Salt Lake Ahoy 19.03.16

I’ve noticed whilst I’m here, I‘m waking each day with a song in my head. I’ve wondered if the family are trying to bring my attention to something each day, when the curtains are drawn at each evening they do seem to have been relevant somehow. I have always noticed them.

I have no radio, no CD player no other distractions, just my thoughts, feelings and what ever flows up from within, so any music that comes to mind is either tunes for my own songs or from somewhere else and I don’t own any records of the songs that do appear.

This morning it was “Tears of a clown, – Smokey Robinson” Yesterday it was “Baby, love really huts without you – Billy Ocean the day before it was Bohemian Rhapsody _-Queen (that lasted all day) and the day before that “I can’t help falling in love with you – Elvis. There are more but I didn’t keep track.

I’m also surprised by how many of the lyrics I know, subliminal unconscious absorbing? A message? or just a damned good song ? We shall see how the day unfolds today.

So south it was and Salt Lake City it is, I was absolutely shattered when I got into town last night. Salt Lake City is great big wide open city. I liked it last time I came through. Glittering clean, ordered fresh and healthy looking.

As we came down the freeway up and over a rise the valley in front darkening in the twilight, the city lights just coming on, it looked like the night sky had been reversed with million lights cast and sown by a generous god as far as you could see, an incredible sight. It perked me right up.

“There she blows”

I vaguely remembered an area from last time with good late night coffee bars. It made me laugh last time too that the Mormons apparently frown on the drinking of coffee but this city has some of the best i‘d seen and I have seen quite a few US coffee bars, that’s for sure.Salt Lake City 19.03.162016-03-18 23.58.11Found the Coffee Garden on 900 east & 900 south great place, open till 12 then I went over to one a few blocks away on 300 called the Coffee Break open till 3am. I was wired beyond tired just didn’t want to sleep yet. But after an hour trying to get a virus of my laptop I gave up drove around the city and ended up sleeping next to the lake on Liberty park.

I was woken by dog walkers and Joggers at 7am and need to take car of some things in the UK today. So I will pause here today and move on tomorrow.

The drive yesterday was a desperate fight to stay focused. The I-15 southwards was definitely downwards, and though deeply tired it just felt right.

I called in at the Shoshone-Bannock reservation trying to find their historical museum which is a little overshadowed by their casino. A delightful but rather intense lady gave me a lesson on the Shoshone and Bannock tribe. She told me so many things in such a short space of time I was finding it hard to absorb.

There is a certain way the Native Americans talk and I know that there are different dialects and tones and languages, but there is a charming way that they clip their words. I have always liked it. She put on some music from the Church of Native Americans, It sounded very much like the Peyote songs and drumming to me. I think it is the same thing.

I have always had a soft spot for the Shoshone, for some reason perhaps they were the first tribe I read about back then and Chief Washaki the great Shoshone warrior chief though he was part of the eastern Shoshone and lived out his life on the Wind river reservation In Wyoming. Had it not been for the Shoshone and Crow scouts at The battle of the Rosebud on June 17th 1876 General Crooks force would certainly have suffered major casualties but were able to retreat with a bloodied nose



The Shoshone and Crow were traditional enemies of the same Sioux ,Cheyanne and Arapaho, who won a resounding victory annihilating General Custer and the 7th cavalry at the Battle of The Little Big Horn a few days later.

There is of course much more to any people and it was the poetry of their spoken word that first spoke to me, it still does.


Washakie was a great defender of his people and became a peacemaker, though it always puzzled me why he later joined the Church of Jesus Christ of later day saints. The lady, I think she said Rosemary, also talked at length as to why so many Indians had gone over to basically Christian faiths that were alien to them

She said “There was no hell for us, it was invented to scare people, maybe that’s why, yeah. We don’t have a word for ‘forgive’ we have no need, we say “Just forget it”

The little museum was excellent I have always loved to see those photos and the artifacts from that time. Heart breaking pictures too and the ways that were used to try and incorporate the tribes. Not a happy face amongst them. Compared to earlier. Just an overview I know but any of the Shoshone I spoke with there were open and cheerful, it’s certainly not the same everywhere.

Shoshone Museum fort Hall Idaho Falls 17.03.162016-03-18 16.01.02.jpg

Rosemary had said The Shoshone, particularly her band are always making fun and jokes. She was funny too.

I’d asked her what the road was like through the reservation, she told me without missing a beat that it was a bad gravel road and

“I’d hate for you to get stuck out there.” She said “There is nothing to see out there”

I understood from my last time here she was steering me away. She instead directed me to an old highway that ran parallel to the I-15 a few miles away. I respected her wishes. A few years ago I would have gone straight out there.

I left a donation on the way out, though when I saw the huge casino across the road with all the parked cars outside. I had a feeling they are doing better these days and that is a good thing.

We were driving on the 91 just inside the reservation when to my great delight I saw some land with what seemed to be hundreds of old wrecked cars.

