Saturday, May 4th – Sunday, May 5th, 2013
We returned to Capitol Reef only to be disappointed in the amount of construction going on. We planned to check out the petroglyphs; they were only partially accessible. We wanted to hike Hickman’s Bridge Trail; closed to repair damages. As we passed by an orchard, Trevor slowed down to converse with some wild turkeys.
We passed through recreational land where a lot of dirt bikers were riding, then took Route 24 East where we rejoiced as we had the pleasure of passing another vehicle for the first time ever! Our van could only move at snail speed. We were slow. This was a big deal. We took I-70 East to the Pilot Truck Stop in Green River, UT where we utilized their showers.
Next stop, Arches National Park! We asked the ranger with the lisp if she knew where to find any free places to camp, and she didn’t know of any. Instead of exploring the park so late in the day, we headed into the town of Moab. We toured the shops and looked for some budget eats, but unfortunately every option was pricey or closed (even though it was only 3 pm).
We settled on a place called Eddie McStiff’s, which I would soon regret. The prices were jacked up for the dinner hours, but we were starving so we threw in the towel. We started out with a basket of fries, which were overpriced and the basket was only partially filled up (who skimps on french fries?). Not being one to complain and trying to make the best of our evening, I let it go.
After a long wait (in a nearly barren restaurant since it was an early dinner), the waitress brought out our burgers. As I brought the burger up to my mouth, it smelled absolutely rancid. I thought maybe I was imagining things, so I took a bite of it anyway. Nope, not imagining things, it tasted like ALPO dog food. I spit it out and I was done.
Trevor’s food seemed okay, but I was not risking food poisoning for the sake of being passive. I didn’t exactly have a toilet I could go running to if I needed to get sick. He initially questioned my judgement until he took a whiff of it himself and agreed, it smelled spoiled. I told the waitress, who smelled it too (and gave a disgusted look no less), who told the manager who insisted it was safe to eat. I’m not buying it buddy! Figuratively or literally! He then suggested I buy something else, but my stomach had already turned. I couldn’t eat anything unless you force fed me at that point. The damage was done. After he tried giving us the run around, they waived the fee.
On our way out of the restaurant, I passed a dumpster that smelled exactly like the putrid burger I nearly ate. I was paranoid the rest of the day and was constantly aware of where the closest bathroom was in case I needed to throw up from both ends. Although my appetite didn’t return, I got lucky and didn’t get sick. I cheered up briefly when I saw a dog walking around with a cat on its back. They’re the comics of the animal world.
Trevor talked to some shop owners and they suggested places to camp. We took Kane Creek in search of BLM land. To get there, you had to drive on a narrow, sketchy cliffside road along the Colorado River. We questioned our van’s capabilities so we passed, and decided to return to town.
After a lot of driving around, we ended up staying in Moab. We parked outside of a 24 hour laundromat around midnight, cleaned some clothes, then used the leftover quarters to rinse off the van. We returned to a back road near the laundromat to park for the night, passing a party being busted by the police on the way there. After such a crappy day, I had a restless night. I hoped the next would be better.
It was Cinco de Mayo, so there were good tunes on the radio and I had a food truck called “Quesadilla Mobilla” in my crosshairs for the afternoon. First, we checked out Arches National Park. We didn’t get far in the park before a tourist did something stupid. He stopped his RV in the middle of the road and decided to do a U-Turn in front of traffic rather than drive ahead until he got to a parking lot. He ended up getting the RV stuck and blocked traffic for a good while.
Before it got too crowded, we made our first stop at Wolf Ranch parking lot where the Delicate Arch trailhead was located. We passed some petroglyphs on our way back to the parking lot, and were glad we hiked there first thing in the morning since the trail was starting to get really busy. We checked out the Salt Valley Overlook before hiking the Sand Dune Arch Trail.
We bypassed the Devil’s Garden area which was overcrowded, so we turned around to watch the rock climbers in the Windows section.
I found it really hard to enjoy my time in Arches and Moab. Even in the off season, it was super crowded and the bulk of the people there were being inconsiderate asshats on top of it. Moab is an adrenaline sports mecca which attracts a lot of rock climbers, mountain bikers, hikers and off-roaders, but it also attracts a lot of entitled, arrogant douchbags. I’m not saying all the people there are bad, but at least half of them are pretty loathsome in my opinion.
After getting some good food at the “Quesadilla Mobilla”, we took US-191 out of Moab to Route 128 East along the Colorado River. We passed desert recreational areas and ranch land with gray hilltops covered in patches of grasses before returning to I-70 East into the state of Colorado.
We paid a visit to the welcome center in Fruita, CO before stopping in Grand Junction, CO for the day. Moab and Arches had made us very tense, and although we were relieved to be in new territory, we had a very rainy week ahead of us and no set plans.
Jump Back to Part 24: Antelope, Ventriloquists & Rocks
Jump Ahead to Part 26: Wild Rose, Snow & Cannibalism
Start Over at Part 01: The Blue Bubble, Freebies & A Rude Awakening