Grand, Grand Circle!

September 25, 2017 – Provo, UT to Baker City, Ore.

We traveled over 500 miles today and were able to go as far as Baker City because we gained an hour coming back to Pacific Daylight Time. Tomorrow we will head out for Spokane to check up on my Dad. He’s still in the hospital and might be for a few more days. As the miles sped by at the too-fast speed of 80 miles an hour through Utah and Idaho, I was able to reflect on our trip.

Utah is blessed with extraordinary natural beauty and its parks are located so that travelers can go from one park to another and be amazed by each one for different reasons. Five parks in nine days and many other wonders in between.

You may ask me which park is my favorite. I might say Arches because of the natural arches and balanced rocks. Or Canyonlands  because of the petroglyphs and Needles. Or Capitol Reef because of the orchards and gorges. Or Bryce because of the wonderful hoodoos. Or Zion because of its majesty.

But really I loved them all for each of the gifts they offered.

I didn’t like the motel situation. High prices mostly, and our decision to go without making reservations made for some suspenseful days but also gave me material for my motel war stories. (I can’t wait to write a review for that awful Super 8 in Hurricane when I finish my blog post tonight.)

Go to Utah and travel the Grand Circle. Take your good hiking shoes and sense of adventure. It’s a special place in this world.

Mosquito Update: Since I didn’t come across any mosquitoes in Utah on my trip, I did a little research. Apparently the mosquito population doubled in size this year due to a very wet winter! One report even called southern Utah the mosquito capital of the state.  Actually I was sort of happy to read this because as you know my philosophy is that mosquitoes have very good taste and choose beautiful places to breed in. Utah is one such place. However, I’m not sorry that mosquito season was over when I visited.

Beehive Commendation: So I’ve been in conflict all day about whether I can continue to award beehive commendations if I’m not in the Beehive State.  However, I can, at least, award one last commendation  to you, my dear reader, for taking this journey with me and reading my blog. Writing is hard work, and you, the reader, make it all worthwhile by following my blog with your questions, thoughts, and likes.

My next adventure: The Aloha State in December. I can’t wait.

P1060578
Delicate Arch

 

 

 

 

The Temple of God: Zion

 

September 23, 2017 – Zion to Provo

Update: Dad is improving. He is in the hospital still and has had visitors. We are so thankful that he is feeling better.

Today was Sunday, and Ken and I spent it in one of God’s most beautiful cathedrals; Zion is majestic and holy. Sanctuary is also used as a word to describe it, but since Zion is the 5th most visited national park in the system, attracting nearly 5 million visitors a year, it’s hard to find a quiet, contemplative spot without someone or many someone’s coming around the bend. As a national park, it is 98 years old, but it possesses a grandeur that is typical of the other top ten parks and almost overcomes the mobs of people, including Ken and I, who love this park and want to experience its glory.

As I wrote in my blog about Bryce, we actually drove through Zion yesterday on the Mt. Carmel-Zion Road. The minute we were inside the park, awe began. Our first stop was at Checkerboard Mesa, a white cone of slick rock with distinctive cross hatching all over it.

However, our attention was attracted by cars and people gathering around the bend. As I started to drive through the parked cars, Ken said, “Bighorn Sheep.” I pulled the car over as quickly as I could, and we were able to watch bighorn sheep navigate one of the white cliff cones. It was a rare gift.

After spotting the sheep, we followed the red road to a mile-long tunnel with six cutouts along the way. It was built between 1920 and 1930, and was spooky to drive through–so dark between cutouts!

After negotiating the tunnel, we emerged into a canyon with towering cliffs of overwhelming mass and height. At this point, we saw cars parked everywhere, but at that moment we weren’t sure why. As we drove further, the crowds and people increased. Later we discovered that part of the park, starting in 1997, has been only only accessible by free shuttle bus to try to preserve the natural landscape as much as possible from its throngs of human fans and their vehicles.

