Falling in love with Moab
I was going to detail, in my final road trip column, a summery of our trip and try to find a message, if there is one, on whether it was everything we thought it might be and what that might mean. A greater message and meaning, if you will.
Instead we came to Moab and fell in love. The amazing scenery filled us with awe with its mouth-dropping beauty. We were going to be there for only one-and-a-half days, so we drove around for a while to see what kinds of things were offered in Moab for entertainment. The answer is all kinds — from jeep rides through the desert to ATVs for rent (don’t even get me started on these infernal, noisy machines,) to river rafting, bikes for rent and on and on. It is an adrenaline junkie’s heaven.
My youngest son had come to Moab several times for their annual bike race, as a matter of fact. We found a Sunset River Raft Ride that sounded perfect for us — quiet, relaxing and informative. Far from the maddening crowds, and hopefully quieter.
We started our little journey with a “cowboy dinner,” which was pretty good, and then we got on our raft. It was really more of a barge than a raft, as it was long and held about 50 people.
We started out, just kind of put-putting up the river and we were all amazed with the huge cliffs rising above us on both sides. We had a narrator — with a 10 gallon hat and boots yet — giving us a little history of Moab, talking about the erosion that caused these gorgeous formations. It was very relaxing — just listening to the water under the boat, looking at the cliffs, and then, suddenly, a gigantic silvery moon rose behind the monolithic cliffs. It was a spellbinding moment.
We continued on up the river and music started playing from the back of the boat — loud music. “The Star Spangled Banner” and “This is Our Country,” all verses. There were campers perched all along the banks of the river, and everyone stopped what they were doing to come out and try to figure out what was going on. I would have much preferred just listening to the water, but hey, it’s their football.
They had a light show also, which consisted of a truck driving along the narrow road that runs along the river and shining powerful lights against the cliffs. It was very impressive, but again, the campers probably didn’t appreciate it. The trip was fun, even with all the racket; it was worth the money and we would recommend it, cowboy hat and all.
The next day we visited Arches National Park and were blown away with the amazing rock formations. I couldn’t stop taking pictures! That evening we went to dinner at a resort along the river and toasted the mighty Colorado and Moab on our last day there.
The next day we headed for Durango — we were on the downhill side of our trip and headed for our favorite restaurant, Ken and Sue’s, to have dinner.
I would like to make an observation about dining on our travels: since we are of a kind of advanced age, we don’t eat as much as we used to and most times split a salad, entrée and dessert. The interesting thing is a restaurant’s response to this. We had a braised lamb shank at one place that was just tossed on the table for us to dismember ourselves, and then a wonderful restaurant in Bellingham, Wash., happily split salad, entrée and dessert and arranged them beautifully on their own plates.
I think that says a lot about how a restaurant feels about its patrons, and if they are really as customer service oriented as they say they are. We were surprised that at Ken and Sue’s, the kitchen does not split anything and our server, at tiny tableside, had to do it for us. We were on our own for our entrée and I had to do the best I could with two forks. I was surprised because it is a high-end restaurant. It wasn’t about money — it was about portion size, as we repeated again and again.
We are home now and I wanted to tell you what we thought, in summary, about the trip. Riding in the car gives you an immediacy, a connection to the countryside that you don’t get flying in a plane. When I asked my husband if it was worth it, he said, “you need to define ‘it.’”
See, that’s what I get for marrying a scientist. I explain — the hassle, the effort of covering the country in 350 mile-per-day segments. There really was no other way to do it, but it would have been far easier on our bodies if we could have done it in two rather than three weeks. I shall never forget driving through the redwood forest with trees so tall that you couldn’t see their tops, like mighty leafy sentinels, with fog sifting through them, lined along the highway. Then there is the Oregon coast, through the rain, with its rocky shores and pounding surf, and of course, gorgeous Moab, with it’s geologic miracles.
We will be driving, later this year, to that happy little island, St. Simon’s, off the coast of Georgia. So I guess you could say I’m hooked on road trips — hassle and all. Our kids will be joining us for a mini-reunion so that is definitely something to look forward to. Surprise, surprise, I’m planning it already!
Next column: I’ll try to get back to normal and give you some recipes next time. Stay tuned!