Super-sized in terms of scenery, emotions and ….. challenges….!
Leaving Rifle, we traveled in ‘losing elevation’ mode which the truck thanked us for. It worked splendidly. Why on earth, we asked ourselves, would we want another stronger, more powerful truck when the one we have did so well??? From an elevation of around 6,000 feet in Rifle, we dropped to 5,000 feet in Grand Junction, decreasing to 4,000 feet by the time we arrived in Moab. No surprise the truck did so well. As did I….celebrating the disappearance of my constant companion, an ’altitude headache’ – Mike says it’s the wine every night… but I refuse to believe him. From Rifle onwards, we drove downwards, through a steep canyon, leveling off as we reached Grand Junction. From thereon in, until we turned off the I70 onto the US Hwy 191 to Moab, it was flat with miles and miles of sagebrush and desert-like terrain.
Turning off the I70 is when my excitement started to build. We started seeing beautiful, red rock formations, canyons and, of course, lots more traffic.
We saw the turn-off to Arches but we were focused on finding a place to camp and continued on. That’s when the “CHALLENGES’ kicked in. Up to this point, all was calm and peaceful. We traveled along the Colorado River where there were numerous campsites. However, they were not well-marked and they were not very specific as to where the tent sites were, when there were dead-ends….well, suffice it to say, after coming across a lot of ‘occupied’ sites and feeling a bit blue, we thought we spotted an available site and enthusiastically turned down one, narrow gravel road. To my MY HORROR, it turned out to be a dead-end…..my worst nightmare. Michael had to back our 24 foot fifth wheel out of a very tight spot. He was magnificent….I was a total wreck….a nervous, bloody basket case. But still, I managed to direct him out with no mishaps. The problem with these campgrounds was that they were all marked “FULL” and they were not well signed so by the time we saw the entrance, we were already too far past it to enter. Finally, we’d both had enough and decided to head into Moab and pay the exorbitant rates at one of the RV parks (of which there were many). Returning the way we’d come, we passed one of the campsites we’d missed and saw some available sites but, once again, too late….we’d passed it. This time though, there was a pull-off. Due to the ‘rush for sites’, after we found a suitable, available site, I sat and held it while Michael adroitly turned around the fifth wheel, kayaks and all, in the middle of the secondary highway he was parked on and just as adroitly backed into our site. Hugs and kisses were in order for my Michael.
Soon, we were unhitched and settled in, ready for some exploring. We headed to Arches to get Mike’s GOLDEN AGE/SENIORS PASS which reduced our camping fee to half – always welcome. From there to search out how to realize our plan of kayaking down the Colorado River. We found Katherine at WILD WEST VOYAGES who completed the arrangements for us to do two, 10 mile sections of the river. She would assist us in dropping the truck at our end point, and taking us and our equipment to the starting point. When we asked about drinking water, she told us about the “MATRIMONIAL SPRING’, a natural spring where the water comes out of the rock, very pure. She said the story is that once you drink the water from this spring, you will be ‘married’ to Moab, and always return. We found it, drank from it, and yes, this may well become our new playground!
Tomorrow, we are off to explore Arches National Park.