Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Stopping at Arches on our way back

Tuesday September 3, 2014 
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah




We get a real send off from Capitol Reef today and it makes it all that much harder to move East rather than stay here.

In our yard this morning while we are getting ready to leave there is a gathering.






And then walking down the path next to the river opposite us is this group.  They are all enticing me to stay.




We drive separately again as we have to go back over the Rocky Mountains and come down into Moab.  It seems like we just did this route.

On the way out I stop by the petroglyphs and by the Behunin Cabin.  Both are barely disguised efforts to keep myself from leaving.  Here are just a few of the many great petroglyphs.  I’ve omitted all the crap left by selfish, self centered people for whom it is all about me and carving MY initials or my name. 






In 1882 Elijah Cutler Behunin and his family built this cabin. The family of 10 living in this cabin was among the first settlers in this area.  The cabin had a dirt floor and a fireplace for cooking.  The information says the Mother, Father and the two youngest children slept in the house. The boys widened the dugout in the cliff for a place to sleep and the girls made a bed in an old wagon box.  But what about winter??  Can you even imagine 10 people living in a home this size regardless of the season?









We arrive in Moab and get set up at Portal RV Park where we spend a whopping $37 a night for FHU’s within 5 miles of the park.  This is perhaps the most we’ve ever spent for a campsite but we didn’t want to be 18 miles into the park where their campground is located since we are cutting our time at Arches and Canyonlands from a least a week each to 4 days total.  

Portal turns out to be a great place and worth the money to us for the nice restrooms, the great laundry and the location close to the park entrance.  The people in the office are extremely nice and helpful.   Unfortunately we are so busy trying to pack everything into these days that I forget to take pictures of our site.  It is the typical commercial campground site right next to your neighbor and row after row but the ground is white gravel so no dust or dirt.  If you don’t want to boondock in the park, I recommend it. 


I feel like we are in high gear and really do not like to travel like this.  It seems like one of those quickie vacations before you go back to work where you try to cram everything in to a few days.

But, it can’t be helped, since we have 2000 miles to go before the end of the month. 

Since it seems that David may not be able to return west, he wants to make some stops along the way back even though greatly shortened.  As a result,  a number of our other days will have to be PDD days.  Hope Paul has some medals ready.  But not just yet. 

After setting up, we head out to the visitor center to figure out what we’ll do when.   The VC fits into its setting just perfectly.



There is a great deal of information outside about the Colorado Plateau known as Canyon country and about the features and arches of this National Park.  It is just the information we would need if we could keep on the original plan to do more of the Colorado Plateau that we have not already seen this year and in our 2011 trip west.  

Outside the VC there are also some really fine sculptures of the permanent residents of Arches National Park.








Inside we watch the film and as usual go through all the exhibits reading every word to learn about this place we are about to see.  The view out this VC window really whets your appetite.





We determine that our best approach is to drive the 18 mile park scenic drive and do every short hike along it hoping that we can return to do some longer ones in the future.  We also learn that had we not turned back, we could have been at Canyonlands for their 50 year anniversary celebration this September 11-13.  Now that’s a bummer.




We rent a copy of the audio Drive Tour for $5.  It’s a real bargain.  You can buy it for $10 or rent it for $5 and bring it back whenever you want.  They charge you $10 and you get the $5 back when you return it.   So we’re all set for early tomorrow morning when we intend to head straight for the very popular windows section before everyone else gets out on the drive.

We can see from the visitor’s center and its parking lot that Arches is still filled with people mid week even more than a week after Labor Day.  Our original schedule would have had us here later than this but who knows if there is ever a slow period here in Moab.


  1. Hard to picture a family of 10 living in such a small space, sort of like two people living in a 32 something motorhome... ;c)

    Medals? Hmmm, I'll have to get busy and get some made up!

  2. I agree, the audio tour is a real bargain we really enjoyed doing it. I had tried to stay in Portal RV Park back in May they were all booked up. It really didn't matter I guess we were never at the campground except to sleep!

  3. The sculptures outside of the visitor center are quite a welcome. Arches is another spot I haven't been to, but I've been intrigued by it for years. A beautiful area!

  4. Never slow in Moab. I am praying that you at least managed to hike to Delicate Arch...an icon of Utah, and a beautiful hike. Also, just imagining that you will do it at the crack of dawn, you just might get the sunrise over the La Sals. Comments two weeks after the fact are a bit delayed, but I am thinking of you. Hugs.

