We arrived at the Portal RV Campground in Moab early enough to enjoy the sheer walls of red sandstone adjacent to the Colorado River on scenic byway 128. We stopped at the Red Cliffs Lodge near mile marker 14. There we toured the Moab Film Museum. We learned that in the 1939 John Ford filmed “Stage Coach.” More recently, the final scene of “Thelma and Louise” was filmed here, not over the Grand Canyon. In addition to more than 900 films, some 100 commercials have been produced in the area. Next, we sampled wines at the Castle Creek Winery and purchased a malbec and cabernet sauvignon. On our return we stopped at the Goose Island Campground where we walked on the bike path along the Colorado River.

With rain the next morning, we visited the Museum of Moab. Many dinosaurs, of course, have been uncovered in Utah. This museum has a cast skeleton of a Gastonia Burgei, a tank-like dinosaur. A unique exhibit features a balsa wood relief map of the area created by John Urbanek. In 1952, Charlie Steen discovered high grade uranite. He quickly became a millionaire. We ate dinner in his former home which is now the Sunset Grill, and has great views of Moab.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

A few years ago we visited Arches National Park. On this trip we hiked two new trails. After a lunch in the Devils Garden picnic area we hiked the easy 1.8 miles round trip to Landscape Arch, one of the world’s longest stone spans. It stretches 306 feet yet is only 11 feet thick at its center. Later, we hiked the strenuous 3 mile round trip to Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch. Although it is said that the trail only rises 480 feet, it felt higher.

Chimney Rock, Dead Horse Point State Park

Chimney Rock

On our last day in Moab we visited the Dead Horse Point State Park. After touring the Visitor Center and taking in the views, we traveled to the end of the road, the Dead Horse Point Overlook. Chimney Rock is a distinctive landmark with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background. A sign informed us that some of the water near Chimney Rock we could see is part of a processing pool to produce potash. We had lunch at the Overlook. Small chipmunks surrounded us begging for a handout.

We continued on to the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. We hiked a half-mile to the Mesa Arch. Next time we need to look more carefully for the return loop. The Grand View Overlook offered a great one-mile hike on a flat trail. This trail does indeed offer “grand views.” We completed our day with a stop at the Green River Overlook. Our day ended with a refreshing stop at the Moab Brewery although I hope they institute a sampler. Moab is a great jumping off point for exploring Utah.

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