Arches National Park
30th March 2014 - Arches National Park
Today we planned to go from Montrose to Moab in Utah, via Grand Junction for a late breakfast and Arches National Park.
We had a late start when the alarm I set did not go off – stupid iPad. Luckily Ryan’s alarm did wake him and so he woke us and we were on the road only about 40 minutes later than planned.
It was 100k’s to Grand Junction where we stopped at an iHop for brekkie. Quite busy there, we had to wait 15 minutes for a table.
Then we drove along I70 to Arches National Park. I70 runs for 3500k’s across much of the country. Today we started on a much shorter stretch as we drove the 170k’s from Grand Junction to Arches.
Arches is very impressive. There are over 2000 natural sandstone arches. I love the red colour. It is a bit tough to get around, lots of walking over rough ground, through sand. You can drive the entire park but have to park and walk to many of the best parts. It was very windy which whipped the sand up and we spent much time walking sideways trying to keep sand out of our eyes. Later it started to spit rain but we managed not to get wet.
We were keen to push on so we didn’t go to Moab and drove back to I70 and started west, getting to Richfield where we spent the night. Interesting drive as it started to snow, very windy and driving got quite difficult. Ryan got us through fine and we had dinner at the Frontier Village Restaurant before driving across the car park, through the falling snow, to the Super 8 hotel.
There was a weird noise coming from one of my bags which Rayls checked out whilst Ryan and I checked in. Turns out it was my alarm,which didn't go off this morning. It must have been on PM instead of AM, stupid iPad!
Durango to Montrose
29th March 2014 - Mesa Verde / Million Dollar Highway
Started at Cortez, the Knights Inn we stayed in was a big failure, especially for Ryan who had to abandon his room in the middle of the night after a major flood.
Breakfast was at Burger King, very friendly locals who were keen to talk.
It was a 20-minute drive to the Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde is best known for cliff dwellings, which are structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs — including Cliff Palace, thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The Spanish term Mesa Verde translates into English as "green table". It is considered to contain some of the most notable and best preserved archaeological sites. It is a very interesting place - some of it closed due to the season but we enjoyed our stay all the same.
Onto Durango, our buddy Amy was born here - a long time ago! Durango is most known for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a heritage railway, which travels from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado on steam-powered trains with rolling stock dating back to the 1920s and before. Rayls spent a couple of hours at the Durango Quilt Shop, not a bad shop; it had a pool table, which Ryan and I played on.
We decided to push on and drove the 170 K’s through Silverton to the town of Montrose. This was an amazing drive along what is known as the Million Dollar Highway. At one stage we hit over 10,000 feet – the highest point of Australia is 7310 feet. The mountains were just awesome, snow capped with wonderful red rock. It was far and away the most impressive drive ever – thanks to Ryan for driving. Lots of sharp turns and lots of concentration needed.
We ended up in the town of Montrose and stayed at the Black Canyon Hotel. Dinner was at Dennys.
28th March 2014 - Monument Valley / Four Corners
Today we started out from Flagstaff at 9:00am with a stop at Dunkin Donut where we served by Relaene. Rayls saw a Joannes on the way to brekkie nd then was delighted to see a Michaels right next door. We gave her an hour but she only managed to spend all of her time in Joannes. Ryan and refuelled the car.
At 10:45am we hit the road to Monument Valley. Rayls and I were there 2 years ago, however Ryan was keen and it is a cool place.
Enjoyed our time there, Ryan was impressed and afterwards we headed to Four Corners Monument. The Four Corners is a region consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, northwestern corner of New Mexico, northeastern corner of Arizona and southeastern corner of Utah. The Four Corners area is named after the quadripoint where the boundaries of the four states meet, where the Four Corners Monument is located. Cool spot. We are aware that Google Earth shows that the quadripoint is out by a few metres but what do you do!
Only needed a few minutes there and then we headed a further hour to Cortez, which is in Colorado where we have spent the night.
We have received a news article about our involvement in the Frank Wilcox Fim Festival, we are superstars!! I was asked by the reporter who my favourite band was and that was misused in the article but the rest seemed fair.
27th March 2014 - LA to Flagstaff
770 kilometres today, we had hoped to get to Williams in Arizona. Made it past that to Flagstaff where we are spending the night in a Days Inn.
We left Carson at 10:00am - thanks to Maria and Charlie we had good directions for the best way out of LA and it worked like a charm. Made it to Barstow, around half way between LA and Vegas, at midday. Ryan took over the driving for the 2 hour leg along I40 to Needles. Needles is just before the California border with Arizona. In Needles we stopped for fuel and lunch. Ryan did the next leg of driving and got us into Arizona and just plugged away at the K's. Before our intended stop in Williams I checked hotels in Williams with no real success. Ryan suggested we push on to Flagstaff, which we did.
The hotel is on the old Route 66 and we had dinner at the Galaxy Diner.
Long day driving which makes our next few days a lot easier.
Fifties fun and fantastic food on historic Route 66. Breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, salads, steaks, chicken, pasta and old fashioned shakes, malts and sundaes from the classic fountain. Step into the 1950′s at Galaxy Diner. Remember the film stars of your youth-or your parent’s youth-Like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, James Dean, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne! See our walls of fame with over one hundred pictures and movie stills from the Golden age of film. Enjoy a fun atmosphere and a home cooked meal to the jukebox tunes of Bobby Darin, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley and more! The Route 66 Cruisers meet at the Galaxy Diner every Friday night—see classic cars at their finest! Swing Dance on Saturday nights with free lessons. Experience 50′s fun at the Galaxy Diner on Historic Route 66.