Finally we are getting to the parts of our trip where we are going to the ultra-awesome National Parks, hikes and drives that we have been seeing on pictures and postcards (or national geographic as a kid)! The first major park was Grand Canyon, and they are getting more frequent and mind-blowing as we slowly crawl west. Leaving Big Water and Page, we went around the southeast of Utah on the AZ-98 and US-160 to make a big, slow upward curve to Moab on the US-191, so we passed Monument Valley and saw it in the distance, and some resembling formations near the road … but with rearranged plans from New Mexico and Colorado, we kept on going to Moab without a Monument Valley stop. Oh well, we still have a bunch of sights that are staying on our to-see list.
Moab, UT was quite a surprise! Well, before that we got into Page expecting a bustling city and it was dry, dusty and seemed very low-key and unassuming. So we adjusted our expectations and kind of thought Moab would be similar; apart from similarities in weather and landscape, Moab is completely different! It looked and felt like a holiday-goers town; ATVs everywhere, cyclists, other motorcyclists and lots of campers/RVers… and many many little cozy coffee shops, bistros and adventure sports shops. An outdoors heaven! Skydiving, canyoneering, climbing, hiking, kayaking, 4-wheelers. Oh my gosh! Driving out of Moab they have a sign saying “Moab, keep exploring”. You know if they have multiple consignment shops for outdoors gear and clothing that it’s an active town 🙂
Rolling into Moab right before sunset we had hoped to couchsurf, but not having a response or acceptance we started looking around for camping spots… and there are lots. We settled on one that is suitably cheap and actually had spots for tents rather than RV sites with no hook-ups :)plus with all the amenities we were sorely missing after camping for a couple of days already – laundry & shower! Pack Creek Campground is a super friendly, convenient campground and RV park, not on the main street (so it’s got less traffic noise and blown-up dust). If interested, with tax it came to about $19 a night. Free potable water, sinks, hot showers, clear bathrooms, and a 6 machine coin laundry and they sell detergent/other washing supplies in the laundry room which is behind the bathrooms. We even met a guy who used to be a tour guide in this area and he gave us really awesome advice for things to see and places to go – thanks dude! 🙂 He impressed on us the necessity to spend more time at Canyonlands, and not necessarily Arches; he actually said that with a choice between the two, we could just spend the whole day at Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park, but we managed to see both that and Arches National Park (enormously happy!) And after hearing from other people that also visited Canyonlands, with limited time Island in the Sky is the best area to check out.
The last of the two nights we spent there (after a quick, brothy camp stove dinner) we had to do laundry since all our clothes were dusty and sweaty, and we must have looked pretty funny sitting in the laundry room, with our electronics around us either charging or writing some posts… And yes, Page and Moab were incredibly hot! But it was a cool campground, maybe 1/5th tents but many RV’s, and we really wish we could have rented bikes and cruised around Moab for a few days, done some trails, and gone out downtown.