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Third Plural Wife? Shoulder Work; The Kiss; Mars; “Wuss”; Two Feet Away; A Roadside Maiden

We have been in Utah, which has a somewhat checkered history with regard to polygamy (actually polygyny, since only Mormon males were allowed to have multiple spouses). I thought that the male pioneers who came to this unforgiving land might have had a practical reason for wanting several wives (more helping hands, more kids to run their farms, etc… I won’t get into the “more fun” part, because there are too many heavy items near to hand that My Lovely Bride might sling my way.) As it turns out, it was actually a religious interpretation by LDS church leadership, who made up most of the male side of the polygamy equation. Its heyday was from the 1850s until 1890, when the church repealed the practice under pressure from the US government. At its peak, only 20-25% of the LDS adult population were members of polygamous households. Polygamy was brought to mind when we passed this historic homestead in Moab. On the National Register of Historic Places, this log cabin was built by the first bishop of Moab, Randolph Stewart, for his “third plural wife”, Marietta, about 1881. It is not known whether Marietta was lodged in these quarters either happily or for a long period, but it’s not exactly what one would call a love nest, even in the rugged pioneer days of the 19thCentury…  

Perhaps as a result of our brief discussion on “plural wives” (which may have struck a sour note with My Lovely Singular Bride), as we were driving down the road, I swear I heard her tell me that (1) I needed to get in better shape; (2) to stop the car now and pull over; and (3) to “assume the position and drop and give me 20”… she claims to have “no recollection” of such a conversation, but there I was…  

When I glanced up and saw these skid marks: I wasn’t too sure about what was around this steeply diving bend in the road, but figured since Suzanne was driving, she could handle it.  

Rodin didn’t carve these rocks, but they reminded me of The Kiss nevertheless. The top of the one on the right also reminds me of Donald Trump’s comb-over… 

For miles and miles in between small towns like Blanding, Bluff, and Monument Valley, Utah, you could look out the window and not see a single house, tree, blade of grass or animal. Except for a few scattered shrubs, the landscape was like what you might expect to find on Mars… 

We passed a couple on bikes, pedaling very slowly up a steep 8% grade past a small dam on the San Juan River. The guy had a trailer behind his bike with a big dog in it and their packs. We must have been 20 miles from the nearest town and the scorching sun had temps up to 100F. I told My Lovely Bride, “As much as I love bicycling, I don’t want to pop out of the coach and join them…” “Wuss…” 

These road workers trimming what serves for grass around here were very close to becoming traffic hazards. Why weren’t they wearing orange vests? 

We finally topped a rise and saw Monument Valley spread out majestically before us… it was a surreal moment, especially with My Lovely Bride’s feet silhouetted in the foreground… What a way to see the country!  

Neither of us had ever before seen Monument Valley, except in John Wayne movies or travel books. We checked into our campground, and that’s The Coach in the foreground, with a nice view out into the valley! 

We took a drive and paid our fee at the Navajo Nation Tribal Park entrance for the 17 mile self-guided road tour… and soon found that you almost need a four wheel drive or mountain bike to safely manage the “road” which is mostly a very uneven rock and dirt surface. After a half hour (about 4 miles) we admitted defeat and turned around, having seen all we needed of the monuments. The rest of the tour wasn’t worth potential damage to our car… this was the best (and only flat) part of the road. 

There was one lovely maiden sitting on a rock that I invited back to The Coach for a glass of wine… and she accepted… it was my lucky day! 

This large hunk of sandstone is called (what else?) The Right Mitten. 

Back at the ranch (actually, our campground), we met charming and fun new neighbors, Nick and Barbara. Nick is a former pilot (naval aviator in A-4, A-7 and F-18 jets and later commercially at Continental Airlines) and Barbara was a teacher. Their son served in the Marines and their daughter is a Navy F-18 instructor pilot. We had a lot of similar experiences in the Navy and traveling around the world for Uncle Sam. They have been full-timing in their beautiful RV for two years. We traded lots of sea stories and laughs with them, and hope they will visit us in The Villages some day. 

1 Comment

  • Jennifer
    Posted June 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Interesting photos…Those rocks do look like the
    "kiss"..It looks hot out there!


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