When we are driving from California to Utah in the summer, we often taken the route through Yosemite NP with an overnight in Tonopah, NV.  We travel through a lot of territory that is pretty desolate.  Before the first time driving this route, I googled up the names of the small towns I saw on the map and asked for places to dine and stayover.  I got nothing.  After passing through them, I realized why.  These are really small, nowhere places.  Maybe they have a gas station/convenience store, maybe not.

So we’ve taken to packing a lunch and picnicking along the way.  We’ve eaten in Yosemite NP a couple of times but often it is too early for lunch when we are there.  This time we decided we would find a table in a park maybe in Benton Hot Springs or its sister city Benton.  The sign as you come into Benton Hot Springs says population 13 1/2.  There was no picnic table.  But the town of Benton boasts 279 people and actually has a little park.  A sad little park.  We stopped and had our lunch there.  We saw no people.

Now what does this have to do with hot dogs?  John and I went out for hot dogs before we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean part II.  (which I enjoyed – Johnny Depp, what more can I say?)  There is a place that we’ve been eyeing called The Dogfather’s.   It’s kind of a cute name and an occasional hot dog won’t kill us.  (hopefully)  We have a conversation with the guy behind the counter because he pegs us as non-Utahans from the getgo.  He admits that he is originally from California as well.  So we play the “where are you from”  game.  He mentions that he comes from near Bishop, CA.  “Oh,” we say, “yesterday we were near there are on our way to St. George.”  “Actually, I’m from Benton,” he says. 

What are the odds that we’d meet someone from a town that has a population of only 279?  While we were sitting in Benton the day before, we wondered why anyone would live there.  There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of jobs.  It’s ramshackle and depressing. I guess you’d only be there if you’re parents happened to have landed there.  And then like the guy at Dogfather’s you’d find a way out.

BTW -  the hot dogs were bland an unappealing.

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