It was hot in Manhattan on Monday, but not as hot as it was in St. George, Utah, last Friday. The bank thermometer read 110 degrees when I left the airport in my rental car. Fortunately, Cedar City, my destination, was considerably higher and somewhat cooler, and I got through my weekend at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in one piece. It helped that I ran into a long-lost friend with whom I had an unexpected and gratifying reunion, and I also profited from the advice contained in an e-mail from a fellow blogger:
If you have a free afternoon in Cedar City, take the 45-minute drive to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It’s sort of like Bryce Canyon, only more colorful and without big crowds. Visitor facilities are so rustic you’ll swear you’ve stepped into the 1930s. If you do decide to make that trip, don’t forget that you’ll be very high up (over 10,000 feet), where the air is thin and water–including the water in your radiator–boils quickly.
I took him up on it, and spent a considerable chunk of Saturday morning gawking at the view. As always, the trouble with scenery is tourists, and I felt sorely tempted to give a good hard push to a couple of noisy women at the Chessmen Ridge Overlook. Fortunately, the altitude silenced most of the other people I ran into (it really does make your head spin), who appeared to respond to the beauties of Cedar Breaks in much the same way as the raven-haired ranger to whom I paid my four-dollar toll. I told her I’d never seen anything like it, and she grinned at me and replied, “Oh, I’m in love with it. I have been ever since the first time I came here.”
I was tickled by two signs I saw along the way:
WARNING EXPOSED CLIFF EDGES AND NEARBY LIGHTNING ARE HAZARDOUS
OPEN RANGE WATCH FOR LIVESTOCK
Sunday was…well, long. I arose at 4:30, drove back to the St. George airport just ahead of the sunrise, flew from there to Los Angeles, sat around the terminal for a couple of hours, flew from there to Newark, and was driven from there to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As I expected, it took me about thirteen hours to get from point A to point E, but I made reasonably good use of my time, writing part of my Wall Street Journal drama column in an LAX snack bar and reading most of Gail Levin’s Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography on the plane. (I’d read it years ago, but I know a lot more about art now.)
Now I’m back home again, writing my “Sightings” column for Saturday’s Journal and preparing to receive a houseguest, my niece Lauren from Smalltown, U.S.A., who arrives in New York for a visit later this afternoon. We’re going to ascend the Empire State Building, ride the Circle Line, and go see Pilobolus, the Metropolitan Museum, and whatever Broadway musical I can get us into on the cheap by paying a sweaty visit to the TKTS booth in Times Square, which will be a first for me. I expect I’ll be blogging about Lauren’s visit from time to time, but should you not hear from me as frequently as usual, it means I’m out showing her the town.
More as it happens.