Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Dumbing Down of Moab

Unfortunately, Moab is the location of an Easter tradition that most Moab residents either tolerate, tolerate with distaste, or outright hate. I am in the latter camp.
The event is known as the Moab Jeep Safari. It starts the week before Easter with thousands of jeeps, trailers and trucks and their idiot drivers arriving in town, and concludes on Easter Sunday with the same idiots gassing up their gas-guzzlers and leaving town. In between is an earth bound hell. Long lines at all the restaurants. Large, intellectually-challenged men roaming the streets of Moab looking for some cheap souvenir to take back to the kids at home whose college education savings were just blown on repairing the jeep. Fights at the bars. Non-street-legal vehicles cruising up and down Main Street. Lines at the gas pumps, whose prices just jumped 50 cents a gallon. The Bureau of Land Management brings in additional BLM Rangers since the Jeep Safarians spend many days ignoring established jeep roads. Grand County brings in deputy sheriffs from all over Utah to help enforce the law. The Moab Police Department makes sure no one takes any time off and everyone works overtime to enforce traffic, noise and liquor laws. The Utah State Patrol has extra officers in the area enforcing the regulations regarding mufflers, seat belts, DUI and DWI regulations. Check points are set up here and there to catch drinking drivers. The Park Service details extra rangers to Arches and Canyonlands to keep the idiots from driving where there are no roads within the parks. And many Moab residents try to leave town during the week.
The jeep guys are real proud of their rigs and spend lots of time fixing, repairing and talking about them. They congregate in groups according to what they drive. The various Jeep varities, the Toyota owners, the Suzuki Samurai owner, the Hummer owners all travel in packs. And then there are the home-built practicioners of this special art who start with an axle from here, a frame from there and an engine from the back yard. They are a special breed and have nothing but scorn for the individuals who would drive a factory-built vehicle. And the lowest of the low are the poor suckers who drive around in one of the rental jeeps with phone numbers and addresses painted on them.
We got so disgusted with jeepers after renting the guest house to them for three seasons, we were prepared to not rent at all for Easter week, and told our management company to only rent to persons without jeeps. In the three seasons we did rent to jeepers we had them work on an axle on the living room rug, bring sixteen guys for a house that sleeps 6 to 8, park their rigs in our neighbor's spaces, borrow tools, work on the jeeps in the street, party all night, invite their friends over for showers, and on and on. They were not good guests. Good Riddance.
These pictures were taken by Nancy on "Big Saturday" which is the Saturday before Easter Sunday. At nine AM on Big Saturday is the "Big Blast Off". At the center of town, at the intersection of Main and Center Streets, jeeps line up for miles in each direction. There are other locations for those going on other trails, but let us just say there are 10 points in and around town, each place with a mile long line of Jeeps, and they blast off at 9:00, each unit off to it's own jeep trail. They stay out all day and come back in the evening with sun-burnt faces hauling their broken rock crawlers. Easter Sunday morning, they line up early at the gas pumps, fill the many tanks, and then head out to Salt Lake, Los Angleles, Denver, Cincinatti, Oakland, Boise.....or wherever people go with maxed-out credit cards.


Anonymous said...

Quadruple your rental rates!

Judy said...

Geeze Louise! I can just feel you seething between your teeth as you wrote this latest from Moab. It sure makes attending an Easter mass pale in comparison. Judy