|Paul and Ali|
We set out on August 13th with our first night’s stay in Salina, Kansas. All was good! Next morning we stopped and found the world’s oldest geocache: Mingo. Next stop was Denver where we linked up with Paul and Ali for some Colorado pizza. Love the honey on the leftover crust. Yum! All was well.
|Balancing Rock at
Arches National Park
Our hotel was in Moab, but Arches National Park was just north of there so we went there first to finally see this park. It’s indeed beautiful with all of the red rock and the incredible rock formations. We drove through the park, spending about 90 minutes there. We got out of the car a couple of times, but with Mona being ill we needed to cut our visit short. Not as much of a visit as we planned, but we finally made it to Arches! Scratched it off the Bucket List!
|Milepost 13, Forrest Gump’s Point|
Next morning Mona was feeling some better and we were hopeful for a better day. We hit the road early and headed south. Our first stop was at milepost 13 on Highway 163. This is the spot where Forrest Gump stopped running. It’s an iconic view and actually a little dangerous as tourists stand in the middle of the road and tend to ignore the traffic speeding by at 70 miles per hour. Yep, I’m a tourist too…got my pic and managed to not get hit.
|Our dining view. By luck we had the
same table for three meals.
There is only one restaurant on the property and it is owned, like everything else here, by the Navajo Nation. Since we were pretty much a captive audience I had low expectations for the food. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the Navajo Taco…at least I was pleased after i got some extra green chilis to put on it. Mona was taking it safe with her food…understandably. Good food or not, the view was incredible! The restaurant is perched on the rim of the valley and you get a birds-eye view of several of the monuments from your table.
The road is basically just soil hardened by the passage of countless trucks vehicles touring the valley. It’s full of ruts, potholes and huge mud puddles making driving a challenge. Car rental companies don’t allow their cars to travel this route and I was really glad we were in a four wheel drive vehicle. Nonetheless, we saw several nice cars, including a few new Mustangs, bumping along on this road. (Speaking of Mustangs, this is open range country and horses wander around freely. More on that later.)
|Will, singing in Navajo to us.|
Down in the valley you get a better idea of just how huge these monuments are. They rise 700 to 900 feet straight up and loom over you like structures from an alien world. Even though this was a first-time visit for us we felt like we had been here before. Will explained that was because of all the movies and commercials that had been made here. While he was talking about this he pointed at Merrick Butte and told us of the time they had helicoptered a Cadillac to the top for a commercial.
|Totem Pole Formation|
It was worth it. We got to see the Totem Pole formation, several arches and the Big Hogan where Will and another guide sang songs to us in Navajo. These songs probably made fun of us tourists, but they were cool nonetheless.
|Merrick Butte from Our Porch|
|Four Corners at Last|
We had decided to cut short this trip and get Mona home to see her doctor. She was some better but still not herself. She was a trooper but even troopers have their limits. We were aiming for Wichita via Dodge City for our next target. We wanted to see more of the local country so we cut across New Mexico on a two-lane road; enjoying the grass-covered mesas and the occasional butte. Mona was driving and as she was cresting a hill she saw a police vehicle, lights flashing, facing her in her lane.
must have been eight vehicles in addition to the tractor-trailer itself. The tractor-trailer had a semi in front, then the load, then another semi pushing. We were glad we had pulled over because there was no room for anything else on the road.