Arches National Park

In honor of my love of travel, especially out west, I am reposting our amazing trip to Utah, first posted September 22, 2009. I seriously want to visit these sites again!

We were only on the interstate for an hour or so before we took an exit to a more ‘scenic route’ going west, day three. I have a great appreciation for those side roads because they are, well, scenic. Though the roads are usually narrow, curvy and very hilly, the sites to be seen are so worth it.

On our way to Moab, where we would visit Arches National Park, the sites were unbelievable; seemingly getting better and better each mile we drove. Once we arrived in Moab, we set out for a driving tour of the famed arches. We could have rented a multi-passenger jeep, with or without a guide to show us around, or the oh so popular OTV (off road vehicles), but we chose to stick with the familiar, our trusty rental van.


The various rock formations did resemble the things they were named after, with a couple of exceptions. The one that looked like a canned ham, Balanced Rock, I think it was called, and the one that looked like the Orient three kings from the Christmas song. I’m not sure what the official name of that one is.

Arches National Park

Arches Utah

One of the last formations on the tour was The Arch…the one on the license plates. We had to abandon the comfort of our air conditioned van for the hot and very dry air, to walk a one mile trail in order to view this. My parents decided to stay close to the van, under the shade of an unidentified, very small and willowy tree. Since they were awaiting our return, we only hiked until the arch came into view and then took a few minutes to stop and watch the ligthening and sheets of rain way off in the distance, before returning to the parking lot. It was hard to tell if the storm was coming our way or how long it would take for it to get there if it was. As it turns out, it only rained a tiny bit where we were, but we were all happy to be back in the air conditioned van, gulping cold bottled water.

Arches  Park

After dinner, in a very western looking restaurant, we went looking for the Moab’s other claim to fame, The Apache Motel. The AAA Tour Book stated that John Wayne stayed in that very motel when he was on location in Moab, filming a movie. Either John Wayne no longer holds any appeal to this current generation of movie-goers, or no one even remembers who he was, because it was not an easy place to find. There was a lone sign with an arrow pointing down a side street. Once we turned off the main road, we were pretty much on our own. When we finally discovered the location of this infamous motel, it was much to our disappointment.

The Apache Motel, standing there with its neon vacancy sign flashing, was the only thing Hollywood about it. It was, in fact, an old and needy motel that had seen better days. In spite of its appearance, I did snap a few pictures because I DO remember John Wayne, in all his cowboy/soldier glory, and it belongs to a place in the past.

Apache Motel

We were most definitely in canyon land, and tomorrow we would see even more.

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