War Story #3: As you know from last night’s blog, we spent the night in Hurricane. The Super 8 in Moab was nice and reasonably priced for Moab, so we decided to try the Super 8 in Hurricane for $120 a night. More than we wanted to pay, but probably a bargain for Zion accommodations. What a mistake! It was a dump. I don’t recommend it at all. The room decor was indescribably awful (truly) and needed replacing, especially the tub. The bed was broken down so Ken and I kept rolling into each other all night, but worst of all was all the thumping and banging that went on upstairs into the wee hours of the morning. The manager was not helpful at all, and it was the worst hotel we stayed in, and the only one that we made a reservation for!!!

In fact our night was so bad, we almost left for home without going back to explore the scenic drive at Zion. Good thing our good sense prevailed, and we returned to Springville, found the shuttle, and took off for the park. I was bundled up with many layers because it was very cold, in the high 20s and low 30s.

There were several stops along the scenic drive, but Ken and I choose to get off at the Court of the Patriarchs. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob are memorialized here in massive cliffs of sandstone.

After that we shuttled up to the Temple of Sinawava. Along the way, the shuttle bus driver pointed out hikers. They were hard to see because they were so small against the towering cliffs. Many of them had exited at the Grotto stop to hike the dangerous trail to Angel’s Landing, 1, 500 feet above the canyon floor. The shuttle driver said that at times on the trail known as Walter’s wiggles, the path is only several feet wide with a fixed chain railing on both sides for hikers to grasp as they cross a fin with sheer walls on either side to go to Angel’s Landing in Zion Canyon. 15 people have lost their lives on this trail not to mention the countless other hiking mishaps that have occurred over the years.

At the Temple of Sinawava, Ken and I decided to take the mile-long walk along the Virgin River to a place called the Narrows. Here people wade into the river and just keep walking as the canyon narrows. Honestly, it was way too cold to get into the river. Along the way, we enjoyed the rocks, the hanging gardens, the sound of water, squirrels and turkeys, and the absolutely gorgeous Zion Canyon.

The shuttle bus driver said that the Virgin River was not big like the Columbia, but it was powerful for its size. The Virgin River is the reason why the canyon exists as the water has deepened the canyon floor by hundreds of feet over many years. Much of the canyon has a high desert climate, but the water flowing down the canyon has created the perfect place for water-loving plants, such as ferns. We also saw natural hanging gardens along the River Walk and water flowing out of cracks in the sheer walls. It was a beautiful walk, and Ken walked the entire way with me. I was so proud of him.

At the Museum, Ken and I watched a film about Zion, and then we went on to the Visitor’s Center and shuttled our way back to our car in Springdale.

Then we hurtled down I-15 at 80 miles an hour for 260 miles to Provo for the the night. We just had to have another meal at Crackerbarrel, and honestly, the fried chicken was absolutely delicious tonight. Our room is so nice at half the price we paid in Hurricane and other stops. However, no matter what, Ken and I have had a wonderful Grand Circle.

Mosquito Update: It was the ants who were prevalent today especially around the Museum. You definitely had to be careful where you stood or put your bag down.

Beehive Commendation: Honestly, tonight I have to give my thanks to Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, Roosevelt had a plan to put young unemployed men to work on projects in public lands to gain employment skills. In Zion, as in many other parks, they build roads and camping grounds, fought fires, made trails, and helped construct buildings, bridges, and tunnels. We all appreciate their hard work in Zion today, as well as in many other national parks. Hurray for the CCC!

And, oh yes. The weather here today north of Zion.

IMG_6980

 

Hoodoo Heaven: Beautiful Bryce

 

 

September 23, 2017- Tropic UT to Bryce Canyon National Park to Hurricane, UT

Update on Dad: He is still in the hospital, but he is getting better. He has guests and so he needs to remember to rest, but he sounds upbeat, for the most part. He will stay in the hospital probably into next week. The doctors want to make sure that he is stable before they release him.

