It was raining and dark by the time we were half way to Salt Lake City, the highway was poorly lit, and under construction. It was difficult, and felt somewhat dangerous – Harold twice went into the wrong lane and I had to shout at him to get back over, just as he was about to side swipe someone on my side. But we were hell-bent on getting out of this area.
We pushed on through the mountains, watching my new favourite Android app – Altimeter Lite – count up the elevation to 7,477 feet at Soldier Summit, where our ears popped – something we’ll have a lot of over the next month.
“I bet we’re missing some pretty amazing views right now” we commiserated, yet pushed on, “But we gotta get away from here!”
The next afternoon we made it to Moab, Utah. What a gorgeous place this is. We first checked out the BLM campgrounds along the Colorado river. The BLM has closed up most of the boondocking spots around the area. They have 26 campgrounds, many of them close to Arches National Park along the Colorado River. It’s a gorgeous area and such a deal at only $15 per site. Unfortunately, they were all full up.
So I took a look on the Passport America site to see if there were any discount sites available. There were three RV parks that accept Passport America, but two of them don’t take them in September and October. The third was completely full. I checked out Overnight RV Parking and there were two places in town that allow overnight parking but they were limited to small rigs. We decided to check an RV park I found on my Allstays app that was just up the road. They had only dry camping spots available, but that’s all we needed. They could get us electric and water for the weekend.
We hadn’t realized this is the high season for the area but it makes sense. It’s really gorgeous here right now. Next time we’ll show up on a Sunday afternoon and stake out a BLM spot along the river for a week or two.
Arches National Park
We’ve realized that we’ve paid about double the fees in the last year than we would have if we’d purchased the “America the Beautiful” pass for $80 per year. So we finally purchased one.
“Harold, I can’t wait until you’re 62 and we get the pass for $10!”
“That’s a whole decade away! Don’t age me so fast!” was his response.
As soon as you drive in and pay at the gates, you have to drive up a hill to the plateau. Down below you can see the road to the town in the south or the Moab fault that follows along the road to the north.
This park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. Most of it is accessible from the roads, or by a quick hike from the road. We took the dogs and it was fine for most of it, but there were a few places we had to take turns running up to see, so we didn’t have to lock them in a hot car. We were seeing the park late in the day, so we were racing against the sunset and just barely made it back out of the park before dark.
We had seen a brewery restaurant in the town, the Moab Brewery, so we went there for dinner. I get pretty tired of restaurants whose only vegetarian option is a veggie burger, but this one had a bunch of pastas, wraps, a burrito, and a veggie burger. So, of course I chose the veggie burger – go figure. It was very good. Harold had a cheeseburger that he heartily enjoyed. Our beer was brewed and canned on premises. Harold had the Derailleur Ale and I had the Rocket Bike American Lager. We both preferred mine and bought a 4 pack to take back to the trailer. I’m drinking one as I write this.
Arriving back at the RV park, we had an older woman wave at us on our way in, and she came running over after we’d parked.
“What part of British Columbia are you from?” She asked.
“Vancouver! I’m from Arkansas. Live in Vancouver now. Tracey was born there.” Harold answered, nodding at me.
“I was born in Vancouver 72 years ago!” she exclaimed, as proud as could be.
We spoke about her life for a bit. Her parents, both American, moved her from Vancouver to Smithers and then they all moved back down to El Paso, where she still lives. Her daughters both live in Colorado, where they’d been headed, but the women have to work this weekend, so the parents came here instead. Eventually we came back to Vancouver, but not in the way I’d expected.
“I hear you have lots of Chinese in Vancouver now.” she actually wrinkled her nose as she said it. I felt myself rankling.
“We have a lot of different Asian cultures and it’s great! It turned a small town sorta place into a multicultural city! It’s so much better now!” I vociferated, eager to boast about my home town.
She didn’t look swayed, and quickly changed the subject. “So how are you enjoying my country?”
“Harold is from Arkansas – it’s his country too – and we enjoy it a lot.” I promise I said that friendlier than it might sound now.
“Oh well that sounds like a good place to be FROM.” Well, bless her heart, I think she just dissed Arkansas.
She waved at the man across the way, “Burt! That’s my husband Burt, working on our truck up there. He wants to get a paint job because it’s black and white – like our president, he’s a real piece of work …”
Oh no, this was getting worse by the moment. We could both see where this was headed so we used the dogs as an excuse. “It was nice to meet you. We better get these dogs fed!”
“Enjoy your visit to my country!” She called out.
I restrained myself to just thinking my response “It’s Harold’s country too!!!”
Price: $27.00/ dry camping
Includes: A parking spot, access to washrooms
Dump/Water: On site
Garbage: On site
Cell & Wifi: Verizon – 3 bars of 4G LTE