Driving the American West: Moab to Arches

Wilson Arch outside Moab, Utah


Continued from
Driving the American West: Monument Valley to Canyonlands

From the Needles section of Canyonlands, I stumbled across Hole ‘N the Rock, a ragtag collection of kitsch that forms the ultimate roadside attraction. It’s places like this that make you realize that a road trip is utterly unlike other kinds of travel…and that’s a wonderful thing.

I then eased on into a two-night stay in Moab, Utah, a few friendly blocks’ worth of a river walk, pueblo architecture, and darn fine brewpub or three. At my favorite, the Moab Brewery, I was seated beside two long tables of teens in shiny formal wear, celebrating before their high school’s Sadie Hawkins Dance.

And I treated myself to a glorious half a day at Arches National Park, a relatively small swath of dazzling erosion.


I miss Utah.

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Driving the American West: Monument Valley to Canyonlands

Utah's Monument Valley


Continued from
Driving the American West: Mojave Desert to the Grand Canyon

Days three to five of my Great Big American West Road Trip? Simply awesome.

I cruised from the Arizona high desert into Utah’s Monument Valley, a rocky, orange landscape that looked a heck of a lot like the Pixar movie Cars. Probably because it was the inspiration for the Pixar movie Cars.

I spent the night in a quiet, riverside motel on a lonely stretch of highway in Mexican Hat, a town named for a huge rock shaped like a sombrero.

After a couple of gravelly switchbacks beside towering sandstone mesas, I headed into the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park to find snow, ponds, rabbits, mountain bluebirds and enormous rocks shaped like everything from arrowheads to tiramisu.

Then I wandered my way through Canyonland’s Island in the Sky, a winding expanse of craters that rival the Grand Canyon, rimmed by the snow-capped La Sal Mountains.

I feel like my eyes have been popping out of my head for a week now…

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Go West, I Said

Call it a test of my own gumption or a simple thirst for adventure:

I’m hopping in my car and hitting the road to explore the American West!

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Utah’s National Parks: Permanence and Change

Rock towers at Utah's Capitol Reef National Park

As some of you may have noticed (hey, we’re all busy), it’s the start of October 2011. Ten years ago this week I was off having a grand time with my mom and dad, exploring a remarkable swath of southern Utah.

Looking back on that trip, I’m still amazed at the endurance of love, family — and the Earth itself.

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TWT Travel Binder: Utah


I long to take Adam to Salt Lake City and eat food from Afghanistan (there’s a large expat community there), stand on the Bonneville Salt Flats nearby, then go to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in the southeast corner of the state.  

My parents took me to astounding Bryce, Zion, and Capitol Reef back in 2001,
and I’d love to show those to him as well.  

Oh, and along the way, visit the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab.

Here are some resources to help you plan your own “travels with two” to Utah.

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