Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hot Day with Some Fiery Rocks...

This past summer we spent a great weekend in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Travel there and back...not so great. It was SO freakin' hot...driving thru the desert in temps over 90 degrees. I know bikers are tough and ride in all types of elements, but me? Not so much. Well, I do...but I bitch and moan a bit about it. This trip was no different.

After a full day of work, we ventured on the 300 mile ride from Salt Lake to Grand Junction.  On the way, we passed a sign off the highway for Moab, Utah, and Arches National Park.  Looked intriguing but it was getting late so decided to hit it up on the way home.

Here's the route we took from outside of Salt Lake City to Grand Junction. Scenic ride...

View Larger Map

Last night in Grand Junction was a doozey, hit a couple of the local wineries and found a nice Italian restaurant within walking distance of hotel, so...more wine. Sunday morning woke up with a bit of a wine-over, the last thing I wanted to do was hop on the back of the bike and ride through the desert for over 300 miles. And add a sidetrip? No way. But my inner conscience was yelling at me. 'When will you be out this way again?' 'Suck it up, cupcake!', 'You wanna play with the big boys, act like one.' You know...that type of stuff.  Not really sure if that was my conscience or the old man...sounds like stuff he would say. Anyway, put my big girl panties on and gave the go-ahead. Arches National Park...here we come.

Ride in was fine, we left early enough that it was still warm...not yet blazing. Admission to get in park is $10.00, no discount for bikes like other parks we had visited over the summer. Well worth it, just making a point.

The change in scenery from flat and barren is quick and the flaming, vivid colors that contrast against the blue sky is intense. Breathtaking. There is said to be over 2,000 arches in the park in varying length from one to ninety-three meters. Lots to see...

 Roads were awesome to ride on but slow going. A lot of traffic on a long weekend.

Have you ever seen such a blue sky? Wow!

Keep your eyes peeled for the BigHorn Sheep. I nearly strained my eyeballs right out of the sockets, but no luck.  I just read on the Park website that there are only 75 BigHorns in the park...sounds like a needle in a haystack.

Below is the Court House Towers formation.  Apparently, there is a trail around here that leads to a swimming hole. The trail is about 5 miles long...no thanks. Did I mention it was hot?

This deep red color comes from minerals in the rocks. 

Back of Towers?

The old man particularly liked this rock below...not sure why...

Think this particular arch may have had a little bit of help from the man...

Other arches and formations are developed from the strong winds and rains crashing against the rocks.

Long weekend traffic...wasn't too bad, but would definitely go at another time if I went again. Parking was sparse at the pull-offs and it was difficult to get good pictures without Japanese tourists in them. Did I just say that out loud? I kid...

I think this might be the Turret Arch...not sure

Definitely is the Balancing Rock below...looks a bit like Yoshi from Super Mario Bros. No? ET?

Look close....that is a person on the top of that rock!

Owl Rock is located in the Garden of Eden area of the Park. There were several people making their way up to the top...according to most sites, this is an easy climb. Really?

Temps were starting to heat-up into the 90s and with barely a quarter of the way home completed, we had to leave. It is a beautiful park and I am very thankful that I did not let the fun from the night before keep me from such an amazing place.

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