Sunday, August 2, 2015

Canyonlands National Park

I was up early to get on the road again! For a few weeks now I've been debating stopping in Moab, Utah on my way to Colorado. I'd almost decided to just do it, then Mom and Dad and I were talking and they were telling me how hot it is in Moab and after the heat in Sisters and the heat yesterday I wanted no part of another hot night, especially when I wasn't sure where I could camp and I knew if I moved quickly I could get to Frisco, Coloradao which is at 9,000 feet and nice and cool! I left the Wal-Mart in Burley with plans to go to Fruita, CO for the night then on to Frisco tomorrow.

The desert scenery didn't change much through the rest of Idaho, however, once I crossed into Utah the hills started, little at first and then bigger! By the time was was on I-15 south approaching the suburbs of Salt Lake City there were huge mountains on the eastern side of the road! I never saw The Great Salt Lake, but the mountains were cool! Very arid still, but high and jagged!

One of the Utah liscene plates has Delicate Arch, in Arches NP, on it. I kept seeing the liscene plate and thinking, "I really should stop at Arches." Even though I thought I'd decided what I was doing, I was still debating it with myself. I'd checked the weather forecast for Moab last night and it was calling for highs in the 90s, lows in the upper 60s...

I stopped for fuel in Provo, Utah (the name rings a bell but I can't figure out why or what's there that I know.). While I was stopped I checked the weather in Moab again. They had a flash flood watch and the temps were lower...hmmm... I also looked up Moab on to see if there were any places that allowed overnight parking in case I couldn't find a campground. Sure enough, the City Market allows RVers to stay overnight!

Once I got off on US6 the scenery improved dramatically! We were now going over the big mountains to the east! As we climbed I noticed the clouds building and the temperature dropping! It barely hit 80! I'd pretty much decided that I was taking the side trip to Moab and the cooler temperatures helped seal the deal!

US6/US191 was a great drive! We went up and over the jagged mountains! There was lots to look at! It was definitely very "desert" with lots of sagebrush and scrubby stuff but it was pretty! It was about 150 miles to the turn off to Moab.

In my head I'd been going to Moab just to go to Arches NP, however, on the road today I saw a billboard for Moab that said "Two National Parks: Canyonlands and Arches. At a rest stop I googled Canyonlands. It wasn't quite as easy to get to as Arches, but if I was going down there I had to go to both!

I made a split second decision to go out to Canyonlands this afternoon, before I even came into Moab! It was 25 miles out the road, but I wanted to get there before the visitor center closed - if I was going there I was going to get my passport stamped!

The road was just amazing! You have to go up on the Mesa to see the canyons so the road went up up up! There are huge rock formations on all sides! Once at the top of the Mesa you still had several miles to drive before coming to the entrance station. Dead Horse State Park is also up there but I didn't stop - it cost $10 to go in & I didn't have enough time, this is the short tour!

I stopped at the visitor center and got my passport stamped, then walked out the the view of the canyon! WOW! It's amazing! So colorful and big! I walked along the rim of that canyon for a little ways, then decided to drive out to the campground to see if there were sites. The park is very big and you have to drive everywhere. I was hoping I could get a site at the campground the ride my bike. No such luck. Campground was full - they only have 12 sites.


I stopped at Green River Overlook and then went out to Grand View overlook. At Grand View there was a trail that went along the rim and I walked out that. It was a mile long and I didn't go to the end. The clouds were building and it looked like it was going to storm and I didn't want to get caught out in the rain.


By now it was after 5 and I decided I'd better head down and figure out where I was sleeping tonight. The town of Moab is very touristy - lots of shops and resteraunts, not nearly as nice as Sisters! I had to go all the way through town to get to the City Market, but they do in fact allow overnight parking!

I walked through town then went into the City Market for a few things before heading home! Almost all the tourists looked like they just stepped out of the L.L. Bean catalog! As soon as I got in the van it started raining! It's been raining all evening, and there's even been some thunder - loud booming thunder that echoes on all the rocks! It's very cool and comfortable too! I got incredibly lucky that my one day to come to Moab is the day that it's raining and cool.


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