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Arches National Park

May 12 - Finally the place I was most looking forward to seeing on the trip was here. The Moab area in general was very high on my list but Arches National Park was “the one place” that I had most looked forward to seeing.

Arches National Park

  As a buddy of mine (Les Thein) described it, “A Grateful Dead CD was playing when I came up over the ridge and the whole sight and sound was almost spiritual. I was slack-jawed at the panorama. It made me think of Kevin [Kiser] (a deceased, well liked, co-worker). This was his kind of place and his kind of music. I almost felt like Kevin was right there with me.”
  My high expectations were based on much more than just Les’ comments thought and as I drove into the park thought to myself, “Some times expectations can be just too big. I wonder if I’ll be disappointed?” Well Arches National Park didn’t disappoint. It was everything I had hoped it would be. Les was right. I picked up my cell phone and called Les to tell him he was right. I also said hi to Kevin but I didn’t need a cell phone.
The "Great Wall" No, really its called the Great Wall. Personaly I'd like to think of it as a pair of great Walls.

Okay, everyone has their own idea of beauty, I LOVED Arches! It is still my favorite spot on the trip. However, a few weeks later my Sister visited the park and while she liked it she was not “as” impressed. But hey, what does she know? She’s only a girl.


May 13 - After another night near Moab I drove into town and was greeted by more than a dozen deer on the outskirts. Canyonlands National Park
  After breakfast I drove to Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District. Very cool, lots of fun, but it just didn’t have the same effect on me that Arches had the day before. It was great none the less.


Canyonlands National Park

Long Canyon and Pucker Pass

I drove back to town via Long Canyon, Pucker Pass, and down to the banks of the Colorado River. Pucker Pass is well named. This is a primitive 4WD road with a rock wall on one side and a sheer drop off on the other plus it’s very steep in spots. I had the Jeep in 4 wheel drive and even in 1st gear at times I still had to keep my foot on the brake to keep the Jeep from running away. The view!? Wow, wow, wow!!! I don’t know if it was my total lack of knowledge about this primitive road or what but this was WAY up there with anything I saw on the entire trip.

Long Canyon and Pucker Pass
Long Canyon and Pucker Pass

Colorado River

Camping near Moab

Petroglyphs along the river
  Once I got to the bottom it was a beautiful drive along the Colorado River all the way back to town and also included some petroglyphs on the canyon walls.
May 14 - I left Moab via the very beautiful SR-128 that follows the Colorado River. The further out of Moab the shallower the canyon walls became. Most of the drive is extremely beautiful but by the time I reached Cisco I wondered “Why on earth do people live here?” Six miles later I merged onto I-70 and took it all the way to Fruita, CO.
SR-128 from Moab to Cisco

Dinosaur Museum of Western Colorado
After lunch I toured the Dinosaur Museum of Western CO and then drove the 23 miles through Colorado National Monument to Grand Junction. This was very cool another nicer than expected destination.

Colorado National Monument

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Revised December 15, 2007