Friday, May 28th – Grand Junction, CO to Moab, UT
After an early breakfast, we headed back into Grand Junction to start our ride through Colorado National Monument from the east entrance. The monument was opened in 1910, and has a road that climbs to the top of a large mesa which is about 2,000 feet above the land surrounding the mesa itself. The road through the monument follows the rims of several canyons for about 20 miles. The views were impressive, as shown by a couple of our pictures.
After spending the morning touring Colorado National Monument, we headed back into Fruita to have lunch at a restaurant recommended to us by a park ranger, the Hot Tomato Cafe. The Hot Tomato Cafe served great pizza and seemed catered to a young, hip clientele.
After lunch and quick gas stop, we headed west on I-70, and then southwest on Utah Highway128, toward Moab and Arches National Park. By this time, it had become very windy with gusts easily reaching 30 to 40 mph, and the temperatures were in the mid 90s. Highway 128 started across rolling land filled with sagebrush (and little else), and eventually entered into a canyon. The views in the canyon were beautiful.
By the time we reached Moab, it was around 5 p.m., it was 95 degrees, and the air was very hazy due to the wind-blown dust and some upwind forest fires. We briefly stopped at the Arches National Park Visitor's Center; however, since the photography was not going to be very good, we decided to wait and tour Arches in the morning, perhaps around sunrise. We headed to our hotel, checked in, and walked to Moab Brewery where we enjoyed a cold beer and good dinner. Since we decided to go into Arches National Park before dawn for some sunrise photography, we headed to bed early.