Another day another dinner…

Yesterday we focused on surveying in the largest of the two blocks in our project area. We were ticking off mile long transects, pin-flagging isolated artifacts and sites as we went along. The goal being to finish the pedestrian survey, so that we could concentrate on recording the sites today. After we wrapped up and drove back to town, we decided on the 7-11 Ranch Cafe for dinner. It looked like a safe bet–crowded with locals and right on the main drag. I guess the “crowded with locals” part should have been a warning. The hostess seated us at one of the long tables, preset with table service, condiments and ice-cream dishes full of… butter. Disguised as scoops of ice-cream, these dishes of whipped butter had been sitting there long enough to develop a plastic-like sheen, very plastic-like. So much so that Kara, needing some butter for her scone (yes, dinner comes with a “scone”, which is actually a beignet without the powdered sugar), went to remove the plastic “lid” on the butter dish. After wiping the room-temperature, whipped butter off of her hand, she decided to eat the “scone” plain.

I had ordered the “Italian Spaghetti” and a salad. Did you know that shredded cheddar cheese is a “traditional” way to serve spaghetti? I didn’t either. Apparently, in Vernal, it is! The garlic butter soaked, toasted hamburger bun was a perfect accent to the meal. Needless to say, dinner did not sit well. The gift shop at the entrance is entertaining though: toy dinosaurs, old-fashioned candies and scented candles in mason jars. We’ve also noticed a disturbing trend here. Based on the haircuts and attire, it seems that MTV’s “Jersey Shore” is extremely popular–hmmm…

Today we finished our last LONG transect, that crossed over the Grand Canyon in miniature (arroyos are really big here), and then got down to recording sites. A historic hunting camp complete with a brush horse-pen and the obligatory can dump. Lots of tobacco tins, coffee cans and condensed milk cans. What is with the condensed milk cans? You find them literally everywhere! You can be 5 miles from the nearest road, cabin, townsite or camp and you’ll come across a lone condensed milk can, just lying there in the sagebrush. Can you imagine: tromping across the desert in the sun, and suddenly thinking “Damn! I could really go for a warm, condensed milk!” Punch a couple holes in the top and chug it back. Disgusting…

The "Grand Arroyo"

Dinner tonight was at the local “brew house”–not too bad, Polygamy Porter and a decent cheeseburger. I decided to go with something safe. I won’t be ordering pasta in Vernal again, at least not anytime soon. The family of local yokels sitting behind us kept us in stitches the entire time we were there. Grandma was ripping into the 8 year-old granddaughter because she wanted gaged earrings, just like her dads. Grandma would have none of it! “You’ve seen how horrible those African women look in the National Geographic. You don’t want to go puttin’ big holes in your ears.” This part of the country is on it’s own page – “I Love Drilling” bumper stickers (I’m thinking my dentist would get a kick out of that, so I’m going to bring one back for her), child brides, and the “Nobama” guy, camped on the side of the highway, proselytizing for the Teabaggers. Ahh, the life of a CRM archaeologist. You see a little bit of everything.

Tomorrow? Who knows what we’ll find tomorrow. The potential is unlimited!

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