5/31 Grand Junction CO to Moab UT

Today we started our day at Grand Junction’s Village Inn for breakfast. We ate here last night, as well, and we typically only eat at any restaurant once when traveling but we made an exception since the grub was so tasty. I am glad we broke our policy because breakfast was just as terrific as last night’s dinner and dessert. Service was good which seems appropriate since we had the same waitress. They also gave us a geezer discount so all the boxes were checked.

We left Grand Junction, with a nice hotel and great restaurant in the mirror, and headed West on I-70 through Fruita before crossing the border into Utah. We continued on the interstate for an hour or so before turning off the freeway onto UT-128 through Cisco and then into a high desert, eventually arriving alongside the Colorado River for maybe an hour and a half. It is a nice drive along the bottom of the huge gorge carved by the Colorado. About 20 miles East of Moab, we turned off on the La Sal Loop, a slow and curvy road that takes visitors through what may be the nicest drive in America. Huge cliffs with pastel strata carved by erosion flank both sides of the verdant fields along the bottom of the gorge. Giant hoodoos (vertical, statue-like geologic formations) dot the horizons. The road climbs up a long incline passing hardwoods, then conifers, then aspens before arriving at a large overlook adjacent to the skinny paving of the now one-lane road. The view north from here is breathtaking. There is also a nice restroom in the overlook.

After lingering at the overlook for probably too long, we continued on the La Sal Loop down the other side of the mountain, eventually passing through a place called Spanish Valley (it did not look like any pictures of Spain I have ever seen) before intersecting US-191 for the run into Moab from the South.

Right on the main drag in Moab, UT, we pulled off into the parking lot of the Big Horn Lodge, our lodging for the next two nights. The staff put us on the ground floor where we could park sort of near the room but that was the extent of disabled access management provided for my requested disabled access room. Upon inspection, your ancient narrator discovered another bathroom with a mini-toilet about the height of my shoe and a tiny, slippery-floored shower for our use. The check-in staff was okay and the beds were soft, there were lots of pillows, we had air conditioning, a small fridge and a microwave. They had K-Pots for coffee and there is no maid service on multi-day stays so you have to run the maid down to get morning java. Despite being right on the main drag, we did not notice any street noise, perhaps because it was drowned out by the neighbors beyond the paper-thin uninsulated walls and the many-legged folks apparently dancing in the rooms above. There is a pretty good restaurant on site.

Although our dose of magnificent scenery for today was ample, we decided we wanted more so we took UT-279 from Moab headed along the Colorado River where it runs below the cliffs of Dead Horse Point State Park. The drive offers stunning scenery in the gorge of the river and eventually the road starts climbing toward Canyonlands National Park. Quite a few miles after we ran out of pavement, we ran into prolonged sections of washboard gravel road surface, my favorite. Shortly thereafter, we turned around and savored the sunset along the Colorado as we headed back into Moab.

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