2015: Moab, Utah

Arches National Park

April 13

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Next destination: Moab, Utah, gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. But before we had any more fun, there was business to take care of. Thanks to Google Earth, we found a do-it-yourself car wash in Moab with stalls that appeared big enough for Behemoth. We pulled into a side street a few blocks away and unhitched the car, then I drove to the car wash to check it out. Sure enough, a winner! Mike hosed down the big girl while I first vacuumed and then soaped up the C-max. Quarters were spent and red dirt flowed. The insides, alas, wouldn't be so easy; I was dusting for days.

We were booked at a place called Portal RV Resort. They have two sections at this park: the "resort" section, which has premium spaces that they sell like LVM in Las Vegas, and the "campground" section, which is the classic gravel parking lot with hookups. We'd been able to reserve the resort section but were told we'd need to move to a different space after six nights. It wasn't clear to me why; they claim they don't assign specific spaces, so if there's room, why not put the new arrival in the already-unoccupied space instead of forcing us to move there? Illogical, said Mr. Spock.

Our initial space was just beautiful, one of the best in the park, facing out onto a lovely central pond with mountains in the background. I was going to get spoiled to this space very quickly.

In addition to the beautiful surroundings, we had a pile of packages to collect when we checked in. It was like Christmas!

Super-nice space at Portal. Lovely pond.

Our first venture out was to Arches National Park. This is another one of those red-rock natural wonders that I love, like Zion and Bryce and Monument Valley. Today we wanted to drive through the park and stop to see all the formations that are close to the road, without doing any long hikes.

The drive into the park past the guard station is a long uphill climb, passing incredible strata, clearly from a massive long-ago upthrust. The signature formations begin only a mile or two in.

Delicate Arch, far away. A little closer. Aaand...really close.

Our first stop was at the two viewpoints for Delicate Arch, one of the park's signature formations. We were saving the long climb to the foot of the arch for another day, but my 400mm lens helped bring it in from the long distance. I was amazed at its size when I realized the tiny specks were people!

Next, we drove to the end of the park road where you can view several arches on one trail. The first was Sand Dune Arch, so named because of the hike through sand to reach it. This arch is sheltered inside some large surrounding rocks, so it's a bit hard to photograph.

Sand hike.   Sand Arch.
Broken Arch.   Tapestry Arch.

Just up the trail and away from the sand were Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch.

Skyline Arch.

The final formation on this one-mile trail was Skyline Arch.


As we made the drive back to the park entrance, we made a final stop at another famous landmark, Balanced Rock.

It had been a really nice day. We'd done a little hiking but not too much, and seen a lot of wonderful country. Once again I was grateful for the people with the vision to set aside places like this, and grateful for the ten-dollar lifetime pass that gets me into all the national parks for free. Being old has a few perks, at least.

Mike spent the next thirty-six hours trying to install my new computer fan. Apparently the HP design includes "secret screws" that hold the thing together, and he couldn't find a way to take it apart. Finally, after much frustration, he found some online tutorials that led the way. Thank you, internet! We held our breaths and fired up the newly-repaired beastie, and...it worked! And in almost total silence! Good job, Mikey!