Hitting the Trifecta in Moab, Utah

{Dates of Visit Jun 9 - 14, 2014}

Delicate Arch
I think I need to come to terms with the fact that the ol' blog is turning into a picture book. I can't seem to help it. Seriously...this post is going to have a butt-load of pictures and I've already edited it down from the 150 I wanted to post. What can I say...Moab is a photogenic place. If you go there (and I hope you do) you'll see exactly what I mean.

The only thing that could draw us away from Mancos, Colorado with it's baby horses and majestic views (right from our RV) was our desire to see Arches National Park. Everyone's heard of that place and everyone has seen pictures of Delicate Arch...it's magical. But what we hadn't realized was that there are two other parks nearby that should not be missed...I'm not even joking.

Our site at Portal RV "Campground".
We parked the Mutiny at Portal RV Park & Resort because of it's central location (we not only wanted to see the area parks but we also wanted to go into the town of Moab)...and it offered full hookups. Remember, I am so far behind on this blog that this was PRE-solar...and it was already hot...meaning we needed electrical hookups for the AC to work.

Apparently, the pond'd be good for us...
Private campgrounds in Moab are not cheap and Portal was no exception. It offers a "campground" area, which is similar to a large but well maintained parking lot and ran $36 per night for 30amp and $42 for 50amp service. It has a swimming pond, fishing pond, dog run and nice views. Conversely, the "resort" section is all privately owned and nicely landscaped (like bird-of-paradise landscaped). Spaces rent for $55 per night and includes access to the swimming pool and spa. We walked through the area and while it is nice with it's koi pond and super-nice and shiny RVs (there are age restrictions on RVs and Fifth-wheels enforced in this part of the park) we didn't feel that it was worth the extra $19 per night for access to a pool (full of kids).

But in all reality, we weren't there for the campground or the pool,we were there for the trifecta of state and national parks that would present their gravity defying red rock formations, colorful canyons and miles of trails. And, as luck would have it, there was even a little bit of Eccentric American and dinosaur tracks thrown in for good measure.

Moab has it all.

1) Arches National Park: By now you know that we love our National Parks. Love 'em. Our travels may have been inspired, to some extent, by Ken Burns' and Dayton Duncan's series National Parks: America's Best Idea. It's fantastic. And it made us long to see these grand places with our own eyes, while we still could.

I present to you...Arches:

2) Canyonlands National Park: Many people may not realize that almost all of the commercial and motion picture depictions of the Grand Canyon are filmed here in Canyonlands or at it's neighbor, Dead Horse Point State Park. Apparently, it's more colorful, less crowded and there's much less red tape (not to mention cheaper) to film in Utah. Regardless of the reason this National Park is amazing. And if you have a 4x4 vehicle (and you're brave) you can actually drive from Dead Horse to Canyonlands all on back roads (we did).

Drummmmmm rolllll...Canyonlands:

3) Dead Horse Point State Park: You may be thinking why would I go to a lousy state park when there are two major National Parks here to visit...pshaw, state parks are for rednecks...Tsk, tsk, don't be so judgmental and get yer butt over to this state park. I guarantee it's more stunning than your last cutesy selfie holding your new Birkin Bag (it's probably a knock-off anyway).

Ladies and Gentlemen...Dead Horse:

We found the spot Thelma and Louise drove off into the "Grand Canyon"...which was really filmed at Dead Horse Point State Park.
Not my photo...for comparision.
Let's keep goin'! (quote from Thelma and Louise)
4) Faux Falls at Ken's Lake: We were here in early June and it was already 97 degrees during the day. It's also a desert area...and very exposed (aka not a lot of trees...or shade). And, as most dog owners know, you can't bring your pooch to hike with you at the National Parks. But, you can bring them to Faux Falls and Ken's Lake where you can hike, picnic and splash around in the water to your heart's content (and that includes Fido).

For your consideration...Faux Falls:

5) Hole N' the Rock: The name says it all...this is literally a hole in a rock. In the 1940's a man named Albert Christensen excavated 50,000 cubic feet of rock to make a 5,000 square foot home inside this mammoth red rock formation, And now, keeping with American tradition, it's become a famous roadside attraction. For just $6 per person you can take a tour of the home and sit and wonder two very important things...how? And why? Oh, you can't take photos of the interior so you'll just have to fork over your own $6 to see it for yourself.

Come one, come all...Hole N' the Rock:

6) Dinosaur Tracks and Bones: There are several places to find both dinosaur footprints and exposed  fossilized bones. I wouldn't exactly call us dinosaur geeks (is that a thing?) but we just couldn't help ourselves...looking for these paleontological (< look at that big word) pieces of natural history was like going on a treasure hunt...and the Mutiny Crew loves treasure, Arrr! The best thing is that these are all self-guided, outdoor adventures. And although there are no ropes or chains keeping you from touching these relics, you *should* be mindful and walk lightly so they can be preserved for generations to come. 

Lots of dinosaur tracks!

Dinosaur bones!!
Honorable mention:

Canyonlands By Day and Night: This local tour company offers jet boat rides, white water rafting, stand up paddle board adventures, horseback riding, 4x4 excursions, zip lining, ropes courses and helicopter tours. We opted to do a sunset jet boat tour along the Colorado River which lasted about 1 1/2 hours. It was followed by a full dutch oven dinner with vegetarian friendly foods included in the $79 per person price tag. It was definitely a splurge for us. 

Poison Spider Bicycles: We were worried that we'd be price gouged taking our bikes into Moab for repairs but that was not the case at Poison Spider. The super friendly staff didn't even make fun of my 25 year old rusty (and extremely heavy) Diamondback.

One thing to remember when you visit Moab, or anywhere in Utah for that matter, is that they have some strange liquor laws...at least strange to us. Having live in California prior to hitting the road we had been used to going to any grocery store (like Safeway or Albertsons) and being able to buy beer, wine, tequila, vodka, champagne, etc. right along with our aspirin, adult diapers, prunes...oh, I mean, right along with our regular groceries. We could also pretty much go to any restaurant (within reason) and just have drinks at the bar (without having a meal, shhhh).

Not so in Utah. *Some* restaurants may have separate bars where you *might* be able to get a measured drink, a beer or a glass of wine. I'm not quite sure what makes it okay for one place to serve alcohol only and another to say that you can only have a drink if you order dinner. But I do know that the Sunset Grill, which is an ideal place to sit and watch the sunset, does not have a drinks only option but Zax pizza joint and watering hole does. We went to Zax, naturally.

We crammed a lot into our short 5 days in Moab but there is so much more to see and do. Now that we have solar, we're excited to check the area out again (perferably a little earlier in the season before it gets too hot) and spend at least 2 weeks hiking, biking and taking it all in.

If you've been we'd be thrilled to hear your suggestions on what to do the next time we roll through...

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