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A conversation on Highway 89

By Merrill Ogden - | Jul 27, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a late-night walk with Archer. Archer is the dog who boards with us. He’s a Sheltie (officially, a Shetland sheepdog). He’s a likable sort and is good company. We don’t have too many disagreements.

You may be interested to know that I’ve been teaching Archer arithmetic. He’s been doing quite well with it.

Usually when I’m showing off his skills to people it goes like this: “Archer, what is 2 minus 2?” Archer looks at me, cocks his head; and then says nothing. I respond with “Correct!” Impressive, eh?

We were in Manti, Sanpete’s county seat, on our walk. It was a warm summer night. We sat down on the front steps of the county courthouse and relaxed for a while. From our elevated perch, we watched “the world” go by.

There was very little foot traffic. A few kids were out and there was another dog-walker. The Top Stop convenience store, not far away, is open 24 hours a day, so there was a little business going on there.

Every once in a while, a car or truck would go by. It was quite infrequent, so it was easy to play the “guess the color of the next car game” with Archer. Weirdly, he kept giving random guesses of black, white and gray. I was guessing all the colors of the rainbow, and he was winning with his dumb doggie guesses.

When a car came by, headed south, which looked like it was packed for a vacation, Archer looked up at me and posed a question. What I heard was, “Where do you think they’re going?”

This question made me think a little. I was suddenly reminded that the road we were looking at is U.S. Route 89. I know that 89 is not as storied and famous as Route 66, but it is a wonderful ribbon of highway that accesses many terrific places.

After thinking a moment, my answer to Archer was, “I bet they’re on their way to Bryce Canyon. Maybe they’re going as far as Richfield tonight.” His look to me told me that he agreed with my logic.

I researched on Wikipedia while we sat there and found out more information about our own famous road that runs through Sanpete. As it is now, the southern section of the highway runs 848 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona to the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

The northern section runs 404 miles from the northern entrance of Yellowstone in Montana, ending at the Canadian border.

At times, Highway 89 has been called the National Park Highway. It links up seven national parks. Prior to 1992, the highway went all the way from Mexico to Canada. National Geographic named it the “No 1 Driver’s Drive in the world.”

When Archer and I continued our walk, we ran into an old friend. She was out on her porch with her dog. Her dog ran out and greeted us. We ended up having a chat.

We talked about how great it was in Sanpete that we could run into people on walks and renew acquaintances. I mentioned that when we had visited Italy some years ago that it was very common for large numbers of people to be out and about on walks in the evening. Much of that is done in the public square.

Taking walks up and down the “Main Street” parts of Highway 89 in Sanpete towns could be similar. We would just have to be willing to leave our homes and televisions for a while to take a stroll with our neighbors.

I recommend that you have a visit with your dog if you have one. See what the opinion might be for more walks. Archer votes “Yes!” — Merrill

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