Sunday, June 15, 2014

US Hwy 191 — Detour: Four Corners USA

Approaching the Arizona-Utah border on US191 north, I noticed that "Four Corners USA" -- where AZ-UT-CO-NM meet at a geographical point -- was only 30 miles to the east. I couldn't remember if I'd actually been there before on one of my many cross-country trips, but I knew that Happy certainly hadn't and thought it could be a fun photo-op for her story. So, I decided to make the detour.

I should have known better the moment I pulled up to the entrance gate. But, you can't always judge a book by its cover, and the many people on site who paid $5 to get in couldn't all be wrong, right?

I parked my rig, woke up my dog and we walked to the monument. Right away I knew my plan was shredded. Happy's photo op at the four-corners point in space became a photo in front of the sign prohibiting dogs. In her lexicon of facial expressions, this one means "You woke me up for this?"

Simply for purposes of journalistic thoroughness, I took a photo of the point while an anonymous family -- one of dozens waiting in line for their turn -- posed to be photographed. Simply for purposes of exploration thoroughness, I looked around and realized the whole thing is really just a trinket bazaar, with literally dozens of stalls -- all with the same stuff -- arranged around all four corners.

The crown jewel of the establishment is the closed restroom, with emphasis on the word "still" in the explanation. Come back in a year -- or a decade -- and I'll bet nothing will have changed.

I can't say that "Four Corners USA" is the worst tourist trap I've ever been to -- I've been to so many around the world -- but I can report it is at least in the top ten. Still, it's a unique geographic point in the country, and probably can make a claim to be somehow unique in the world.

Something I've learned in all my exploration: If you don't go in, you can't find out. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

If you're a maphead, like me, the Four Corners has significance. The first time I was there, only a geological marker in a cement slab marked the spot at the end of an unpaved road. too bad about all the trinkets.