Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Along the Colorado River and Arches National Park

June 12 - Along the Colorado River and Arches National Park

Tonight we are on BLM land along the Colorado River. Thought it would be pretty rowdy
when a whole pack of bicylists rolled in but once their tents were set up - they crashed!

Finally - a hot, dry, sunny day with not a taste of snow. After pouring over possible ways to get to Arches National Park from Green River, UT, we chose to go across I-70 to Cisco and take Route 128 south along the Colorado River. We try to find Scenic Byways if we can and this one was particularly scenic. The land along
I-70 has that blasted look of desert with almost no greenery, lots of sage brush,
rabbits and probably a lot of snakes but I wasn't going looking for them. A sign on the highway said "Eagles in Highway". They must pick up the road kill but we didn't see any - eagles or road kill.

We sort of looked at each other when we turned down Route 128 because it was a small road leading off forever. On we drove and suddenly you turn a corner and there in the distance is a low, long line of red. Not sure what it is until you get closer and see that it is a wall of red rock, buttes, boulders, and finally greenery in a string along the Colorado River.

This is part of the west we came looking for. We stopped over and over to stand awestruck in front of a wall or canyon of red rock. We walked a ways into a canyon but didn't lose sight of the road. Figured it would be pretty embarrassing to get rescued as "Two tourists from Maine who were too dumb to find the road again". We watched the rafters put in on the river and saw some ride over the rapids. The river rides are a huge business in this part of the country. About every other shop we saw in Moab had something to do with rafting, pack trips, canyon trips, Jeep excursions or "rent a Hummer excursions".

The National Park Service visitor center at Arches National Park did a very good job on explaining the geology of what you would see up in Arches. School is out in the west and there were a lot more people around than we had anticipated. The campground at the top of Arches was already full. We took the main road and all the side roads up to the top of Arches National Park and just could not believe our eyes. No way to explain how vast this land is and how red the earth is, with arches, spires, knobs, and canyons. We walked up to some of the arches but didn't do as many as we wanted due to the heat and altitude.

A ranger took quite a bit of time with us and helped us plot our course from Arches to Canyonland top and bottom to Natural Bridge to Capitol Reef to Bryce to Zion to north rim of the Grand Canyon to south rim. He asked if were planning on a two week trip to do this!! Hopefully we will be able to camp in some of the national parks in Utah but since we don't' know where we will be when, hard to make reservations. Tonight we are on BLM lands on the Colorado River just north of Moab. We were going into Moab to a recommended restaurant for authentic Mexican food but too nice to just sit by the river and eat left over steak and salad.

4163 miles $1,692.49 in diesel, 370 gallons for overall 11.25 miles per gallon. Not that horrible considering all the mountain driving we have been doing plus the stopping constantly.

Tomorrow we head off to Canyonlands National Park. Weather is supposed to be high 80s and sunny.

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