Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 18: Moab UT to Salida CO, Arches NP (#9), Black Canyons of the Gunnison (#10)

Day 18: Moab UT to Salida CO, Arches NP (#9), Black Canyons of the Gunnison (#10)

I don't smack him around. I don't yell at him. And if he wants to go to the park in his pajamas, I don't care.
Peter Krause

Pics: Arches NP (including a very sandy narrows that led to an arch), Gunnison NP (including THB leaning casually over a lookout that plunges straight down for a long way), on the drive from Gunnison to Salida, and in and around Salida (including our hotel lobby and bike polo being played on a basketball court)

Book Review: Country Driving, Peter Hessler, audio book. Maybe 17 – 18 hours long, and a great listen. A China coming-of-age story told in three parts: driving all over China in rental cars, mostly to see the Great wall, from late 1990s to early 2000s; living in a small village outside of Beijing that goes through a boom in the early 2000s because the car revolution makes villages like this accessible and “quaint” to affluent city folk; following a new factory town in the mid-2000s up to 2008 (and one factory that makes bra rings) as it tries to grow and compete in the new China economy. Fascinating, well told (er, well read), HIGHLY recommended, especially if you’re on a road trip.

So, THB is not prescient, the Tony Curtis quote was just coincidence (or else all the other living humans quoted should be worried)

Up early, grape nuts with Hampton Inn fruit, and into Arches NP (#9 this year) for a driving tour and short hikes. Note the sandy slot canyon with an arch in the middle. This park is loaded with arches and fins (slot canyons next to each, not very tall, very disorienting if you walk among them). It is actually nice out, around 70, until about 9:30 when it is starting to warm up again.

We hit the road: drive out from Moab along the Colorado River the pretty way (Hwy 128) to I70 and have lunch in Grand Junction at the Kannah Creek brewpub; the parents of one of the people that helped DB set up her jewelry display runs the place and is the master brewer. DB’s helper now owns and runs a small place on Telegraph near 29th called Commonwealth pub.

We have sandwich, salad, two 10 oz brewskies (since we’re now in CO it means that this stuff is 2-3 times more potent than UT), $27.

Then we head south towards the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP. It is hot out (same same) and we can barely see some clouds on the horizon and we can see a lot of haze. Turns out they are doing “prescribed” burns around the park, so even if we could tolerate the heat while hiking, we’d have to wear masks and keep our asthma inhalers close at hand. No hiking, a few scenic overviews and pics and we head east.

Our plan is to get as far before dark as possible, and that leads to Salida; a very pretty drive with many yellow aspens and a few orange trees. Salida is a cute town, lots of aging hippies and younger types that like to mountain bike or perform river tricks. Note the pics, the town is almost arty and THB is hoping for fresh pastry tomorrow morning (several promising spots scouted).

We’re staying at trip advisory’s top rated hotel in town, the Days Inn. THB has figured out why it is so highly rated: the fasted/strongest wifi in 7 states and 13 countries. $70.

Dinner at Amica’s for pizza (pretty decent), wine and strong local brewski, $43.

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