And yeah! Fast internet tonight in the hotel. So thankful.

Brrr! 29 degrees and cloudy this morning, but the breakfast room at the Value Inn was absolutely packed shortly after 7:00. Everyone was anticipating their day at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Ken and I arrived there around 8:00, hoping to miss the crowds. This park is popular. We decided to drive rather the 18-mile scenic drive rather than take the shuttle, and we were glad about this decision because it was so cold.

We went out to Bryce Point first, and there they were. The millions of hoodoos lining the landscape. Hoodoos are the walls of cliffs that have eroded. Rows of these narrow walls are fins, which I mentioned before in my blog post titled Ah! Arches. Apparently the action of frost forming and melting erodes the cracks in the fins. Holes or windows appear and the cracks get bigger. As the holes grow larger, their tops weaken and collapse. This leaves a column. Eventually rain further shapes the limestone columns into “bulbous spires.” These type of spires are known by the whimsical name, hoodoo.

Imagine an army of coral and cream warriors standing at attention. There you have it. The hoodoos guarding their beautiful Bryce Canyon.

The scenic drive took us up to an elevation of 9,100 feet. We drove through forests and burned timber. We drove through low-laying clouds. The trees that high were decked with frost. The air was cold, sharp, thin, and clean with just a hint of pine. So wonderful.

Along the way, we stopped. I couldn’t get enough of the hoodoos. The canyons were slotted. We saw a natural bridge that is really not a bridge because it was not formed by water. It was big. Both Ken and I said, “Wow, look at that.” I walked to the rim and looked over. Far below and close up were the canyons and the hoodoos. One time when I was peering over the rim, horses and riders came up a trail. That was probably a fun ride, I thought.

By the time we finished the scenic drive and finished up at Sunrise Point, the crowds were definitely growing. This is a very popular park. Our last stop was at the Visitor Center where we took the time to see a film about Bryce Canyon.

There I learned, among many other things, that the hoodoos have a life cycle. They form, stand at attention, and eventually collapse. I can relate to this at a human level. In fact, the Paiute people said the hoodoos were Legend People who tricky coyote turned into stone.

The movie also mentioned that the park was named after the Mormon pioneer, Ebenezer Bryce. He came to Paria Valley, currently part of Bryce National Park in 1875. He apparently had a dry humor. When visitors asked Ebenezer about the glorious vista spread out behind his cabin, he simply said, “It’s a hell of a place to find a cow.”

Bryce is truly a special place. Hoodoo heaven. It’s absolutely magic.

As we exited the park, we continued down Scenic Highway 12 to 89. On that drive, we entered Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest. Another eye-popping experience of red rock formations. It’s true. Here in Utah, you just never know what wonder is waiting for you right around the bend.

Tonight we are in Hurricane (yes, that is the name of this town) Utah. We had to drive through a part of Zion on Highway 9 to get here, and so tomorrow there will be more “wows” to try to describe as we go back to Zion to finish our tour of the Grand Circle.

Mosquito Update: Too cold. Mosquitoes are more tropical even though we stayed in Tropic last night.

Beehive Commendation: The National Park System. What a treasure!

 

 

Just Capital, Capitol Reef!

September 22: From Nowhere through Capitol Reef down Highway 12 to Tropic

Update: Dad is doing okay. Read below.

Congratulations to Garrett and Carol on their Wedding Anniversary today.

We left the Rodeway Inn and were sad to say goodbye to the resident dog, Sadie. She so wanted a room at the inn! (She belongs to the manager.) I took a photo of the dunes around the inn. Such a strange place.

Capitol Reef National Park has no gate, so we missed a few things before the entrance, for example,  the white sandstone Capitol Dome and the Fruita Schoolhouse. However, when we saw a sign for petroglyphs, the car quickly turned in. We saw many petroglyphs, but in the photo I included, the figures were quite high on the face of the rock. I wondered how they really got up there so far.

