A Utah Thanksgiving: Pickles, Duke and the Outlaw Café

It’s 10:30 (MST) on Thanksgiving evening, and Lana and I just returned from seeing the new movie, I Walk the Line, a biopic of Johnny Cash. We aren’t sure exactly when this movie opened—last weekend, maybe?—but it was packed. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who thought a Thanksgiving movie night was a good idea.

Lana was still full from our Thanksgiving feast (which we enjoyed with a group of folks from her church) but I decided to indulge in popcorn and cherry Coke. While in the concession line, we noticed the menu: popcorn, candy, nachos, pickles.


Is it just us, or is a pickle that least likely movie snack you can think of? Popcorn? Check. Junior Mints? Check. Chilled, garlicky, preserved cucumbers? Not so much. But the guy two people in front of us actually ordered one, so apparently, it’s popular movie food in Utah. In Provo, anyway. (We’re assuming this item wouldn’t be on the menu if this is the only guy purchasing them.)

I arrived in Salt Lake City late Monday night—sadly, my luggage did not. Lana greeted me at baggage claim, where we left information with the nice lady who deals with lost luggage, then headed to Denny’s for a midnight snack (for me, anyway—it was only 10 here, but literally midnight where I came from).

Tuesday, Lana went to work while I slept in; later, we took a drive into Provo Canyon—looked for Robert Redford at Sundance Resort (no sightings). We drove north to Salt Lake City again—went in search of the actual lake (which we found, but right at dusk, so not much to look at). We found our way to our ultimate destination: the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble in the city, where former President Jimmy Carter was doing a book signing. We naively hadn’t anticipated the long lines that wound around the block to await entry into the bookstore, but quickly decided that going to dinner was probably a more useful endeavor than finding the end of the queue. So instead of meeting Mr. Carter, we enjoyed a delicious meal at Mazza, a Greek restaurant a few blocks away. (When we finally arrived home, so had my luggage. Woohoo!)

Wednesday, we headed south to Moab, but only made it as far Wellington, where we met Duke at the Outlaw Café. We ordered lunch and asked the waitress about Nine Mile Canyon, which was close by, and were referred to Duke, who sat at a nearby table, sipping coffee while his daughter finished up her meal. A self-proclaimed “fount of useless information,” Duke at first joked that he wouldn’t advise a trip back there if we valued our tires, but he and his daughter agreed that it would be a more worthwhile trip than a visit to Canyonlands, which was our original destination. (That or Arches National Park.)

On Duke’s recommendation—and with his business card in hand, should we break down and need to be rescued—we decided to take a chance on the dirt roads of the 40+-mile so-called Nine Mile Canyon. (It was a nice gesture, but we did not end up needing his assistance, which is a good thing as we had no cell reception for most of our drive.)

So now it’s after 11:00 on Thanksgiving evening, and Lana is reading the Entertainment Weekly article about the movie we just saw, and I’m typing to the accompaniment of Johnny Cash in the CD drive, and we’re still figuring out what tomorrow holds.

Note: It is now Friday around 1:15 p.m. (MST), and so far, this day has held a lazy morning at Lana’s place, and a fruitless search for an open library at which to post this blog entry—both here and at L’s blog. Apparently, library employees in Utah get to enjoy Thanksgiving Friday as a holiday, as the three we visited, in Springville, Spanish Fork and Provo, are all closed until tomorrow. So here we are at a Kinko’s in Provo, paying per minute to use the computer. And we’re soon off to find lunch and explore Park City. My Utah sojourn is coming to a rapid close…more once I’m back in Pennsylvania!

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