Monday, June 10, 2013

Great American Road Trip - Day 2 (5/26) - Arches

We were on the road by 8 AM, with Judy behind the wheel.  We drove west on I-70 through Denver and into the mountains.  We made a quick stop close to Breckenridge to grab some breakfast and some supplies, then continued on into Utah.  We then turned south onto US 191 and headed to Arches National Park, arriving around 1:45.

At the park entrance the friendly ranger convinced us that it would be worth our while to get a yearly national park pass for $80 - it would save me at least $5 (though in the end it turned out to be much more) over buying individual vehicle entry into Arches ($10), Grand Canyon ($25), Yosemite ($25), and Yellowstone ($25) national parks.  We drove through to the parking area for the Delicate Arch trail, made a quick restroom stop (at the pit toilets), and then started the hike.  The hike is about 3 miles round trip, including some fairly steep climbs and some rough terrain.  It was fairly easy for the 3 of us (being at least somewhat in shape soccer players), but I can understand why the park literature classifies it as a strenuous trail, and recommends each hiker have at least a liter of water (we had less than that between the 3 of us).  We saw one person who had succumbed to the heat (the temperature was in the mid eighties, and there were no clouds, though the wind near the top made it feel cooler), and a ranger gave us the impression that there are at least several such incidents each day.  In any case, we made it up and down in a couple of hours, including time spent taking pictures and exploring.  After that we drove back to the park entrance, stopping a couple of times to take pictures.

We then continued down US 191, with a stop for gas in nearby Moab.  We took US 191 all the way down to US 163, which went southwest into Arizona (apparently through Monument Valley).  By this time we had given up relying on the almost nonexistent (for Galen and me, at least - Judy's Verizon iPhone fared better than our T-Mobile Nexus 4s) cell service, and began navigating using the atlas that Judy had bought that morning.  Galen also took over driving duties at some point during the journey.  We then took US 160 west to AZ 98 northwest to Page.  After some wandering, we found a Mexican restaurant called Fiesta Mexicana and had a late dinner (or I watched the other two have a late dinner, as I was satisfied with the chips and salsa).  Dinner included our waiter being attacked with a pie for his birthday.  After that, we used the magic of the Internet to find the Lake Powell Resort.  After checking in, we found our room and turned in soon after.  Interestingly, the fact that Arizona does not observe daylight savings time led to us making it to bed before midnight, though we thought that it was an hour later up until the middle of dinner.

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