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Cross-Country Journal -- July 2002

 

I have decided to begin a brief daily journal for those (like Mom) who might be interested in what we did each day.  I will add to this page until the end of a month and then start a new page.  Each day will be  covered one after the other.  Although I plan to write a few words each day, I will probably put them on the web site weekly or something like that.

 

Saturday, July 27 --- This morning we pulled up stakes at the Centennial RV Park in order to head for Utah.  The Centennial Campground turned out to be very nice.  Each campsite had a wide space with green grass!  Also, half the park was empty.

We left at 9:30 and drove up to Grand Junction where we stopped at the Colorado Monument.  Because of the steep and twisting road up to the canyon rim, we decided to leave the motor home near the park entrance and use the Jeep for the drive through the park.  It was a very good idea.  Pepper and Louie we happiest waiting for us at the bottom.

Colorado National Monument is a series of red-rock canyons that, once again, provide an unbelievable sight for the eyes.  We spent nearly 3 hours on the rim road following the edge of the canyon and stopping at various overlooks.  Yes, there will be a photo album as soon as I have some time to organize it.

From Grand Junction we drove about 2 hours over to Moab, Utah covering some spectacular country-side on I-70.  By the time we reached Moab it seemd like we were in the middle of a desert.  We stopped at the Arches View Campground which is in the middle of nowhere (3 miles before Moab going south on route 191) and has a view of some of the arches and huge red-rock cliffs.  We mixed a couple of gin and tonics and relaxed the rest of the day.

Sunday, July 28 -- Today is a day off.  Better to relax and do odd jobs than to take on the weekend crowds at the National Park.  It's 95 degrees here at 4:30 PM as I write this.  We took a short excursion to Moab for some groceries and stopped at the Arches visitor center to get maps and information to read.

Monday, July 29 -- Each day seems to be in the upper nineties, so we got to Arches early, around 7:00 AM.  At 1:00 PM we had seen half he park so we decided to head back to the air conditioning of the motor home and crash.  During the 6 hours we saw some unbelievable red rock formations and several arches carved by weather and erosion.  We hiked 3 or 4 miles to get up close and personal.  These arches are amazing.  The rock formations here tend to be ribs or fins of rock sticking up out of the surrounding  land.  The water and wind-blown sand attack the side of the fin until a small hole is formed through the fin.  Then the hole enlarges as chunks of rock fall off.  Remember we're talking millions of years.

We were so hot and exhausted by 1:30 that we literally crashed the rest of the day.  When the sun sets at around 9:00 PM the temperature drops quite fast and the nighttime is cool.

Tuesday, July 30 -- Once again we arrived at the park by 7:00 AM and drove to the far end where there was a long trail that we wanted to hike.  By 7:30 we were on the trail and we returned to the car at 12:00 Noon.  Again we were exhausted.  We had hiked over 7 miles over, around and between rock walls.  We got up close to 5 arches that you don't see unless you make the hike.  Each arch was different and amazing.  By 1:00 we were in a Mexican restaurant in Moab drinking margaritas and trying to cool off.  We had some lunch too and then came back to the motor home to crash during the heat of the day.  Today it got over 100 degrees.

Wednesday, July 31 -- Today we headed toward Canyonlands National Park to arrive at the Visiter's Center by around 8:00 AM.  Canyonlands is 20 miles southeast of our campsite while Arches is 5 miles south.  Canyonlands is a huge double canyon that was formed by the Colorado and the Green rivers and includes their confluence.  We explored the north area of the park called the Island in the Sky because it is nearly surrounded by canyon.  In early afternoon we decided to drive down 2000 feet into the canyon on an old trail that accommodates Jeeps only.  After a scary drive back and forth down the cliff we reached the smaller canyon that is the present river.  We decided to continue on this 4WD road along the river canyon and through the big canyon bottom to the other side where there was another road that could take us out.  Overall the road was 17 miles long and gave us some breathtaking moments.  By late afternoon we finally came out and headed straight to the same Mexican place for more margaritas!