Nicholas Quirke was chastened on 17th December. This was a day that started well for him with an early morning FaceTime chat with his family who were collected for a pre-Christmas celebration at his sister Kate’s.  He was very excited and kept stepping out of his motel room, in his pyjamas, to show them the landscape of Moab. Nicholas was also very smug that nothing really bad or disruptive to his Odyssey had occurred. It was another beautiful day and he was looking forward to exploring the amazing scenery  and when the Inca Inn motel owner suggested visiting a neighbouring state park Goblin Valley, although a diversion of about 60 miles, it seemed appealing.  Nicholas took the correct turning and immediately began to feel a little uncomfortable, these strange, isolated and bizarre towering shapes began to terrify him. This sense of dread was not helped by the fact that he seemed to be the only one on another road stretching into infinity. Nicholas made it to the park and the sight that greeted him was extraordinary. It was another photo opportunity. Did he mean to close the car door? Was it in his plan to leave the car keys and everything in there? What strange karma caused the car door to lock. The panic and frustration were momentary as the rare sight of a vehicle appeared on the horizon and he flagged it down. It was an elderly couple who provided him with rations and promised to ask the ‘Gatekeeper’ to call a garage and get someone out. After about 20 minutes he noticed a building about half a mile away and decided to walk to it and see if this was the gate. It was, and a good job too as the ‘Gatekeeper’ had not called anyone; he could have been there all day! Good news was a 45 minute wait, the bad news was $150, the most expensive diversion he had made. The surreal landscape he was in had been forged by the erosion of the sea which had once existed and he surmised it was this dry, underwater scene that lay at the bottom of his disquiet. As he stared at the towering shapes it occurred to him that it was no surprise that ‘New York’ and its skyscrapers happened. These natural occurring landscapes dwarfed mankind and it made sense that these should be recreated by man.  Dave from Rabbitbrush Repairs turned up in a truck and saved the day. Nicholas decided not to go into the park and set off instead for Salt Lake City where he was hoping to meet David Paris. Once again the landscape changed the further north he got till ultimately it turned into miles and miles of Silicone Valley. The day ended on better note with Nicholas finally managing to get his phone to work and deferring David till the next day also meant that he could watch a live televised performance of the Musical ‘A Christmas Story’ which he had heard about on the Broadway Radio Station. It was fun and seemed a remarkable achievement as it was shot on a Hollywood back lot in real-time moving from exterior to interior and from scene to scene. A festive note to end the day



  1. Well, you have managed to get a long way without this kind of thing happening, but it couldn’t have been in a more interesting place! It was lovely to speak to you yesterday. You were missed xx

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