Days 3 & 4: To Moab and Arches National Park

Yesterday was spent driving from just west of Denver (Central City) to Moab, Utah.  The drive over I-70 was very nice, especially the Glenwood Canyon section which has got to be one of the true marvels of the interstate highway system.  The last time I took this route was on a trip to the Grand Canyon, 20 years ago, and it was at night so we didn’t get to see the amazing views.  I’m working on time-lapse videos of my trip and I’m hoping that these come out as well as I have envisioned – we’ll see…

Taking the advice of the campground staff in Denver I diverted from the GPS directions and instead took UT-128 off of I-70 down to Moab.  This route is rated as one of America’s scenic byways and it did not disappoint.  It follows the Colorado River through a series of canyons and the views are amazing!  On reaching Moab I made camp and just relaxed for the evening – after three days on the road, I was beat!

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This morning I headed into Arches National Park, which is less than 10 miles north of Moab.  I planned to see lots of arches – but didn’t see as many as I’d have liked.  The hike out to Delicate Arch – the picture above – was about a 2 hour round trip or 3 miles.  At least it was only uphill one direction;-)

After that the next stop on the route was Sand Dune and Broken Arches.  I saw Sand Dune, but after reaching what I thought would be Broken Arch – the sign said “Trail Continues thru Arch”.  So I continued on for about another half hour – and nothing, no signs, no people, just rocks and sand and cute little lizards.  Now it could have been right around the next bend, but I was hot and thirsty and tired, so I bailed and headed back to the car.

By this time it was about 3:30 and I’d had enough of the sun – according to my old fashioned thermometer I have with me it was at least 100 degrees.  So I headed back to camp, took a shower, and decided I wasn’t going to sit around camp and cook in the heat again (even if it is only 90 in Moab).  I had seen signs for the Moab Brewery and decided a cold hand-crafted brew sounded perfect.  I tried two, their IPA and Deraileur – both were great, along with a delicious Smoked salmon salad.  Then it was back to camp to do a little last minute research for tomorrow – Canyonlands National Park.

Days 1 & 2: From home to Nebraska and Colorado

So I was planning to leave home at 7am on Saturday – a little ambitious given that I had a few things to get ready.  8 o’clock would have been fine as well.  In any case as I was loading up – I never had a chance to fit-check everything – I realized that my telescope case takes up way too much space.  In the end, I ended up pulling the passenger seat as I did on my 2006 road trip.  Oh well, I was on the road at 9:30.

Programmed my GPS to take the shortest route – which is not the quickest as it literally takes the shortest mileage route.  This is actually kind of nice as you end up taking the smaller state highways and it’s a bit more scenic.  The downside is of course it’s slower – but the GPS showed only an hour difference, what the heck!  Well, there are also some issues with construction and detours…  That extra hour was turning into about two hours – given my late departure this was making for a long day.

Somewhere in southwestern MN just above the IA border I decided to go back to the fastest route.  This put me on I-29 down to Omaha and the I-76 over to Doniphan where I was spending the night.  Maybe not as scenic, but better none the less.  I got to my campground a little after 7pm.  Got setup, made dinner and crashed.

Sunday morning I was on the road again about 9:30 and arrived at my campground near Golden, CO a little after 4pm MT – another long day but at least I have the extra hour of sunlight to work with.  Speaking of, time to go make some dinner!

On to Utah tomorrow!