Saturday, March 14, 2009

Big Cliffs, Small World

You've probably never heard of Torrey, Utah. It's a small town, 171 people according to the 2000 census. It may not be quite the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from here. Torrey consists mainly of a handful of motels, most of them closed for the season. It no doubt owes its continued existence to Capitol Reef National Park, Utah's least-visited national park, eight miles to the east.

The dining options in Torrey are limited. In fact, discounting the "Taco Time" at the Texaco station, the dining options at 7:30 on a Saturday night are precisely two: "Fine Dining Restaurant" at the Best Western, and a pizza place across the street. I idled in the road a moment, trying to decide, then hung a right into the parking lot of the pizza place. I grabbed my book and went inside.

A quick glance around showed me a couple empty tables, but I figured I'd sit at the bar, which is my preference when dining alone. And while scanning the bar for an empty stool I heard:

"Ben Warde?"

That's strange, I thought to myself, I could swear I just heard someone say my name. I sure would feel like a fool, looking around to see who said my name in this pizza place in this tiny little town in southern Utah, because clearly I'm not going to know anyone here. I looked around anyway.

And there were Jesse and Dave, two friends from Minnesota. We used to work together at Adobe. With them were three other Adobe folks, Nick, Mike, and Zack. So, I didn't end up sitting at the bar after all.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Once at a post office in New Zealand I bumped into Matt, we'd gone to college together, I hadn't seen him since graduation. And on Vancouver Island I met Robert, then bumped into him again eight months later on a train in Australia. Small world. Oh, and the reason we all come to Utah, big cliffs:

15 comments:

  1. Ben, glad you liked the Capitol Reef area and Torrey. Just wanted to point out that though you are correct about most places being closed in the winter the town is beginning to wake up right now. The Chuckwagon motel, which has a grocery store and a deli has opened for 2009, as has Slackers Burgers (formerly Brinks). Pretty soon the highly regarded Cafe Diablo will be open together with the Capitol Reef Inn restaurant. Most of Torrey is west of the 12/24 junction and people do miss it when going from Bryce to Capitol Reef.

    Bob Palin, Torrey Utah
    (not associated with any of the business mentioned)

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  2. Hi Bob, thanks for the comment! I am actually staying at the Chuckwagon motel, I arrived just in time for their first open day of the season. And I am sorry to miss Cafe Diablo, I have read that it's one of the best places to eat in all of Utah. I also like the look of that beautiful bed and breakfast on Center street (is it a refurbished school house?) - don't think I could afford to stay there though. :-)

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  3. Wow, small world indeed!

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  4. It was very weird to see you in Utah. But good. Catch up with you perhaps back in MN some time.

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  5. utah'd known you'd see someone you knew...

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  6. Now imagine if you had taken a left and gone to the Fine Dining Restaurant instead. You would have missed your friends and never even known that you did. I think about this sometimes and wonder for every time we do run into someone, how many times have we just missed? It really does make the world much smaller.

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  7. I think the same thing, Sara. How many coincidences almost happen, but not quite? Who knows who I would have met if I'd gone into the Fine Dining Restaurant instead.

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  8. I was at the Fine Dining Restaurant.

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  9. Ben,

    I camped at a little spot right at the junction of 12 and 24. I had one of my most amazing motorcycle rides through that area. I love Capital Reef. The hike that takes you up to look over Fruita was a classic.

    I will keep a watch to see what you post here.

    Laurence

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  10. Hi Laurence, thanks for the comment. I agree, I just love this area (which is the subject of the post I'm writing now). I think that Highway 95 between 24 and 191 might be the most beautiful stretch of road I've ever driven.

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  11. And no pictures of the pizza place, your friends, the hotel, OR the Fine Dining restaurant? I'm hurt. :P

    But, ya know I'm glad you didn't sit at the bar alone. >_> <-- Angry eyes just for even thinking about it. lol

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  12. Hey Ali, yeah, I was kicking myself for not having taken any pictures of all of us having dinner together that night. No one thought of it, maybe we were all just too stunned with amazement. :-)

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  13. Ben, blame it on a bout of insomnia and an old friend fom Grinnell who came to visit from out of the blue.. I started thinking about people who slip out of your life and was wondering what became of you. Obviously, you have created a remarable life for yourself. Your pictures are so beautiful and unlike any I have seen. Sorry my sleep deprivation has led to late night runs and computer searches. So glad you are well. Jessica Goodman Grinnell '94

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  14. sleep deprivation also leads to typos.
    jess

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