When Michael and I started traveling the country with our Airstream, which we lovingly dubbed the Aluminum Falcon, I started keeping a journal of sorts. At first, I documented our daily experiences while we drove across the country following along Route 66 from Casey, Illinois, and on our fifth day of owning the Falcon we stopped in Moab to visit Arches National Park. I thought I would share this for those who are interested in reading about National Parks. We have also visited others since we began traveling, and I may share those trips later, too. For now, come to Arches with us….
Thus far, this is my favorite day of our trip. Waking to perhaps one of the most gorgeous views I have ever seen, I could not have been more pleased to see morning. When I stepped out of the trailer, the first thing to greet me was the red bowl of rock which cradles Moab, Utah, utterly astonishing, a natural wonder of geology. One cannot possibly capture it in words, nor will a photo do it justice. Much like the Grand Canyon, one must simply go see it to appreciate its full grandeur. Also fabulous: the tail end of the Rocky Mountains which stand behind the red rock shelves of Moab, a powerful and stark contrast of environments. The beauty of the two heights against each other beneath the clear blue sky is nothing short of striking. Add to that gorgeous view a pleasant softness of blooming pink trees and lime green shoots of leaves opening for spring. I felt utter joy. Who could ask for anything more? Throughout our two days in Moab I could not stop commenting on its beauty, as the awe of it never left me.
Once we both got showered, fed, and dressed, Michael unhitched the truck for the first time since we hooked up the trailer in Illinois, and we headed out to Arches National Park. Again, to put this into words will not do it justice. I mean, how do you describe the unbelievable stretches of red, green, and sand-colored rock, some striated in stacked layers, some swirled by the markings of its own layering in the same color, some just red and standing balanced in precarious glory against the sky. I sat in the front seat flabbergasted by the immense heights of red rock heaved upward, at times forming canyons, but mostly standing in tall fins or fingers of stone which occasionally were punctuated with a window in the shelf.
We went to the famous site of Balanced Rock, where we got out with the dogs, and I happily bounced along in the crumbly red rock between the shocks of green desert grass. Sasha joyfully bounced along next to me, thrilled to be free of the car. For the first time since we left home four days ago we were about to get a good long day of exercise, and all of us were ecstatic. I snapped photos as I walked through the rock formations and climbed up onto the tops of those I felt comfortable reaching with the dog in tow (she can sometimes be quite excitable and occasionally foolish about dragging me, making such situations unsafe). I proudly pushed myself to scramble up on a rock formation which made me uncomfortable with its height (I have a terrible phobia of heights, especially in wide open spaces), and Michael snapped the photo of my brave moment before I crawled off the edge, glad to be back on solid ground.
After Balanced Rock, we drove down to the Garden of Eden, the Double Arch, and the North and South Windows. Seeing the arches and the windows (which are basically holes in the rock fins worn through by water and wind erosion) was fun, since we stopped there and wandered along the paths, even climbing right onto the base of one of the “windows.” My favorite part of the park came last, though, when we drove to Devil’s Garden. Through a canyon of impossibly large fins of red rocks, we followed the network of paths to each site of arches amongst the tall structures. A welcome break from the hot sun was offered from the shade of the rock at times, and we were surprisingly grateful, since we had only days ago come from freezing Western NY, which had just suffered a massive blizzard. Olean, our home town, missed the worst of it, but much of the Northeast was in shut-down mode for a couple of days in order to dig out. It felt almost wrong to be enjoying such gorgeous weather, but not wrong enough to be sorry for it. In any case, the lovely walk through Devil’s Garden proved to be the most scenic of all the spots, in my opinion, as one could get a stunning view of the white-capped mountains in the distance, right through corridors of red fins and windows and arches in the rock. Once we finished that tour of the garden we felt wiped out, and without even needing to discuss it we both were ready to get dinner.
Off we went along the winding road through the park, which was often edged by drop-offs without guardrails, back to the hip town of Moab to find food. After wasting time looking online for decent eateries, we eventually gave up and just found ourselves a parking spot, taking the chance that some of the restaurants we passed on the inviting main drag would be good. Both of us needed protein after all the hiking and climbing. Fortune blessed us with The Spoke, a restaurant right on the first corner out of the parking lot, a fun contemporary place with a décor which tastefully focused on bike spokes. (For those not in the know, Moab is a very outdoorsy place, and known for its many places to recreate in the region, thus The Spoke is a cool nod to this culture.) The food tasted like heaven.
We ordered a full rack of smoked ribs and a plate of fish tacos for dinner, along with an appetizer of fried mozzarella and tomatoes. Though the dinner arrived without the appetizer being delivered, when this was mentioned to our server, she immediately said the appetizer would be removed from the bill, and she said she would wrap it up so we could take it along with us. I give this place an A+ for service. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had such a delicious meal. The meat had the perfect amount of smokiness with the smear of sauce atop, and the perfect tenderness to pull away from the bone. And the flavor in the fish tacos with a slight citrus note along with the crunch of cabbage slaw—yum. Doubly fun was the fact that it was also St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday we associate with a sort of anniversary of when we first started dating five years ago. What a fantastic day to celebrate!
We topped off our scrumptious meal with cups of ice cream and went back to the poor dogs in the car. Luna seemed wilted from all the heat; as a husky mix, she tends to do that in warm weather. Back to the RV park we went, fed the dogs dinner, and we reluctantly got to work attaching the pressure regulator so we could hook up the water for the first time. Though it was dark we felt it would be a good choice, since we didn’t really know what sort of supplies we would have available in Ely, a small town in the middle of nowhere in Nevada, and the location where Michael was scheduled to work for a three-month contract. Michael also had me assist him in doing some work on the level jacks, since those have pins which were not attached to anything, and he wanted to make sure they stayed put. Once the regulator was attached, we turned on the water for the first time, and behold! It worked! We flushed out the winterizing fluid from the taps and checked for leaks. All clear. I moved on to a little cleaning while Michael himself wilted from the day of sun. While I worked, Michael laid down and soon fell asleep on top of the covers on the bed. We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate our relationship, however, since we are such deeply devoted outdoor people, and we both love seriously good food. I went to bed tired in the best kind of way.