2022-08-23 Epic Summer Road Trip Days 1 & 2: To Moab & the Arches


Days 1 and 2 have involved a lot of driving. Somehow every trip that Jim and I have planned since getting married has been this way. Mostly because of the pandemic and the nix on air travel. But even for destinations we’ve flown to like Oregon, the “exploration” factor has been high where we’ve only stayed in a place one or two days before going to the next.

This one falls very much in line with that. A few days in Moab, driving/hiking around the national parks here, then back to Estes Park in Colorado, then on to a cabin at Grand Lake. Then 9+ hours home to Omaha via Denver. I have a feeling we’ll both be exhausted from driving before it’s over. 

Today we’re waking up at the Element hotel in Moab. At current I’m doing the elliptical thing I do facing the patio and outdoor pool of the hotel. Part of me is tempted to suggest we just hang out here like lazy bums all day. But that’s a daydream that will not come to pass. 

I’m also struggling to stretch my mind back to the past two days to solidify the experiences as memories. It’s like day 3 now so day 1 is fading fast. 

That day I woke up in North Platte by myself with my regular routine and a 4 hour drive to Denver ahead. I stopped at the Wal-mart to get supplies, one of which was a charger for my Fitbit that I forgot. They didn’t have one despite the inventory on the website saying they did. 😬 At that time I was already down to 48%. 

On the drive I did my makeup, polished my nails, and listened to an audiobook my friend Tacheny suggested, Scorpio Races. The drive went by quickly and I was picking Jim up in Denver in no time. 

To ease the pickup he took an Uber to a location just off I-70. I told him I don’t normally pick dudes up in front of the Dollar General, so he must be special. But seriously, he could not have chosen a more sketch location. Vape shop, dollar General, an out of business clothing store, and a parking lot that hasn’t seen love since the upheaval that first created the Rocket Mountains in the distance. 

But anyway, saving time was the reason for that. I had already had to cancel my brunch plans with another Denver friend In the interest of time so I didn’t want to waste it. 

Turns out it was a waste anyway. The goal was to make it to Canyonlands for sunset but fate had other plans for us. We were delayed in the first town we stopped and didn’t find a good lunch spot. We were delayed in the second town we stopped because the restaurant took forever. And then we encountered a closure on I-70 near the Colorado border which had us driving in a circle on an access road and then stopping in the town of Gypsum with a thousand+ other stuck travelers.

All that caused us to hit sunset just across the Utah border a ways out from Moab. Still, we were on the open road with lots of neat formations on all side and the views were pretty bomb. I got these shots from the car window and also when we decided to stop for a minute and get out of the car.

Getting to our hotel in Moab was pretty uneventful and though we previously thought we might get up early to drive into Canyonlands for sunrise, we quickly agreed we just needed to sleep, have a good breakfast, and make it to our timed entry at Arches at 9AM.

Thus is the way day 2 began. 

***

I think going into the day without a solid plan besides arriving at 9AM and knowing what hikes we wanted to do was not great. I (we) forgot to bring food, didn’t have enough water, and it was going to get really hot. 

Once in the park, We drove past the first few turnouts to get to the delicate arch trail. This would be the longest and most elevation climb of the day. It took us about 1.5 hours round trip but felt like much longer than that. Despite being after “back to school” times, it was still pretty busy on the trail and especially at the arch itself. I got a few good pics but opted out of waiting my turn to climb down to have actual proof I was there.

After that we drove all the way to the top of the park and did a little of that trail to see a few of the closer arches. We also stopped at most scenic overlooks along the way. The scenery is incredible and I’m positive the pictures just don’t do it justice.

I made it a full 5 hours in the park without sustenance. As I felt myself getting hangry, I basically told Jim we needed to get going if he wanted to enjoy the rest of the day. Was it an ultimatum? Probably. But also true. You know what they say… happy wife, happy life. 😜

When we got back to town I thought to myself, this is good. We’ll get lunch and get to relax a bit before doing anything else. But nope. 

The plan was our “no plan” approach which led to driving through town to see what’s there and then not picking a place and going back to the hotel without lunch. What??!! 

Severely disgruntled, I proceeded to eat an apple and most of a bag of barbecue potato chips. Then decided to take a shower and get all that arch dirt, sunscreen, and sweat off my body. All this took place while Jim was on text and phone taking care of a personal/work issue. 

The shower helped but then Jim wanted a shower and my patience wore really thin. I also developed quite a headache waiting. 

By the time my “lunch” settled in and Jim was ready, which felt like an eternity, I had a full blown migraine. Light and sound had become unbearable and I was so mad. Then he’s like “ready?” 

Yeah, ready to die. But I’m not unprepared and took a shot of sumatriptan right up my nose. That sounds bad, but it’s a fast acting nasal spray. I had needed confirmation it was a migraine before wasting a dose. 

Then I just needed to relax in the car to try and let it work it’s magic. And believe me, when that migraine dissipates within a half an hour, it definitely feels like magic! 

Dinner was at a neat fire oven pizza place in Moab. This town is full of cute shops and places to eat. I was completely satisfied with our drinks, appetizers, meal, and the nearly vacant covered patio we sat at.

After dinner we decided to head out to Canyonlands. The sunset spot we read about was the Green River Overlook in the islands in the sky district. Canyonlands National Park is split into three districts. Basically split by the rivers at the base of the canyons. There’s no normal passable road between them. The drive from Moab was a little over an hour and we arrived just before the sun was behind a huge outcropping of rock on our right.

But this is what you get when you trust the idiots on the internet. That obstruction basically made it impossible to see the actual sunset on the horizon and all the clouds and colors around it.

The view was south over the canyon and though that was neat, it wasn’t a sunset it was just the sky growing darker as the sun, already out of view disappeared.

If anyone going to try to catch this sunset, reads this.. stop when you get to the visitor center and find a good spot along that road where you can still see west into the distance.

I suggested we jump back in the car and head back in that direction, which we did, and stopped at a spot that was near the edge of a canyon drop off. It was mostly too late but there was still a little color left in the sky.

After, we drove the rest of the way back to Moab and when we arrived it was dark enough the stars were starting to pop. But we were both so tired (again) that we just headed for the room and went to sleep. /snore 

That’s it for the first two days— 48 hours and 400 pictures down, many, many more to go…

Peace and Love from Utah, 

~Miss SugarCookie


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