Destination Moab: A Travel Diary #1: Getting There

Where to: Moab, Utah- Gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Park

Travelling from: Denver, Colorado.

Tip: Avoid summer months.

It is a long road trip, one of the longest I have taken- over 6 hours, more with stops. It is the only way given the lack of accessible airports. Fortunately, the drive promised to be worthwhile and scenic- through various landscapes, initially through the Rockies then desert . It started to rain when we started in the morning. The forecast promised it’d be light followed by clear skies later in the day. Rain turned to sleet as we wound through the mountains on 1 70. It was nerve wracking and fun at the same time as the drivers wouldn’t slow down hitting 80 mph, and higher on the steep grades and sharp bends surrounded by snow capped peaks passing through the Eisenhower tunnel- the longest at 1.7m and highest point in the interstate system.

The drive through rugged Glenwood Canyons was particularly exhilarating with the beautiful Colorado river rushing below the freeway. After stopping for a short pleasant picnic lunch at a pretty roadside park under clear blue skies in the resort mountain town of Glenwood Springs, we continued on, making good time to Grand Junction. The scenery changed as the mountains gradually leveled out into plains- dotted with green farms and the road came down to hug the river. Temperatures rose and traffic thinned as we entered desert territory and crossed the Welcome to Utah sign. The route called for a detour of about 7 miles, on unpaved road through stark isolated country (a bad place for vehicle breakdown) before the last lap to our destination.

Red Cliffs Lodge is well worth the somewhat steeper price tag and the additional thirty minute drive to Moab, for its stunning setting- red brown pink cliffs, the sights and sounds of wild birds and little critters, the river running right behind your tastefully appointed rustic cabin, and an unblemished night sky, dotted with billions of stars far from the city lights. Yes, I saw the Big Dipper. 

Next up- Canyonlands National Park

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