Tour of the West — Day 1-2 Four Corners and Arches National Park

Well let’s get started on our journey. I will be breaking this up into several segments as not to create one massively long post. My best friend, Jouhl, accompanied me during this entire trip. He hadn’t seen most of the west before, so this was going to be a big treat for him.

Day 1 consisted of leaving Las Cruces, NM and traveling to Moab, UT. Total distance/time: 616 miles/10 hours.

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We set off early in the morning and headed north on I-25. The roads were quiet and the scenery your typical Chihuahuan desert of southern New Mexico.

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When we hit Hwy 491 North out of Gallup, NM, the winds started to pick up. We had to drive through some pretty nasty dust storms!

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We drove through a fairly big part of the Navajo Reservation which covers much of the four corners area (UT, AZ, CO, and NM) There are many magnificent monuments and landscapes on this reservation. Our journey on Hwy 491 took us through some pretty neat rock formations. These pop up just 60 miles south of Shiprock, NM.

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The Four Corners Monument was just 40 miles off the beaten path, so we had to go and check it out. I hadn’t been to this in years and it had certainly changed. The Monument is the only area in the United States were you can stand simultaneously in 4 states at the same time!

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I chose to not stand but…

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Here’s other visitors checking out the area.

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People were doing many creative poses for photos…

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After leaving the monument, it wasn’t more than a few miles when we officially entered Colorado!

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We only whet through a small portion of the state to get to Utah. The landscape in Colorado changed to a grassy farm land full of all kinds of livestock.

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We arrived in Utah!

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We didn’t get too far before we started seeing the some of Utah’s magnificent red sandstone.

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Our first scenic stop was an arch just south of Moab, UT. We got out and did a little hike around.

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Here’s Jouhl enjoying the views.

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Shortly after, we came to “Hole in the Rock.” This is one really neat attraction which sadly was closed while we were plowing through. It’s basically a 5000 sq ft house carved into solid sandstone rock. The builder, Albert Christensen and his wife Gladys, spent 20 years creating this back in the day.

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As the sun was setting, we finally arrived in Moab, UT.

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We stayed in a rustic, but comfortable hotel, Red Stone Inn. The Accord was terrific on its first day out. A/C was ice cold despite 100+ degree temps, ride was comfortable and there is a surprising amount of room for it being a coupe. But, how will she fair up for the rest of the trip? We’ll see.

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Day 2 we were to visit Arches National Park which is just a few miles north of Moab, UT and then go through Idaho to reach the edge of Oregon.  Total distance/time:  624 miles/9.5hrs.

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Arches National Park offers over 2,000 natural sandstone arches and it covers over 76,000 acres. This park is home to Utah’s signature arch on their license plates and most other promotional material, the Delicate Arch. Sadly, we didn’t make the 1.5 mile hike to the arch since we had a packed schedule.

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However, here’s what could see…

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Thanks to Jouhl for capturing the majority of the great photos you’ll be seeing on this trip. This was his first picture of the valley as we ascended up a hill to the park.

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Pictures don’t do the park justice. This landscape is quite literally, jaw-dropping.

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We have red sandstone rocks in the area where I grew up in Gallup, NM, but they don’t compare to the size and color to the rocks here.

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Luckily, there are many pullouts for one to get a chance to get photos.

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Here’s an arch that’s a part of the “Devil’s Garden” in eastern portion of the park.

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As much as we would have loved to spend a whole day there hiking, taking pictures and exploring, we had to hit the road. I had forgotten how much the landscape in Utah changes. North of the Arches are miles of bare desert…

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Then the mountains show up with some trees and greenery.

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The sky was also quite majestic…

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This trailer on the side of the road promised “Good Jerky.” Well, I couldn’t resist to stop and check it out. It wasn’t good. It was Great!

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Every once in a while we had to make a pitt stop. This was one at a pretty cool rest area with a railroad/train theme. The lobby had quite a few historical facts about the railroad system.

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Before getting back on the road, I took the opportunity to check the tire pressures to make sure all was well.

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Shortly after, we drove through one of my favorite cities, Salt Lake City, UT. I love the mountain backdrops, especially when they are covered in snow in the winter months.

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Jouhl was able to capture the capital building with a different lens on my newly purchased DSLR.

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After what seemed like forever, we crossed the Idaho boarder!

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We didn’t make many stops in this state. Most of Idaho is covered in shallow hills with either golden or green grass.

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Here’s one stop we took right before sunset. One of our goals on this trip was to gather soil from each state. Before we hit Oregon, we had to stop to collect some Idaho soil. Utah and Colorado have already been taken care of.

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“Nothing to see here, officer”…

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While stopped, I decided to capture the bug graveyard the Accord was building. That’s quite a few deaths in two days!

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Last pic of the day…Oregon! We found a hotel in the City of Ontario, OR. It was around 10pm by the time we got there.

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What will we be seeing tomorrow? Stay tuned for more!

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3 thoughts on “Tour of the West — Day 1-2 Four Corners and Arches National Park

  1. tysonhugie says:

    Lots of awesome stuff in here! You rolled through SLC, right near where I’m located right now. I love that you got a picture at the exact same Colorado welcome sign where I got the ILX stuck in the sand over Memorial Day weekend. Classic. Love Arches NP – next time you’ll have to hike to Delicate Arch.

    • pawela says:

      Tyson, thanks and I was wondering if that was the same spot where you got stuck! It would have been too funny if I did the same. I actually have been more cautious when pulling off for photos because of your experience. LOL. I certainly hope to hike Delicate Arch soon as well as see Monument Valley…never been.

  2. […] may remember that I did a massive West Coast tour back in 2013. Packed with so much fun, James and I decided to conduct that same drive this year […]

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