American Locations 13

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Arches NP, Utah

The next morning we got an early start into Arches NP.

As you can see in this picture, there was already a long line to gain entrance. Arches is a very busy national park.

There is a reason for this.

It has singular rock formations.

We pulled over at nearly every stop to look around.

Or course, we parked and hiked to see several formations.

For perspective in size, note the people at the bottom left.

Some formations seem impractical.

Others, just impressive. One arch after another.

How big are some of these arches? Check these photos out.

And still more arches.

And other interesting sights.

It was too much to see in one day. So after we wore ourselves out, we left the park and returned to Moab to crash at our camp site.

Next Location – Arches 2

American Locations 12

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Moab, Utah

The next morning we got back on I-70 at Fruita and continued west. The drive was striking as it followed the Colorado River, with the rugged landscape of McInnis Canyons behind it. Just before reaching Loma the paths of the Interstate and the river diverged Yet it continued to be a scenic drive even without the river as the Interstate plunged into the canyons. We emerged from the conservation area when we crossed from Colorado into Utah. We exited I-70 onto Rte. 128. From here we wouldn’t see an Interstate for weeks. We drove southwest on a rough blacktop road to see the ghost town of Cisco. There wasn’t much to see there except for these critters.

After Cisco, we turned south on Rte. 128. This section of the road was in much better condition. Our route took us back to the Colorado River.

It was a beautiful drive, one of the best of the entire trip.

As always, we picked scenic vistas to get out and stretch our legs.

We also stopped at several small BLM campgrounds along the river, but they were all full. We saw a lot of people from these campgrounds swimming and kayaking in the river. We continued on Rte. 128 along the Colorado River into Moab.

Moab was a huge traffic jam. We checked with Arches NP just north of Moab, but their campgrounds were full. So we drove back into Moab and found a private campground. It was merely a parking lot, with campers squeezed tightly together. What I remember most about this place was the cottonwoods were in bloom and white fuzz filled the air like a snow storm. Everything in the campground was covered in white. We walked around Moab a little, but there wasn’t a lot to see. So we went to bed early in order to get an early start in the morning exploring Arches NP.

Next Location – Arches NP, Utah

American Locations 11

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Colorado National Monument, Colorado

We drove south from Rifle Gap SP to the city of Rifle, where he got on I-70 and continued west. The drive was uneventful until the Interstate caught up with the Colorado River just beyond Grand Junction. It was much more scenic as the Interstate followed the river into Fruita. We exited there and turned south on Rte. 340. This took us into Colorado National Monument.

A twisting road wound from flat plains up into towering mountains.

There were a lot of bicyclists, and we had to carefully work our way around them. There was not much sight clearance on this twisty road. Also, there were many interesting sights on the route drawing my eyes off the blacktop before, and the bicyclists all around, me.

Near the highest elevation, we came to a visitor center where we could park and explore on foot.

My wife kept urging me to take another step back for this picture.

Notice in the picture I took of her she refused to back up any.

Note the visitor center at the top.

There were also some interesting trees along the way.

We got back in the motor home and continued driving the road that ran along the top of the monument. Of course, we stopped often at scenic vistas.

This picture gives some scale to the monument. See the two people at the railing?

After an afternoon of exploring, we exited the monument and found a private campground near the entrance. Following a late dinner, we walked next door to a Dairy Queen. Blizzards were a good way to cap a beautiful but tiring day.

   Next Location – Moab, Utah

American Locations 10

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Rifle Gap State Park, Colorado

Since we were tired from our hike, we didn’t drive very far on I-70. We exited at Rifle, and drove north on Rte. 13 to north on Rte. 325 to Rifle Gap State Park. We set up on the side of a lake.

That evening after dinner we walked around the campground. We realized we were in Colorado when we saw one camper had set his marijuana plants out to get some sun. The next morning we went exploring. We drove further north on Rte. 325 to Rifle Falls State Park and hiked all around the falls. I don’t know what this was growing on top of this stream.

The falls were running good since it was spring.

You could hike beyond the falls…

…to shallow caves.

You could enter the larger ones.

We also hiked to the top of the falls.

This is the creek feeding into the falls.

And going over it.

The view from the top.

After hiking all around the falls, we backtracked south on Rte. 325 to east on 226 to south on 247 to reach Harvey Gap State Park.

We drove around the lake, then got out to eat lunch, then hiked around the lake.

We returned to our campground and hiked around the lake there. The water looked so cold.

Believe it not, there were people out on it. The kayak wouldn’t be so bad if you were careful, but the paddleboard is a different matter. At least he was wearing a wet suit. But it didn’t look like his dog had one on.

We had another relaxing evening, then early the next morning we drove south to I-70 and continued west.

Next Location – Colorado National Monument, Colorado