Capitol Reef is actually a giant wrinkle in the earth’s crust that is called a Waterpocket Fold. The layers of rocks today were actually layers of sediment formed by seas and tidal flats and they laid horizontally until a great force shoved the entire Colorado Plateau upwards about 65 million years ago. That upheaval created a   landscape of cliffs, domes, spires, canyons, and even some arches.

The Fremont River runs through this desert country which was home to Native Americans and a small group of Mormons who founded the village of Fruita. They came to this place for a warmer climate that could support their gardens, farms, animals, and orchards. Evidence of the Mormon presence there is evident today by the pies and other handicrafts in Gifford House and the orchards they planted. They were hardy, handy, and independent-all necessary pioneer qualities, especially in this remote and isolated place. (And yes, we bought two individual pies-peach and strawberry/rhubarb. Bless Ken. He said that my pies were better!!!)

As we drove along scenic drive the grandeur of the landscape unfolded. At the end of the scenic drive, the ranger told us to take the gravel road down to Capitol Gorge. “Totally worth it,” she said. Let me just say that this was quite an experience because you are driving through a tight canyon with rocks overhead that could become dislodged at any moment. Ken kept asking me if I really wanted to go down this road. Well, of course I did. At the end was a hike that I didn’t go on because we were concerned about moving on. (No reservations again!) As it turns out, we were smart to leave because other tourists starting pouring in and the parking spaces were gone.  It was crazy.

It was here that I think I indentified the rock known as the Golden Throne although I’m not completely sure. Look also at my photo of the Egyptian Temple. Don’t those rocks look like they could tumble down and smoosh you at any time?

I really enjoyed Capitol Reef. I guess because there were about eight to ten families that settled this land, it seemed a bit more civilized although it’s easy to see how hard life was here for these pioneers.

All the time that we were touring around, I was wondering about Dad. So when we got out of the park, we found a great little cafe in Torrey with outstanding food and good cell service. I was able to talk to both Carol and Dad and get an update on how things are going. Dad was quite chipper actually and was happy that the pain had subsided even though he told me, “it wasn’t really that bad.” I reminded him that the pain was bad enough to send him to the hospital. It looks like he will remain in the hospital over the weekend so that doctors have time to dissolve the blood clot in his lungs.

To get to Bryce for tomorrow, we traveled down Highway 12, an All American Highway. It was such a gorgeous drive. We saw the Waterpocket Fold country from on high. At one point around Boulder, we were at 9,600 feet elevation. (Good thing there was no snow in the forecast for today.) We also drove through the forbidding landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. I included a photo of Powell Point which is a pink cliff that forms the topmost layer of the Colorado Plateau’s Grand Staircase.

War Story #2. No reservations. Lots of people traveling. Weekend. Very small towns of under 100 people. So what are the chances of our getting a hotel for the night? Not so good until we got to tiny Tropic, just before Bryce.  One hotel room at America’s Best Value Inn  had just become available because someone else didn’t want it. We plunked down $150.00 senior rate and were glad to have a place for the night. Unfortunately Tropic does not live up to its name. With an elevation of 7,100 feet, the temperatures are more arctic at 44 tonight than tropical.

Once we got settled, I talked Ken into driving out to Kodachrome Basin State Park. About 70 monolithic spires dot the basin, and they are quite lovely, especially in the evening light. At Chimney Rock (not pictured), I read that National Geographic named this park after a photo shoot in 1949 because the photos were taken with Kodachrome film.

Tomorrow on to Bryce. We will drive to Zion later in the day, and guess what? We have some reservations for a hotel room this time.

Mosquito Update: They are all in Alaska.

Beehive Commendation: To my Dad. His body is working hard to get well, and he maintains such an optimistic and plucky attitude. We’re all praying for you, Dad.

The Alien’s Playground

 

September 21: Moab to the Needles in Canyonlands to Natural Bridges to the middle of Nowhere

We left Moab with places we wanted to go, but we weren’t sure where we would exactly end up. Ken likes to travel this way–me, not so much.

