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Tour of Utah postcard: Green River, Utah

August 4, 2013
Rays in Green River, Utah

Rays in Green River, Utah

This year the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah starts in the southern part of the state in Brian Head at 9,800 feet (2,987 meters) elevation, near the town of Cedar City. It’s a 576 mile drive from Denver, Colorado so I decided to break the drive up into two segments with an overnight in Green River, Utah, a town of about 1,000 residents just west of Moab off I-70 and along the river of the same name.

A freelance writer’s budget means lodgings usually throw me back to the 1970’s as soon as I twist the door knob and walk into my room. Tonight it’s the Sleepy Hollow Motel. The proprietor, a man in his 50’s of average height with thinning hair, has just one arm. He uses the counter together with his hip as a second hand to hold the registration slip in place while he peels off my yellow copy.

It’s too late to check out Green River State Park. The silty river meanders in S curves through Canyonlands National Park at times 1,000 feet (305 meters) below the canyon edge. Any river that runs through red and orange sandstone canyons called Desolation, Labyrinth, Stillwater, and Cataract merits a visit.

During a 26 minute walk around downtown Green River, Utah I lean back to scratch behind my knee where two mosquito bites are swelling. I pass the town library with a door flanked by flower pots dripping fuchsia petunias and make way for one boy on a bike and a (likely) sister and brother on rollerblades – the pre-teen girl hugging the sidewalk. Laughter floats away from double-wide homes. The local restaurant scene past and present introduces itself to me: Ben’s (sign only) Café, Frank’s (no more) Pizza, a coffee shop with tables and chairs untethered on a porch, and the best place in town to eat because the most cars line the street in front of it – Ray’s Tavern, “The Place for Everyone.”

Rays in Green River, Utah

Rays in Green River, Utah

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