Storytime: UPS Truck

If you’re planning a trip to the desert southwest, binge watching Breaking Bad in the weeks before may not be the best plan.


My father and I found ourselves on House Rock Road, just short of the Utah/Arizona border, and about miles from Highway 89.  While House Rock Road is pretty decent, as far as dirt roads go, it was still rutted and washboarded, making the UPS truck a bit of a surprise.


We hadn’t seen any houses, just a small campground at the state line, and a white RV parked in the wash.  All the tires were inflated, nothing looked or smelled broken down.  Something about it was just wrong enough to shoot our veins full of adrenaline.  Thank the Breaking Bad for that, I suppose.


Curious, we approached the truck, growing more and more uneasy with each step.  Both of us were armed, standard procedure for us when venturing into the unknown.  Spooked, we were more concerned about what might be waiting for us in the truck, and less worried about how a broken down deliveryman would feel when approached by two men who could have been off the cover of a Soldiers of Fortune magazine.


Through the driver side window, we could see the keys still dangling in the ignition.  Anxiously we tested the back door, somehow certain a corpse waited on the other side.  A few packages, no dead people.  The scent of rotting flesh, real or imagined, led me to follow tire tracks to a wash, where it would have been so easy to cave the bank in over a dead guy.


We searched, and found no sign of a murder, grave, or lost and confused driver.  Still terrified, we decided to camp far away from House Rock Road, and in the evening, I called the local sheriff’s department to tell them about the truck, and provided the plate number.  They never called back, and for years, my father and I figured we had overreacted.


About three years later, a hiker found a body in the same general area.  According to the medical examiner, the body had probably been there for two and half to three years.  Maybe, just maybe, our fear was justified.

Lake Powell Rant

Lake Powell is a misnomer.

The word “lake” suggests something natural, a low point in the land where water collected.  Ducks swim, fish leap, reeds grow on the sides.  Perhaps trees grow on the shore.

Lake Powell is a reservoir.  Previous to the monstrous Glen Canyon Dam, the Colorado River flowed uninhibited through Glen Canyon on through the Grand Canyon.  Now much of Glen Canyon is submerged under the almost stagnant waters.  Tourists in houseboats distribute rafts of trash over wonders they could scarcely comprehend.

Along with the Anasazi ruins, the town of Hite was submerged.  To add insult to injury, the Hite Marina, named after the soggy village, is now rarely used due to the low water levels.

Perhaps most offensive of all, they named the reservoir after the one armed explorer, John Wesley Powell, who explored the river gorge now covered by the reservoir.  More insulting than naming a shopping mall after whatever was cut down to make room, one has to wonder what they were thinking when they chose a name.

Whether the Reservoir is and was truly necessary is yet to be seen.  The water and power it provides will hopefully become less essential as we move towards more efficient management of resources.  As silt fills the reservoir, and the zebra and quagga muscles clog the machinery, alternatives must be found.  But as long as the Reservoir remains, we can be certain people will be dragged around by speedboats, most too young to remember what used to be.  A canyon was sacrificed for water and power, and most who benefit are unaware.