Our first adventure was the Needles section of Canyonlands. We wanted to see the tall spires of sandstone where eroding fractures have taken needle-like shapes. As it turns out, some of the famous natural attractions, like Angel Arch, are only accessible by hiking. The trails were more difficult than I wanted to attempt, and we had an ambitious driving schedule ahead of us anyway.

We turned up Highway 211 to go to Needles. Our first stop was 12 miles in at Newspaper Rock. You can see from the panel that this is an exquisite example of Indian writing, petroglyphs.

Twenty-two miles later after a spectacular drive we entered the park. On the way, we had a lot of fun imaging what the rock structures looked like. Ken said over and over again that this is an alien’s playground. I must say that I have to agree.

One thing that we could do in the park was go to Pothole Point. We hiked out onto the slick rock across the potholes following the cairns. Across the valley into the distance were the beautiful Needles of Canyonlands, and we actually found one pothole that was still filled with water.

We drove back to 191 and continued on to Monticello and Blanding. After Blanding, we took 95 to Natural Bridges Monument. I learned that water creates these natural bridges, but other types of erosion, like wind, create arches. The first bridge, Sipapu, is really hard to spot. It is in the photo, but you really need to look for it, just like we did standing at the overlook. The second, and youngest bridge, Kachina, is large and still is being eroded by floodwaters. Ken and I had a disagreement about actually seeing the bridge, but I uploaded the photo that I’m pretty sure is Kachina Bridge. The last bridge, Owachomo, is the oldest. It is being eroded by frost and “seeping moisture.”

After the Natural Bridges Monument we turned back onto the scenic 95 and drove through such vistas that I cannot even describe with words or capture in photos. We went through a portion of Glen Canyon and crossed the the muddy Colorado River.

Now for one of our war stories. We saw that Hanksville was 84 miles from Natural Bridges, and that this little town would probably be our first chance for lodging. The scenery changed from the red sandstone into gray sedimentary rock and gravel and lots of white slick rock. The first thing we saw in Hanksville was “The Whispering Sand” motel. Yeah, I thought. I drove by just to see what else was available, but there was really nothing else. I drove back to The Whispering Sands and guess what. NO VACANCY! Out here in the middle of nowhere. It was about 5:00.

Capitol Reef National Park was 30 miles away and beyond that the town of Torrey. We took off again. Since I had looked early, I knew that it might be hard to find accommodations in Torrey as well, but there are more hotels there. Just one room is what we need.

Then, for some unknown reason, a Rodeway popped up. I turned in immediately. We asked for a room, and the hotel manager said that she had a cancellation but had been full earlier. We took a breath. Then, as she was trying to check us in, Choice Hotels, the owner of Rodeways, checked in another guest online. We were dashed. Ken said he would have trouble driving any further. The manager kept working and then decided to offer us a room that she hadn’t intended to rent because the TV wasn’t working quite properly. We took it with such relief because this hotel is east of Capitol Reef. If we had driven on into Torrey, we would have had to go through the middle of the park. When I talked to Ken about this near miss in finding a room, he just blithely said, “I’m lucky this way.” The manager also gave us a deal on the price of the room.

We asked where we could eat. The manager said we could drive back to Hanksville (20 miles) or to Torrey (30 miles). However, she had a freezer of pot pies, so we happily cooked them in our microwave. We are literally at a Rodeway in the middle of Nowhere. Look at the photo of our view. You will see the gray rock Mesa. This view also afforded us a view of all the guests that turned into the parking lot and were sent away. We felt so sorry for them.

We have had no service on our cell phones for much of the day, but when I connected to the Rodeway internet, I got a message from Carol. It wasn’t good. Dad went to the hospital in Spokane today. He has a small blood clot in one lung and pneumonia in the other. So very, very upsetting.

