We left Dinosaur National Monument on Friday, October 10, headed for somewhere between DNM and Moab. “Somewhere” turned out to be Price, Utah on Hwy 191. We pulled in to an RV park that I had scoped out in our Good Sam guide since we hadn’t had any internet connection for several days. We’d planned to stay just one night but, during the night the wind came up and blew like crazy all through the next day. We decided that there was no way we wanted to be out driving an underpowered box with beaucoup windage in high winds, so we stayed another day. The wind blew until well into the night when it finally died off. The National Weather Service wind advisory said to expect 25-30 mph winds with gusts to 50 mph. I’m pretty sure we got every bit of that.
While the wind was blowing, Lulu was working on sewing new curtains for our dinette window and I was researching our next stop, Arches National Park. What I was finding was not encouraging. The campgrounds at Arches were all reservation-only and were reserved well through the end of October and, in some cases, into November. There were quite a few other options, mostly BLM campgrounds. Dead Horse Point State Park was out of the running as it, too, was booked way in advance. About half of the BLM sites were suitable for an RV of our size (20′). Some were way off the beaten path but others were reasonably close to Arches NP. All were first come first served. Still having no clear idea of what we were going to find when we got there, we shoved off on Monday morning, headed more-or-less to Moab, the town closest to Arches NP.
It was a pretty easy drive and we arrived at Arches in the early afternoon. Once again the America The Beautiful Senior Pass paid off as we passed through the entry gate without having to pay any money. We had decided we’d check into the visitors’ center and see what’s what. After that we could formulate a plan. This turned out to be a good approach. At the visitor center we found out that most of the park’s attractions could be seen quite nicely on the driving tour. So, at this point we decided to drive through the park and then decide whether a return trip was warranted tomorrow.
The road starts climbing right away as you leave the visitor’s center. The scenery also turned spectacular almost immediately.
We stopped at just about every scenic pull-out. Sometimes we had to walk a few tenths of a mile for the best shots but we never really had to strain ourselves. The hardest part was trying to keep from taking a dozen photos of every single rock formation that we saw.
By mid-late-afternoon, we’d seen enough. We decided that we didn’t really need to make a return trip tomorrow since there were still two more parks in the immediate vicinity that we wanted to see. Now came the time when we would try to figure out where we’d be parking Flipper tonight.
We drove down to Moab, or at least the northern fringe of it, and got some gas. Then turned around and headed up Hwy 128 along the Colorado River, where several of the BLM campgrounds were located. The first one was Goose Island, maybe 3-4 miles up the road. However, it turned out to be full already. On we went to the next one, Granstaff, another 3-4 miles. Also full. The next one was Hal Canyon, I think. Also full. Another 5-6 miles further we came to Big Bend campground. At first it looked like there might be a site or two but it turned out not to be so. We were talking to a guy who had just found a spot and he said that he’d been at Horsethief campground the night before and there were several sites that never filled. Even though that was in the opposite direction from us, it was in the direction we’d be headed tomorrow so we decided to give it a try. Just before we left, however, he flagged us down and said that he had just seen a sign on the information board that said that the parking area across the road from Big Bend could be used for overflow camping if the campground was full. You can only stay one night, and you have to cross the highway to use the bathrooms but, it only cost $5 (or $2.50 for us card-carrying geezers) as opposed to $15/night for non-card carriers in the regular campground. Sounded good to us.
We pulled across the highway, chose a spot at one end of the empty parking area, got leveled and settled in for the night. Once the sun went down and the curtains were pulled, we could n’t tell this campsite from any other.
Only 3 other rigs took advantage of the overflow campsite. There was a rented motorhome with an unknown number of European travelers onboard, a young woman and her dog who pitched a tent, and this cute little rig:
It’s a 1978 (or maybe he said ’75) Toyota with an immaculate little “Cal Camper” on it. The rig was 16′ overall. Good thing it’s small and lightweight since it doesn’t have the 1-ton dually rear end like the bigger rigs have. It was pretty cramped inside, even for just him and his young daughter. He said there are usually 4 of them including his wife and their 2-1/2 year old son. But, cramped though it was, he said they get about 20 mpg (as opposed to our 15-16) and love their rig.
The Europeans were already gone when I took this photo. They don’t screw around. Up and outa there by about 7:00. Next stop for us: Dead Horse Point State Park.
Dinosaur National Monument to Price, UT: 134 mile
Price, UT to Big Bend Campground, including wandering around through Arches NP: 175 miles
Total to-date: 3,340 miles