It would seem near impossible to drive into and over the terrain of eastern Utah without pondering big questions about life and perspective.
Here is where 300 million years of geological thrust and erosion has left in its wake a vast maze of monstrous walls and buttes, of mesas, gorges and towering rocks, all cast in red, and standing as awe-inspiring monuments to nature and time.
Three hundred million years. It does make one think.
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Which is probably why, near sunset Monday — one day before the World Series — tourists poised with their cameras at Arches National Park, waiting for just the right light, seem a tad annoyed at two guys with blue flags flapping from their gaudy car saying, um, ’scuse us, but would you mind telling us who you’re rooting for in the series?
But, hey, c’mon, folks, talk about not having perspective! It’s not like you can’t come see these rocks again. Where’re they going? But the Royals in the Series? It’s to-mor-row!
So we find Scott Adams, 63, a retired teacher up from Florida, who reluctantly agreed to talk about how, really, he’s a White Sox fan, because he grew up in Chicago. But he’d root for the Royals because of the American League tie. Then he half-heartedly propped our too-small Royals cap on his head and gave a weak, “Go Royals.” Rah.
All sort of irritation rises from another couple, older and from LA. The guy’s got his tripod all set up, waiting to click a photo of famed Balanced Rock. Sun’s casting just the right light.
“He’s trying to take pictures,” his wife says, although he actually seems half interested in discussing the series. He loves the way the Royals have been playing and feels like he wants to cheer them on. But even though he’s a Dodgers fan, he’s also from California, which makes him think he should root for the Giants.
“I’m torn,” he concedes.
His wife? Not torn. Getting more and more irked and refuses to offer their names.
“We’re just trying to take a picture,” she reasserts.
A couple from Delaware? Washington Nationals and Baltimore. Once they were eliminated, faint interest.
“Why don’t you ask me?” says a woman nearby. She’s Linda Young, 69, a native New Yorker who’s a retired museum consultant and now lives in Glen Arbor, Mich.
“I would really like the New York Yankees,” she says. “My daughter, when she was in high school, (she was in) the same school as Derek Jeter.”
If not the Yankees, then Detroit.
If not Detroit, “I have to say the Royals,” she said
Honestly, she hasn’t watched the games; she doesn’t know any of the players’ names; she hasn’t even gotten any sense of how they play. What they are is closer to Michigan. And, from Young’s observation on her trip out west, she’s just been seeing tons of people with Kansas City hats and flags on cars.
“Clearly,” she said, “this part of the world must really be rooting for Kansas City.” She would, too.
Thank you, Linda Young. Thank you for having such fine perspective.
Think of it as an epic journey, as an odyssey, as a Royals road trip halfway across the country to seek out the devotion that now belongs to the boys from Kansas City.
We in Kansas City have always loved our Royals. But now, say the sports pundits, so does the rest of the nation.
This scrappy, sliding, bunting, running team — ball players who tip their caps in admiration of one another, slap high-fives like they smack doubles and buy drinks for their beloved fans — has captured the heart of America.
But how much do people really love the Royals? How much do they actually know about our boys in blue?
Such are the questions that prompted The Kansas City Star, on Sunday, to send two of its own — reporter Eric Adler and videographer Monty Davis — on the road, 2,200 miles to San Francisco, in the most conspicuous of Royals cars.
Follow them at kansascity.com or on Twitter at #royalsodyssey. Feel free to contact the reporters on Twitter through @eadler or @montydaviskc.