Fool's Gold: Mighty Public Works Division
Classical Glass [updated]

My Mind's Still on Vacation (but my Weblog's Workin' Overtime)

Hello, all.  This Fool has now returned from one of the Best Family Vacations Ever.  Because that Vacation was computer-free, the return has entailed sifting through and reading or deleting a couple of hundred accumulated e-mail messages, sifting through and (mostly) not reading several hundred weblog posts accumulated in the RSS feed, identifying all the new court decisions that came down while my back was turned that will need to be digested and discussed at the Other Weblog and, of course, the necessity of preparing my report to the class on What I Did on the aforementioned Vacation.

Here is an inventory of places that we visited:

Incidental notes:

  • The "Anasazi" are disappearing.  More accurately, the use of the term "Anasazi" for the peoples who constructed and lived in the cliff and mesa-top dwellings at Mesa Verde and various other locations in the Four Corners region is on the wane.  It is now generally accepted that the builders of the cliff dwellings in the late 12th and early 13th centuries are the forebears of the various Pueblo peoples of today.  It has also been well-accepted for a long time that the earlier peoples are not the forebears of the Navajo, who only entered the area several hundred years later.  "Anasazi" is a term from the Navajo language referring to those who built the by-then-long-abandoned dwellings that the Navajo found when they arrived.  The term is variously translated as "ancient ones," "enemy ancestors," or simply "people we don't know."  Understandably, the Pueblo peoples of today are not all that taken with having their ancestors referred to by a name -- and a none too flattering one, really -- drawn from someone else's language.  "Ancestral Pueblo" and "ancient Pueblo" are therefore increasingly favored as the appropriate description, at least until a term drawn from a contemporary Pueblo language gains general acceptance.  Somewhat more on the subject here (scroll down), as well as here.
    • "Anasazi" is unlikely to disappear altogether anytime soon, I suspect, as the sound of it maintains a compelling air of mysteriousness that we non-indigenous sorts of European origin, and those who market to us, find hard to resist.
  • If you find yourself in the vicinity of Moab, Utah, and would like a very comfortable place to stay, drive 14 miles out of town up the Colorado River to Red Cliffs Lodge.  The Lodge is located at a bend in the river, surrounded by the looming red rock from which it takes its name.  The accommodations are best described unpretentiously plush.
    • The Castle Creek Winery is located on site, producing wines (some of which incorporate not only Moab-grown grapes but also grapes drawn from the seemingly even more unlikely source of southern Arizona) that while not spectacular are certainly pleasant and eminently drinkable.
    • Proof that there can be no true escape from those omnipresent weblogs, even in the Wilds of Utah: our room at Red Cliffs Lodge included a copy of the latest [May/June 2005] issue of American Cowboy magazine, the cover of which touts an article by none other than uberkulturblogger Terry Teachout.
  • For the night before spending our very full day in Mesa Verde, we stayed inside the Park at the Far View Motor Lodge, a study in contrasts.  The room (which had heat -- not needed, with daytime temperature in the 90s -- but no cooling equipment) was deeply mediocre, suited to a mid- to low-level Best Western, with only its location inside the Park (with accompanying spectacular views) to recommend it.  On the other hand, the restaurant at the lodge -- the Metate Room -- is simply tremendous, providing easily the best meal of the entire trip: creative Southwest cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients, a seriously interesting wine list, attention to detail throughout, and the opportunity to Commune with the Sublime by taking in those views until the sun went down.
    • What's a metateIt's "[a] flat or slightly concave stone base on which grain, nuts and seeds were ground using the smaller mano."  Ancestral Pueblo sites are full of them.
    • What did we drink with dinner?  A fine wine from Colorado, of course: the very tasty 2003 Merlot (unfiltered) from the nearby Sutcliffe Vineyards.  A profile of proprietor John Sutcliffe is available here.
  • Pictures?  I can't promise any.  We are still operating in the old-fangled world of chemical-based photography, so I am waiting to see what will develop.  If there is anything really compelling, perhaps I will post a scan.

And now, back to the workaday world. . . .


David Giacalone

I'm glad to hear you had such a good time, George -- good enough to make the pain of returning worthwhile. As usual, I'm exhausted just reading your itinerary.

I wonder what Tony Hillerman says about the Anasazi terminology.

If you need a reason for not staying abreast of everybody's weblog, Joho the Blog gives a good, all-purpose, permanent excuse.

Rick Coencas

First of all, welcome back.

On my trip to southern Utah last year, I too was more than pleasantly surprised by the quality of dining to be found. Especially the town of Springdale, just outside Zion National Park, offered some very fine restaurants, but also in smaller, more out of the way spots like Torrey, near Capitol Reef, we found some very excellent dining. The emphasis was definitely on southwest cuisine, but I'd have to call it haute southwest.

Thanks for the excellent trip report. We are still expecting pictures.


I wonder what Tony Hillerman says about the Anasazi terminology.

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