  5. Never got to go to Arches, looking forward to hearing all about it even if you do have to rush...take care...

  6. Since our paths almost crossed in KS City on the 18th, I am sure you are back in Virginia by now. . .you and David are in my thoughts and prayers. . .

    as always, enjoyed your pics. . .

  7. How cool that all the wildlife came to give you a special sendoff;o)) Can't wait to see what you see in the next 4 days!!!

  8. If you're in Mammoth Cave, you've made good time. Guess I should say you've traveled a lot of miles. Good in some ways, but not so much in others.

    1. Not so fast actually Judy. I'm nearly 3 weeks behind in posting because we've been so busy doing.

  9. I love the gawky turkeys and often wonder what it would have been like for them as our national bird as Ben Franklin wants rather than our beloved eagle....
    that is a very small house for 10 people.... at any time, they must have been sitting on one another.... you see that the around the country, we take our way of life so much for granted, such ease...

  10. Definitely a nice send off with all the deer there to say their farewells.

    Can't wait to see your pictures at Canyonlands Nat'l Park.


  11. We hope our short four days in Moab will be as nice as your was. Continued safe travels....happy to see you made Ky already. --Dave

  12. I hope you went to the sand dunes area of Arches, that was our favorite short hike.

  13. Thanks for the information and the photos.... For sure a fast tour is much better than no tour at all...... How I hope it turns out to be special..... Not like you, this does seem like a road race.....be safe and I am sure you will end up making your timeline.... Thinking of you both .....

  14. I blame Elijah Behunin for our crowded National Parks!! LOL! 10 kids?? I am going to ask you to write a guest chapter in my next book, "How to tour the USA in a weekend." ;-)

    If you get the chance, do one of the ranger led hikes by oil lantern (not LED, but the real flame) into Mammoth Cave. I did the Violent City tour, as this is the one mentioned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Looking forward to future chapters...

  15. So sad that you have to rush through these parks, but then sometimes life gets in the way. I am looking forward to your Arches hikes, and beyond, as I've not been there either. As others have said, that cute stone cabin in small but then so is a RV. Take care of each other.

  16. (Violet, not violent! Feign, not fain. I need a spell checker that can read my mind!)

  17. I know you really hate rushing through! :( I so hope Pops will be able to head that way again. The parks are superb out there! Nice animal send off...10 kids. Goodness! So unfortunate that people don't think twice about disrespecting a place :( The VC was a good place to start and your drive/short hikes sound like a good plan.

  18. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and go for location rather than price for a RV park. It's when you pay a lot for a site, and it's been neglected and not well taken care of.

  19. Again, so difficult to comment knowing how far behind you are, but certainly understandable given what you are trying to accomplish in each place. I know you'd love to be current with posting, but right now more than ever, the journey is more important than writing about it. You'll get it done and I'll enjoy each post just as much as if I'd read it two hours after you did it!! Be safe!

  20. Of course another place I've been and love. Audio tours are just the best, they usually are very well done too. Can't wait for the pictures :)

  21. Not surprised at all that once again your deer came to say goodbye and safe travels. Can't imagine winters in that "cabin" with half that many bodies! Absolutely love the ravens - the artist did a brilliant job of capturing their magic. Funny that the smallest piece of the Colorado Plateau is in Colorado :-) When you do a blog post you are back in the moment, especially in the photos, so I don't have any sense of delay when reading and sharing the wonderful experience - since you were so recently "there".

  22. Rich and I used to go into Arches before dawn mostly because of the heat.That's what makes full-timing so great--you can see all the beautiful places in different seasons. Fall is my favorite season and I've always wanted to spend one in the mountains of the west and some red rock country. Still on my bucket list is a winter on the Oregon coast. Glad you and David are having such a great time. Can't wait to read about Arches. :)

  23. One of our absolute favorite places in the west, can't wait to see what you did. My brother has photographed it many times, most of the pictures at our S&B were his, he's photographed most of the western national parks.

  24. That visitor is new since we visited in the 1980s ... looking forward to revisiting one of my favorite NPs.

  25. I'm so happy that you made it to Arches. I know how much you love to spend a good amount of time in a place (as do we) -- but I feel certain you made the most out of even a brief visit. We've visited Arches several times, and have found that mid- to late October is perfect. The crowds are gone and the weather is beautiful.


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