Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lonely Roads

Our day began with a nice breakfast at Denny's.  A couple of local farmers were seated across from us.  They had a good time teasing the waitress.  At some point she announced she didn't drink alcohol, so they asked if she had any vices.  "I swear too much."  she confessed.  One of the farmers, understood.  "My cussing problem began with heavy machinery.  I swear I have never walked beneath a combine harvester without bumping my blankety blank head!"  Grandpa used to say the first swear word was invented while milking a cow.

I wanted to ask the locals what they thought of what's happened to Moab.  In my observation Arches and even Canyonlands didn't change Moab like the mountain bike did.

We stopped a second in a great little book store called Back of Beyond Books where Sweetie bought me a signed copy of Robert Fulghum's new novel Third Wish.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  It's a double volume chunkster though, so don't expect a review any time soon.

We headed south from Moab through such breathtaking country.  We drove past Hole In The Rock, thankful we'd already stopped there before.  We drove past Wilson Arch, happy to see it but not enough to stop for another set of photos.  We passed the Monticello Temple, wishing we could stop long enough to go inside.  The last time we drove through this country it was raining.  We were bound for Texas by way of Four Corners.  I'd forgotten about Monticello's vistas!

It's like being perched on the shoulder of a friendly giant.  You still have the notion of how puny you are because his head, Abajo Mountain looms above, almost within arms reach, yet, on a clear day like this you feel like you can see the whole world from your lofty perch.  I'd like to measure the distances in that panorama.  From the San Juan mountains in the East to Monument Valley in the South, from the La Sal Mountains to the North to Shiprock, way down across the Four Corners, you can see it all!  It's as though you can see forever in a glance.

We fueled up in Blanding and headed West toward Hall's Crossing.  On the way we made a wonderful stop at Natural Bridges National Monument.  Quiet and out of the way, what a special place this is.  After a quick stop at the Visitor's Center we drove the loop to see the three fantastic stone bridges that span a little creek running through White Canyon.  Two of them, Sipapu and Kachina are the second and third larges in the world.  Owachomo, which is smaller, is only nine feet thick.  We loved the road that makes the loop on which the three bridges can be viewed.  It is a one lane, one way route, that was so fun to drive and much less intrusive than a large one might have been.  Easy look outs afforded great views of each bridge.

Not long after departing Natural Bridges we encountered an intersection with arrows pointing each way to Hanksville.  One way leads to Hall's Crossing where a ferry takes you to Bull Frog on the opposite side of Lake Powell, the other leads to Hite and  bridges across the Colorado and Dirty Devil rivers.  The ferry schedule was posted and sounded most interesting so we headed for Hall's Crossing.  It was a beautiful drive with spectacular views of Monument Valley to the South and wonderful red rock mesas to the North.  The Ferry was closed for the season.  A bit of a disappointment, but the scenery was worth it.  How hard would it be though, to post a closed sign on the Ferry Schedule back at the intersection that might have spared us 100 needless miles.  For us it was no big deal, for someone else disaster.

The other route to Hite passes down Fry Canyon and some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Southern Utah.  We were so glad the closed Ferry forced us to go this way!  Deep maroon rock formations above and white sandstone in the inner slot canyon with majestic Island In the Sky looming across between the rivers.  Sweetie and I both thought we'd never seen any place to beautiful!


The views of Lake Powell and back at Fry Canyon from across the river were wonderful too.  From there we headed up a wonderful canyon and, out on top, great views of the Henry Mountains as we drove to Hanksville.

We arrived in Hanksville at dusk and decided to push on to Torrey for better accomodations and an earlier start on the Burr Trail tomorrow.  The Red Cliffs Restaurant in Torrey has the best Pork Loin Masala imaginable!  The accomodations at the Best Western were inexpensive and very nice.

What a gorgeous, companionable day we enjoyed.  Plus we settled in time to watch the last hour of The Biggest Loser and Tracy got canned!  It doesn't get any better than this!

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