We will continue with our trip at least for tomorrow and monitor how things go with Dad. He is at Deaconness Hospital with his wound doctor, Dr. Jones, and his heart doctor, Dr. Canaday.  If necessary, I could fly home from Salt Lake City, but most likely Ken and I would just do a marathon drive home. Prayers please.

Mosquito Update: Ken got bitten by something today. We don’t know what, but it caused his leg to bleed.

Beehive Commendation: Tonight my beehive commendation goes to Carol, my sister-in-law, who has been dealing with all the problems at home with Dad. Bless her. Garrett, too. But a second commendation goes to Facebook Messenger. We have no cell service here at the Rodeway except for Internet. I decided to try to call Carol on Messenger, and, would you believe it. It worked! We had a crystal clear connection, and she was able to explain what had been going on all day with Dad. It was so comforting to be able to talk to her. Thank you Facebook.

 

Ah! The Arches

September 20, 2017: Arches National Park

Maybe you were all wondering why we went to the movies yesterday before visiting the majestic Arches National Park. It’s simple. We saved the best for last. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it was to choose the photos I selected. A few of them are not very good because of the light, but I used them anyway just to tell the story of our Arches Day.

Ken and I climbed out of bed at 5;30 so that we could dress and eat and make it to the park entrance well before the opening time of 7;00. We observed long lines of cars when we drove by Arches at other times. As it turned out, we were first in line. We had to wait about 20 minutes, and at 7:00, there was no ranger in sight. So we just drove on in. We have a Senior Pass anyway. The cars behind us followed. When we got just as ways up the hill, we noticed that the ranger was finally at the window.

The reason that the coloring of some of the first photos is off is because we got to the Windows section of the park while the sun was rising and the arches were in the East. I really have no words to describe this drive through towering sandstone walls and pieces of sandstone called fins. The structures almost looked alive. As we were driving we saw President Washington, a fat man with no head, three wonderfully tall columns called the Gossips, and much more. We had so much fun imagining what to name the structures that we saw.

At Balanced Rock we entered the Windows section with North and South Arches and Turret Arch. The path to these arches was easy and the scene from the arch spectacular. In that same area is Double Arch. The path was once again easy although at the Arch, I opted not to climb the rocks to the top.

Delicate Arch, the image on cards, license plates, brochures and more was another stop. The lower viewpoint was easy, but far from the arch. The upper viewpoint was still a distance away but it was closer than at the base of the trail. This is one time that I wish I had hiking skills. People can hike out to Delicate Arch, but it is a moderately difficult hike with an elevation gain of 480 feet. I regretted not being able to go out there and see it up close. Honestly this was a feeling I had a lot throughout the park. I had to pass up Double O Arch, too, because it is classed as a difficult hike. Delicate Arch is an isolated fin that stands on its own with the La Sal Mountains in the background. When you picture Utah in your mind, an image of Delicate Arch will probably pop up.

Next we moved on to the Devil’s Garden area of the park. I took a photo of Salt Valley because the entire park is situated above a salt bed. Salt accumulated over millions of years ago in the Colorado Plateau. Over time debris covered the salt and created pressure. Salt is unstable in this condition and shifts. Basically it is all this shifting that shaped this land . The major formations are mostly either Entrada or Navajo Sandstone and they cap the park. Wind and water have worked to break up the sandstone, leaving behind the arches, columns, walls, and balanced rocks.

Ken and I had fun going into the Sand Dune Arch. Some Chinese people were taking photos inside the sandstone structure, and one offered to snap our photo. After that I walked on alone through the blackbrush out to Broken Arch. I was a little nervous because I was all by myself, but I did fine. Later the Chinese group came down the path, but by that time, I was back.

The Devil’s Garden parking lot was full, presumably with people wanting to hike out to Double O Arch and others in that area. Ken and I found a parking place and were able to take an easy hike to Skyline Arch. This Arch used to be smaller, but a large chunk of it fell out suddenly in 1940.

