C’Mon Utah

Editor’s note: One of the best ways to produce more content is to have other people produce content. The talented and companionable Lurlynn Lumpkin found herself on special assignment with your one and only Podunk, and lived to tell the tale. Enjoy!

I’m delighted to fulfill my longstanding dream of being a guest blogger, but I’m especially thrilled to do so here on my favorite blog. The fabulous Podunk and I recently shared travels to a culturally unique destination. And from unique travels come adventures. And from adventures come shenanigans. With any luck, from shenanigans come sponsors.

You may have heard the saying “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may be in Utah.” Partial credit to those readers who thought that was a reference to Utah’s alcohol laws. It actually means coffee. Because rural Utah has low expectations for its coffee provisions. 

Journey with us if you will to central Utah in July. It’s hot. Actually, very hot. All day and all night, it’s hot. There’s not a lot of sleep for those on special assignment, sleeping in tents near a generator whose sole purpose in life is to keep a refrigerated truck living up to its name. Which means those not actually sleeping in their hot, noisy sleeping area need a sufficient caffeine intake to make it through the day.

Morning 1, we did the obvious thing: Googleator, find coffee near me. Reader, you may not be surprised that the results yielded no Starbucks for many, many miles. But you’d probably be surprised at the dismal results nonetheless. Oh, did I mention it’s also Sunday?

We took the next logical step after that. We entered survival mode and sought out a gas station. Podunk and I and our throwback buddy, Loafie, decide gas stations are always sure locations for coffee. At the stop sign on Main Street, we make a crucial decision: left. We travel the ghostly empty streets and end up at the Chevron. We pounce optimistically through the door to find a classic gas station coffee machine dispensing a mountain-themed blend of Snow brand coffee. What’s a person to do but fill up a styrofoam cup? 

But wait! As I turn back towards the front, my heart leaps. What is this!? A drive up window? And bottles of flavored syrup! Eureka! A coffee bar! I joyously approach the would-be barista behind the adjoining counter and ask if they’re making coffee this morning. “That’s for soda,” she grunts grumpily. Alas, it’s but a mirage. A non-caffeinated tease. A reminder that tomorrow has arrived and we’re in Utah. More dejected now than when we entered, I leave her with my money and depart with shame. The coffee suffices for the day but leaves me longing. 

The following day, we try our hand at the North Chevron gas station, situated curiously close to the original on Main but sold to us by locals as the place in town. This one forgoes the mountains for standard Farmer Brother’s coffee. While we do score an outstanding Grateful Dead sun hat for the Iron Chef, we ourselves are again rewarded with an acid belly and ensuing heartburn from the Breakfast Blend. I’d begun to accept my fate and prepare myself for a lengthy recuperation period later. 

Podunk though, she’s scrappy and seizes the opportunity to begin rating available Utah coffee. I double down on my Tums intake, accept the challenge, and pray Juan Valdez isn’t precluded from riding his donkey to the Beehive State. More importantly, on a subsequent daily outing, Podunk turns right at the stop sign and discovers the true interstate oasis on the south side of town. No mirage this time. In all its yellow glory, a Love’s ❤️ gas station rises from the desert floor. Inside, a custom coffee dispenser that uses words like premium and roast.

How would you like your bright yellow cup to runneth over? With cold cream? Over ice? Dark roast? Medium? Very hot? Cold brewed? Nitro? With a few bars hummed from Kiss an Angel Good Morning? You can have it all.

From that point forward, our afternoons were salvaged. Not only had we found the best coffee place in town, but we had numerous variations of it to validate our vote. We had it all.

Here’s the thing. If you’re looking for a Magnavox cassette adapter, you’ll find it for $5 in this town. But if you’re looking for a cup of coffee that can pump your veins full of smooth caffeine and bold flavor, keep driving. There are other states just a few hundred deserted miles away. 

Ratings

Main Street Chevron Snow Mountain Blend: 2/3 ain’t bad, unless we’re rating cups of coffee in which case it’s only a 66% and no one gets awards for that.

North Chevron Farmer’s Brothers Breakfast Blend: I’m pretty sure the blend in this breakfast is composed of coffee beans, styrofoam cups, leather boots, and discarded hopes then brewed with water from a mud puddle.

Love’s Nitro: 4.5/5 before 3 in the afternoon. After that you’re asking to lie awake buzzing along with the generator which causes rating to drop to 3.14159/5.

Love’s Java Amore House Mild: I like coffee. Hot coffee. Cold coffee. Coffee with ice. Coffee with cream. I like coffee.

Love’s Java Amore Brazilian Rich, served over ice: 10/10. Did I mention it was hot there? It was very hot. Iced coffee with cold cream? Sí, amore.

Sometimes life imitates art. Sometimes life equals coffee and art equals Picasso’s later years. And when it does, you better bring this travel guide with you for survival. Quoth the guest blogger, Fillmore.

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