Instinct said “Stop”

There before me was graveyard of classic American cars. My blood rushed. A sign said ‘Keep Out, call this number and Wait’ I peered in and saw a couple of guys talking so I squeezed through the fence and asked them if it would be ok if I wandered around and took some photos

‘Sure no problem” the younger one said

American Classic Car Graveyard Fort Hall Indan Res Highway 91 17.03.162016-03-18 16.34.27 copy

I walked slowly and genuinely reverentially through a rusting decaying motor history of the US. It was incredible to me, Oldsmobile’s, Chevys Dodges Cadillac’s Fords, Mercury’s, Studebakers Pontiacs Plymouths and of course a few Massive Chryslers. I particularly love the huge 70’s boats with the 4 doors and enormous bench seats. Muscle cars as they were called and muscle cars they were. It was amazing to my English boys eyes to see all of this and one of my favorite moments so far. They were all smashed and decayed of course but that only added somehow to the sense age and of history somehow, those cars were sure built with a lot of style, to me they ooze confidence says a lot about America at the time.

The young guy turned out to be Justin Kestler who had inherited the lot from his grandfather

“He’s the guy you saw with me earlier. His brother (I think he said) had started it but his house over there burned down … with him in it and so… here we are”  American Classic Car Graveyard Fort Hall Indan Res Highway 91 17.03.162016-03-18 16.32.33 copy

Justin, I had a feeling was a very special guy. I watched him dealing with an old guy and his son. They’d obviously found something they treasured and I could see they were bracing themselves to deal with him

“So how much for this piece then” said the old guy. There was some rusting piece of engine in the back of their big wheeled shiny red pick up

Justin, all quiet and thoughtful and then said “oh give me $40 for it”

The old guy was obviously flabbergasted

“Wha… what.. listen I tell you what, I’m gonna give you $50”

He also said he was gonna come back with something else for Justin. I was amazed I had I no idea what he’d just sold him. But he’d made that old guy very happy and I was sure that Justin knew exactly what it was and its value.

American Classic Car Graveyard Fort Hall Indan Res Highway 91 17.03.162016-03-18 16.30.28 copy

Justin wandered about. He seemed simple on the surface, in old overalls covered in grime rust and oil. But I noted he had energy and quick eyes. I’d built up my courage and asked if I could take the lettering off the hood of a Chrysler.

“It’s missing an E” I said

“Missing an E hmm” he said “ok sure”

I told him why I loved the Chryslers and I wondered if he had any old thunderbird Logos and if I saw one could I take it off. I told him I was happy to pay for it. He said he’d go and see if he could find one in his workshop

“But if you find one sure” he said

To cut a Long story short. I saw a mercury Logo and the pitch went up in my ears. I realized that Intuition as I’d been calling him and it is a him, is called Mercury. It was quite a moment stood still out there amongst all that glorious rusting history, revelations come on there own terms and in their own time. Mercury, yeah, it explained so much.

I managed to get it off and showed them to Justin

He said “Oh you can have them, it’s ok”

I was a little boy again, it was Christmas.

Then as I was just about to get back into the car something said

“One last look” so I walked a few steps along the fence and there looking at me was a 1967 Ford Thunderbird. I couldn’t believe it. I paused, should I ask? There was the Logo on the grill, right there.American Classic Car Graveyard Fort Hall Indan Res Highway 91 17.03.162016-03-18 16.22.18

“If you don’t ask you don’t get” He whispered

So I went back in feeling a little awkward, had a look, I managed to get the hood open, then Justin came over to look with me, checked the nuts on the back got a wrench took it off and gave it too me. I insisted on giving him something for it, it wasn’t much, he didn’t want anything, but every time I see it something good will flow to Justin from me.

As I was leaving I realized he was closing up and locked the gate behind us both. Talk about fortuitous. If I’d have gone on the Res road I would have completely missed all this

Back at Hummingbird I looked back to see him getting up into a beautiful gleaming cream and silver car. It was big and it looked powerful. I don’t know what he’s doing but he is doing something right, I had a feeling it was being generous and kind, those things have a tendency to flow back to a person don’t they.

From there it was south. I was absolutely shattered, I did pull of at a rest stop at one point one false move and of those huge Semi Truck -Liners would have smash me to pieces. As I switched the engine off I fell fast asleep sat right there, sat up. I am not sure how long it was but when I came too shadows from the western mountains were making there way up the sides of the eastern mountains. It’s a pity I was so tired at it’s another incredible drive between the majestic mountains down the valley leading southward in the sunlight glittering.

Salt Lake City 19.03.162016-03-19 20.12.13I was really happy to be here, have a rest then further south on the back roads tomorrow. No more rushing. I have time but I have been a little sir crazy all day. Not quite sure what to do with myself. Missing my girl I think but its good to miss people isn’t it. Up and off early tomorrow, a long drive south about 320 miles to Zion from here. Let’s see if there is power beyond the falls.

Oh yeah and “Tears of a clown” smokey robinson, right now its 1.20am, the perfect song, has been all day really.


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