Colorado-Utah 2010 Trip - Day 9

Saturday, May 29th – Moab, UT to Salt Lake City, UT

We got up at 4 a.m. and were checked out of the hotel and rolling by 4:30 a.m.  It was pitch black when we arrived at Arches National Park, which was located only four or five miles north of Moab, and the park rangers where not even on duty yet at the entrance gate.  We headed into the park and drove along the twisty road that climbed up onto the mesa.  Our destination was Turret Arch, located about 20 miles into the park.  It was a very eerie ride through the park – I began seeing the shapes of the rock formations and the cliffs of the mesas as we rode through and the skies began to lighten.  We arrived at Turret Arch before sunrise and set up to take our pictures, a few of which are shown below.

After photographing Turret Arch, we took a short half-mile hike to nearby Double Arch for a few pictures.

Afterwards, we mounted up ride to a few other spots in the park.  Another interesting formation was Balanced Rock, which features a large rock – as big as a two-story house – perched atop a rock spire.

We road further into the park to see Delicate Arch.  We arrived at the parking area and quickly discovered a "strenuous" one-mile hike is required to reach the up-close viewing area.  By this time, the temperatures were quickly climbing well into the 80s.  We decided to settle for a few distance shots of Delicate Arch.

On our way out of Arches National Park, we made one last stop at a viewing area that features two formations – the Courthouse and the Three Gossips.

We then made our way back into Moab for a late breakfast, before beginning the three-hour or so ride to Salt Lake City via Utah 191, I-70, Utah 191, and Utah 6.  The terrain was flat, covered with sagebrush, with views of mesas along the right side of Utah 191 that were beautiful.  Later along this road we climbed in altitude into the mountains, the temperatures dropped to the low 50s, and the hills became covered once again in Douglas Firs.  We came out the hills just south of Provo, where we jumped onto I-15 and made our way to the hotel in West Valley (an area on the west side of downtown Salt Lake City).  After checking in and briefly resting, we headed west out of town to Miller Motorsports Park, the site of the World Superbike races being held that Memorial Day Weekend.  We watched some of the racers practicing late in the afternoon, and later that evening enjoyed an outdoor concert that featured Kansas, Foreigner, and Styx.

Another fabulous day, with more to come....