, steakhouse, a few motels. A gas station. I check myself in, and immediately extend my stay to two nights. My spirits, low for the last two and a half hours, are completely lifted. It is just so peaceful here, and the people so warm.

In the morning I walk down to Comb Ridge Coffee where I'm glad to get my hands on a decent americano. I don't really fancy much for breakfast. I'm sort of over the whole pancakes thing, but I've not had blue corn pancakes yet, so I settle for them. When I pay my check, I tell the guy behind the counter two things, both of them true: "Those were the best pancakes I have eaten in America," and "I'll see you tomorrow."

Who'd have thought that a couple of pancakes amidst a tiny cluster of buildings and delightful people on a long empty highway could do so much to restore the soul? I drive off with a happy heart. I'm not going to post any photographs of Bluff - there'd be no point. The thing that makes it special can't be seen - just felt. If you're ever passing through these parts, be sure to stay a night. Or two.

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