Sunday, October 26, 2008

Max & Diane's Adventure - Day 9

8:50 am. We're packed, gassed and on our way. things are pretty quiet in the car. We're really wearing out. I would not make a good long-term traveler.

Max turned on his iPod.

Me: What are we listening to?
Max: Ska
Me: Just random Ska?
Max: No, it's chronological.
Me: So, it's not a group.
Max: No.

I'm married to a weird man.

10:46 am. I got Mountain Dew with my breakfast! Coke definitely has a hold on this region. The Dew wasn't even tap - it was a can. Oh well, that's fine. Wake me up, wake me up!

11:03 am. In the Arches National Park. Ok, I did not plan on this. Serious Vertigo. I got out to take a picture of the informational post to help explain the layers of rock out here. You can tell by the picture that it's not very good - I totally lost the outside edges. BECAUSE, I fell apart. There was a definite impulse to fling myself over the edge. The power of the deep canyon in front of me and the high tower behind me? Too much.

11:11 am. Ok, I'm much better. I'm still blown away by the mix of vast flatland, deep canyons and high buttes, but at least I'm not going to make my husband crazy through the park. He's a patient man.

11:46 am. Petrified Dunes. This entire area was a seabed millions of years ago. In fact, seas came and went over the eons depositing sediment and salts.

The Balanced Rock formation.

Windows Arch #1:

Windows Arch #2:

These formations come from erosion. Ancient sea salt deposits caused the ground to drop and other areas to jut up as it flowed away underneath the ground.

Cove of Caves:

If you know Max and myself, you know how little we like screaming children. Imagine our joy when totally inept parents can't deal with their single child. Screaming and screaming (child - not parents). Argh ...

Parade of Elephants (just one of several):

12:24 pm. The Garden of Eden.

If you look closely, there are two climbers on this tower.

This makes me think of the guardian set at the entrance to the original Garden of Eden.

More snarky commentary: Max and I drive into an overlook and there is absolutely no one there. As he begins to set up for the shot, I am not kidding, but 15 cars pull in (none of them related) and people begin piling all over the rocks. The poor man wanted to scream, but he patiently began shooting closeups.

His comment: "We've done it again. We attract a crowd." And ... another set of inept parents. She stands 15 feet from the car and watches her poor, stupid husband trying to cajole a 3 year old out of the car seat. The kid is screaming, the father is babbling (I have no idea - they don't speak English). I try to not be totally entertained by the whole thing, but the incessant noise is ... well ... AAAAAACK!

Juniper Bush. The little white berries can make ... gin ... or are a form of food for many of the animals in the Park. Second picture? Max getting a closeup for me. (Dork.)

1:37 pm. We've pulled off to shoot some more amazing formations. The music is still playing (from early this morning - yup, we've moved through Ska to Rock Steady to Reggae). Max says, "Just so you're aware, this is reggae." He's my geek.

These two pictures show some of the progression of the rock. Large formations are shot up from the ground by the activity way below. Then, fault lines cause the rock to break (see pic below). Over the millenia, erosion wears the rock away. Freezing ice crystals form in some of this and then break up the rock - as that blows away, wind clears it out and the arches are created.

Skyline Arch:

And, this is the only sign of Wildlife that I have seen. Disease took out the Bighorn Sheep population in the Arches National Park, but they transplanted 25 from Canyonlands (just west of here) and the population has increased to 80. But ... I saw none - of course.

2:33 pm. We are leaving Arches and are heading back into Moab to pick up a Scenic Byway along the Colorado River which will lead to I-70.

Max replaced the reggae with Paul McCartney ... ahhhhh..

We're barely speaking as we travel this road. Talk about making a person speechless. Immense, towering canyon walls and the Colorado river is flowing peacefully past us.

3:12 pm. Fisher Tower. It's going to be weird for us to leave this area - we have spent several days surrounded by the most amazing formations. I can't imagine living here. Would I ever get used to it? I certainly hope not, but I think it's human nature to take things for granted when they're around you all the time. Every time we've turned a corner, there has been something new to see. We drove back and forth from Monticello, UT to Moab, UT several times these last few days and though I was able to identify markers along the way, I kept seeing new things on the road. I've loved every minute of being in the midst of these red rocks.

Colorado River. We're about to head north away from it to pick up I-70. The red rocks are behind us, the landscape is changing again.

3:55 pm. We've stopped in front of a train crossing. Not to I-70 yet. It's just over the next rise! And I can't get to it. Oh well ... 6 train cars have passed the crossing and the train is totally stopped. It's time to walk the dog, maybe get a nap.

4:10 pm. On I-70 heading east. Hauling ass, as Max says. I have no idea where we'll be tonight, but we're coming home.

6:12 pm. I-70 parallels the Colorado. Right now it's running as white water. Gorgeous, but we're going too fast for me to snap pictures.

We've decided to see if we can't just get home tonight.

Sunset from the Interstate.

9:15 pm. Chick-Fil-A in Brighton, CO. Supper. The drive through the mountains in darkness was ... well ... entertaining. Neither of us had ever driven that before and I don't know that we'll hurry to do it again. Max was annoyed with the fact that he couldn't move at 75 mph, I was thankful that we were slowed to 55 mph. Tunnels through the mountains, interstate at different levels, Colorado river flowing past us, steep grades up and down ... made for a very interesting ride.

Right now it's 68 degrees. We're sitting on a picnic table outside the restaurant just enjoying the evening. Time to get going home.

One more stop for gas in Ogallala. We've been listening to Coast to Coast AM. Do you have any idea what insanity is on your radio at night? Oh my ...

6:15 am. We're home. We're pooped. But, we're home.


Cayla said...

awww MAN! gorgeous photos! especially Fisher Tower, that's brilliant....
looks and sounds like it was a fantastic trip.

a few side notes:
1) you ARE a genius--not many people look at the juniper bush and go, "oh yeah, they use the berries to make gin." mmmm, gin....i could go for a tom collins....erm, nature! pretty juniper bush!

2) "...heading east. Hauling ass, as Max says." HAHA! you have NO idea how much i love that phrase! especially when i merge onto the interstate and set cruise at just under flying. yeah!

glad you made it back safely and got some rest. take care, have a good week.

and HAUL ASS!!

sorry. it just seemed right. :)

Diane Muir said...

Ok, I'll fess up ... Max is the one that reminded me gin is made of juniper berries. I will never deny that man is a genius. Be patient and wait for someone like him ... it's a good thing.