As we exited the Park we stopped by Park Avenue with columns of stately sandstone. This is also an area with a lot of balanced stones.  I opted not to take the trail through the valley as it is a primitive trail, and I’m not confident following cairns. Plus–I was tired. I did a lot of hiking today. And, most important of all, those balanced rocks look like they could tumble down at any time for any reason. No smoshed Garnet!

We ate in Moab and then had a little time left to track down some petroglyphs, Indian writing. They can be hard to spot as the tablets are not marked due to graffiti damage. We drove by one on Golf Course Road and couldn’t spot the place until I found a photo on Goggle. We had passed it numerous times and thought it looked like the place, but we didn’t see anything. We stared and stared, and then Ken finally saw the figures.

Our advice-go to Arches early. It gets full and then there is no parking. We noticed a long line of cars waiting to get in when we left.

It was a wonderful day.

Mosquito Update: There are some small flies in the desert. I don’t know what they are. I was wondering if I was seeing some “no-see-ums.”

Beehive Commendation: (Update to last night night’s commendation. Not only did Jim and Bonnie Greenfield give us brochures and a way to plan this trip, they are also caring for our house while we are gone. Their son, Terry, is picking up our mail. They are the best neighbors.)  However for today, the commendation goes to Mother Nature. Today we saw some of her most beautiful work. Arches is a wonder.

A Day at the Movies

 

September 19: Highway 128

Today we drove through Utah’s version of Hollywood Strip along the Colorado River and, as with our other Moab experiences, it was an “ooh-ah” day.

The rock formations and sheer cliff walls created a dramatic backdrop for the curvy road. One of the first pull-outs we stopped at was Big Bend Bouldering Area. I had never heard of it before, but apparently bouldering is a popular sport similar to rock climbing, and this place has great boulders that attract climbers from around the world.

We made many stops on this road, but at milepost 14.2 was the Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge. It’s a destination resort, but in the lodge is a movie museum that travelers can visit. Honestly, I must have had my head in the sand my entire life because this area around Moab has been heavily filmed. I looked at the list of movies-37 between 1949 (Wagon Master) to 2002. Many of the movies are A-list and have attracted big stars like John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It basically started with John Ford, so a lot of the movies were Westerns.

Then my little brain made a big connection. Thelma and Louise! Sure enough. It was filmed right here. I took a photo of Gena Davis’ dummy who went over the cliff in the famous final scene with a dummy of Susan Saradon. (I presume a dummy although it wasn’t on display.) As it turns out, that scene was not filmed at the Grand Canyon, but at Dead Horse Point State Park. My sunset photo was taken there on the September 18 blog post, “Wow!”

Then I started looking at one poster for commercials made in the area. Do you remember the ad of the car on top a long column of rock? Well That was filmed here, too-Castle Rock. Later when we drove out to see it, we saw Castle Rock along with the Priests and Nuns and Mother Superior and the Convent. All of these are large rock formations not far from Red Cliffs Lodge.

Movies are definitely big business in Moab.

We ate lunch on the River Deck-a barbecue that had veggie burgers for picky eaters like me! The view of the red cliffs and the wigwams was wonderful.

We drove on and stopped at so many more places. Fissure Rock was wonderful. It sparks the imagination to observe the rocks and think about what they look like. These rocks really have character. I wonder what they would say if they could talk.

Towards the end of the drive we saw a panel of Indian petroglyphs. The elk, and a maybe bear and some human figures are visible, but sadly so is some graffiti. Perhaps this vandalism is why this pullout was not marked.

We came back into Moab and just took it easy and did some laundry. Tomorrow is the big one. Arches. We will leave early as the park is so beloved that there are still long lines to enter.

Mosquito Update: We are simply not seeing many insects. They must exist out here in the dessert, but they are not showing up.

Beehive Commendation: I special thank-you tonight to Jim and Bonnie Greenfield, our neighbors in Renton. They gave us a huge packet of Utah brochures, many for Moab. Even though they are from 2007, we have been able to use them for advance planning. This has made our trip so much easier.