As we were deciding where to go after Colorado Springs, I posted to Facebook and asked for input from other fulltiming families. Jason of the Simpson Six
recommended Moab, UT; in fact, I think his exact words were "All roads lead to Moab." (If they weren't, they should have been.) Moab has been the surprise jewel in this trip so far. It was so surprisingly beautiful- in a rocky/Mars/alien-kind of way. We only scheduled a week there and I wish we had a month.
|Us at Arches National Park (at the Sand Dune Arch)|
I found a place called Archview RV Resort. It is right at the upper end of my nightly budget of $50/night for their preferred/deluxe/whatever sites. We were in the front row with a view of Arches National Park
. Only, we didn't fully realize it until it was one of our last days- but you can actually see the Windows Arches from there.
|View from our awning|
|Snow Capped Mountain (I'll admit, I sort of fell in love)|
|Panorama view of the campsites|
They take pretty good care of the place, here they're using a piece of fence, some timbers, and a tractor to smooth out the gravel road.
|Smoothing out the gravel|
They either didn't have laundry facilities, or they were very small. We went into Moab for a "real" laundromat
. While there, we stopped at the bike shop to get Logan's tire fixed
. Some plant there punctured his tire with a little barb. Pretty gnarly little thing.
|Local bike shop - Rim Cyclery|
Leaving there, we noticed the signs said that the "Farmer's Market
" was happening back at a park. They had a couple of organic stands of veggies, some crafts, someone selling pieces from a tray of lasagna-type stuff, and people setup with some big ole drums. The kids banged dem sticks for a bit and then played tag with some other kids.
One thing that Grandma Lisa got Paige into was horseback riding. They would periodically do trail rides together. Paige saw a pamphlet for horseback riding and she knew it was something that she wanted to do. The ride that we signed her up for was at the Hauer Ranch
. I don't know why, but I foolishly thought I'd be able to take my mobile hotspot with me and could work while she was out. Fat chance- if you could have negative bars, I'm sure this would be the place for it. But it was beautiful. And the people were wonderful.
|Such a beautiful view|
|I'll admit, this made me chuckle.|
|And she's up and ready!|
|Paige and the owner|
Paige was grouped up with a family who literally have a ranch back in the north east. They were experienced riders to say the least! When Paige got back, they talked of the trotting and galloping that they did. Based on Paige's ear to ear grin, any fear that she felt was overshadowed by the fun/joy of doing it! I'm more thankful that I made her wear the helmet (she tried hard to not be the only one wearing one- too bad, so sad kiddo).
|She loved it!|
Coming out from the Ranch, there were signs for the Fisher Towers. Paige was sore from the 2-hour ride and I was in flip-flops. A hike seemed like a perfect idea. We walked back in a little bit but ultimately didn't go far. Still very cool.
|Fisher Towers sign|
|Look for Paige for scale|
|Such a beautiful girl.|
|One of us is properly protecting our feet.|
Coming out, she was ravenously thirsty. Her water had gotten warm and she still drank it. There are no stores back that way, so we stopped at the first place that we could- the Castle Creek Winery
. Fortunately, they had refrigerated water. We bought 3 bottles for the 2 of us and she drank both of hers. I also tried to buy wine, but my description of "sickeningly sweet wine that most people would find gross" didn't yield any results from the woman working there. She tried to tell me to look for something called the "the girls are better" or some-German-thing like that. Clearly, it didn't stick. Oh well, beer it is.
Moab is a great place to go for dinosaur activities. We made a day of first going to a Fossil Trail
. Even as an adult, this one still made me giddy excited - there are literally fossils in the rocks! The park did a nice job of posting signs and telling you what to look for. I wouldn't want to make the drive in a car, but any kind of SUV should be good to go (there were a couple of sandy patches of road/trail). There are campsites back in there if your camper is small enough. If not, there were campers in the parking areas (before the sand).
In fact, all of the boondocking opportunities made me long for understanding the how of this better. I have the electricity figured out (understanding generators and solar). My big fear is water (fresh and waste) as our 40 gallon tank doesn't last us long at all with our current water consumption. Even more than that- I'm lost as to how you know where you can boondock and how you know if you'll make it or not. I look at websites like freecampsites.net
with a longing of a young teen boy looking at the Victoria Secret catalog.
