Fear and Usury in Moab

There’s a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between Grand Junction, Colorado, and Green River, Utah. If you enter that stretch of highway and haven’t gassed up, this is where you might find yourself at the mercy of Papa Joe.

Papa Joe's Stop & Go
Location. Location. Location.

Papa Joe’s Stop & Go is a gas station in Crescent Junction, Utah. It’s the point where you would turn south if you were heading to Moab. It’s what I was doing last Sunday with my family. And we were rather low on gas.

I probably could have made it the 30 miles to Moab, but just to be sure I thought I’d visit Papa Joe. And besides, we wanted to spend a couple of hours in Arches National Park before going into town. We would have been pushing our luck.

Papa Joe was selling gas for $4.799 US per gallon.

Other parts of the US are already seeing prices this high. You folks in Great Britain and elsewhere are already used to paying upwards of $8 per gallon. Understand that this is our precious subsidized American gas, and I’m certain it’s the most I’ve ever paid.

Out in front of Papa Joe’s is this replica of The Scooby Gang’s Mystery Machine, which is not relevant to this story except for the fact that the windows are painted over and the rear tire is flat. It looks like this van hasn’t moved in years.

Papa Joe's Mystery Machine
Rut Ro

This is a part of the country where life-sized concrete dinosaurs are typically used to lure tourists off the highways to see roadside attractions. Papa Joe knows what are the next dinosaurs.

With a couple gallons of gouge-and-go gas, we visited Arches, went on a short hike, and then headed into Moab. Sadly, it was not our destination. We were just passing through. We didn’t even have bikes.

We topped off the tank at a gas station in town for a full dollar less per gallon — right next to Poison Spider Bicycles, which has this amazing mural:

Poison Spider Bicycles Mural
Click for the full effect

With Moab’s Mars-like landscape as the setting, a giant spider is chasing terrified cyclists past sandstone spires.

And perhaps it was my recent transaction with Papa Joe that made me almost immediately re-imagine this mural with a different monster. In my version the cyclist has nothing to fear.

Gas Tank Monster vs. Cyclist

Yes, I doodled that. You want the original? Make an offer.

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