Music: Because It's There by Michael Hedges

Mere words cannot do justice to the beautiful sites we’ve seen in Utah.  Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks have been four of the most spectacular we’ve seen so far.  The pictures, while better at portraying the beauty of these red rock wonderlands, cannot capture the magnitude of these places, nor the feeling they impart – a quiet awe.  No, words and pictures will not suffice; you really must see this for yourself.  

While we are unable to put to words the beauty of these places, there is something we would like to address: The French.  They are everywhere – climbing on arches, fording the streams, lounging at picnic tables and gathered en masse at every tourist destination in Utah – or so it seems.  Likely it’s due to a temporarily weakened US dollar, but Europe is loving America right now, and The French are loving red rocks. 

Some are touring on Harleys, their French colors flying from flag mounts.  Most have taken to tour buses – stopping at each overlook in groups of 30 or more to get a photo and a nicotine fix before heading to the next stop.  Indeed, more than once we spied a waft of smoke coming from an overlook and proclaimed, “The French are here!” before seeing the tour bus or the people themselves. The smoking is a stereotype, but well deserved from what we’ve witnessed.  Of course, it’s much more popular in Europe than it is here, ever since the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. 

Another thing we observed about The French – they love their scarves!  True, it’s been chilly and a bit rainy the last several days, but silk scarves?  Not for only the women, but the men.  They have scarves to wear with coats, and when the coats come off, there are different scarves underneath.  They are patterned, brightly-colored, and completely non-sensible for hiking in the desert.  It’s a fashion statement that not only sets them apart from the other tourists, but coupled with the fact that The French seem to prefer bright red footwear, makes them very amusing as Harley riders.  We just hope they never encounter a real motorcycle gang.  Mon dieu.

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