Anyway, back to the Fossil Trail. This really surprisingly kept the kids' interest. At times, I had a pretty good death grip on Logan's hand. Nothing major, I just have this fear of him taking a tumble.
|Info board for area|
|Ready for exploring|
|Some things require up close examination|
|The sign and trail|
After the Fossil Trail, we followed it up with more dinosaur stuff and visited Moab Giants
. A relatively new place in Moab that has a movie, a trail of models of dinosaurs, and an indoor museum. We enjoyed our time there and even got sucked into the gift shop afterwards.
|Real [fake] dinosaurs!|
|Even the stick bug was exciting|
|WATCH OUT! WATCH OUT!|
|If I'm going to be eaten, I want it to be with you.|
|Museum exhibits were pretty sparse, but interesting none-the-less|
After Moab Giants
, we tried making a drive for the snow-capped mountain to see what we could see. Unfortunately, hunger for dinner and losing light won out. We bailed after a bit and turned our attentions towards finding dinner. Trip Advisor sent us to a place called Susie's Branding Iron. The food was decent (not great, not bad, just good) BUT our waitress was abducted by aliens sometime between dinner and when we wanted dessert. We finally had to flag someone down in order to get our check and pay.
Still wanting an ice cream fix- we stopped at the Moab Diner
. Ironically, there was a huge delay between placing our order and actually getting our ice cream. We didn't notice as Mandie and Logan were playing together and Paige and I were looking back through the horse-riding pictures. I still don't know why one delay annoyed us and the next, we barely knew. In fact, we really didn't know until the manager came by right after we got our ice cream. She asked us if we had just gotten it and if we had also ordered dinner. When we said we were just there for ice cream, she shook her head, apologized, and then told us that the ice cream was on the house. Very nice of her and we assured her that she didn't have to. But she did and we were thankful. And look at that ice cream!
|Cinnamon roll ice cream magic|
On Sunday, we finally got a chance to head into Arches NP
. Being a weekend, it was fairly busy. We were met with a line of cars at the gate.
We went into the Welcome Center and basically threw ourselves at the mercy of one of the rangers. As Logan jumped around and climbed on us, we explained that we needed somewhere that would be safe for him and would hopefully catch our interest. She gave us a few ideas and after we watched the movie there, we headed out.
|Obligatory Sign Picture|
The plan was to drive to the very back of the park and then find somewhere to each a picnic lunch. So that's what we did. We started at a spot on the ground in the shade, but snagged a table in the shade as someone got up.
After lunch, we took a drive through the campground. Our rig size prevents us from parking there, but it looked very nice. Then I took us on a drive back a dirt road- I find these irresistible even if they don't seem to go anywhere. We drove on this one for a while and saw a pretty cool mini dirt tornado (like super small, but perfectly funnel-shaped cloud of dirt off of the road).
|I love dirt roads.|
And then we headed to the ranger's top suggestion for Logan- the Sand Dune Arch. This is a fairly confined space with a sand that rivals many beaches. The kids made sand angels, ran and jumped, and had a good ole time. Plus, well- it's beautiful.
|The path to walk back.|
|First steps in the sand.|
|Such beauty. And the arch was awesome.|
|Needless to say- they liked the sand.|
|All of the visitors were very respectful about taking turns for photos.|
Moving right along, we checked out the Delicate Arch from a distance (from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint). It would have been nice to walk up closer to it, but we were watching the clock to try and make it back to the Welcome Center for the kids to get their Junior Ranger badges. (As it turns out, we didn't make it that day and had to go back the next day anyway.)
|Taking photos with his fake camera.|
Next we drove out to the Windows Arches. I hiked with the kids up into one of the arches. Truthfully, I am surprised Logan didn't complain about his hand hurting as I held it!
|I had no idea what he was doing.|
|Mandie figured it out, so I helped him.|
|Logan and I hanging out.|
And then all 4 of us walked up to another set of arches. These, the kids went up and literally laid down in the archway.
|A boy on a rock, life is good.|
|One of the Windows Arches|
|Laying on my back looking upwards at the crack|
|The kids, just relaxing|
Before too long, we made our way back down and headed out.
|Pano looking back at the arches|
The next day, we drove back to the visitor center so that the kids could get their Junior Ranger badges. And, to thank the manager for our free ice cream, we went back to the Moab Diner
for lunch (and more ice cream, of course!).
|This kid likes strawberry ice cream.|
|We passed this guy driving back, this picture doesn't do it justice.|
A week goes quick when you still have to work. I'd surely love to find a job that just gives me money for no work. But alas- hasn't happened! Before we knew it- Tuesday/move day was rolling around it was time to head on down the road. In fact, to get a jump on our drive- we left Monday night. We found one last beautiful overlook as we said goodbye *for now
* to Moab.
|Loaded up and ready to go.|
|The colors were beautiful|
|More of the colors.|
|Sometimes, for a fraction of a moment, he just sits and thinks.|
Finally, to cap off our night before we hit a truck stop- we came to Mile Marker 0 for I-70
. This was fun because Ellicott City, MD is where the other end of I-70 is and we lived not 10 minutes from there.
|Mile Marker 0 for I-70!|
|Terrible truck stop picture|
Tomorrow is VEGAS, BABY!
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