The Road Warriors have completed the journey north and are happily ensconced in a friendly forest refuge near the banks of the Mississippi. There truly is nothing as fine as being in the north woods at the very beginning of autumn. The air is bright and clear and healthy, the leaves are taking on that first tinge of gold accompanied by a red-leaved cold-weather forecast from the sumac scattered throughout the birch, aspen and pine along the tree-lined trails and roadways. I love it here. Absolutely. Totally.

It was a most satisfactory trip starting with the first day’s long drive from Inca Street in Albuquerque to Moab, Utah, moving on to Casper, Wyoming the next day, next to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a stopover, and ending yesterday in an easy eight hour day from Sioux Falls to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Ghost performed admirably and I proved to myself that long days of meandering through western geography is still a pleasure.

Here, in a few photo/word albums, is the story.

Chapter One:
Arches National Park—Worth Every Extra Mile

Ghost hadn’t been anywhere before we left at 6am Saturday morning for Moab but she appears to enjoy her Road Warrior freedom. We bonded by the time we hit the New Mexico state line for some minutes and miles in Arizona and then the big crossing over into Utah. Highway 550 out of Albuquerque is a slightly picturesque drive until the approach to the Farmington area, then it’s all roadside fast food, gas station, and Dollar store ugliness to Shiprock. The geography picks up after that and just gets better and better as I head up 191 to Moab. Since my regular family-visit drives are either far to the northeast or southwest of Albuquerque, and I wanted a new route for at least part of the way, Utah seemed logical and Arches National Park at the end of the day—a fine reward for getting an early start.

I was reading the Mountain Meadow Massacre just before the trip so I thought a lot about Mormons and religions and cults and what odd and damaging beliefs people choose to hold…  But then the landscape diverted me.

The geography alternates between stark and big and grand on up to Moab. Stopping at my previously booked hotel cast a momentary pall since it turned out to be both expensive and shabby. Once attractive tourist lodging which had been overshadowed by the chains come to town, it just hadn’t been maintained. Dirty windows, cobwebs outside the door, a feeling of not having been properly cleaned since 1999. But acceptable enough not to go to the trouble of moving. My mission was the Arches, not the quality of my bed for the night.

Arches National Park is simply magnificent. It’s like the gigantic untamed wild west version of Petra in Jordan. The red rock wonderlands are similar in their awe-inspiring glory but one, Petra, reflects the human ability to create beauty (when not in destruction mode) and Arches is what eons of nature offers up. Both beyond my or anyone else’s words to adequately describe.




  1. I am reading this on the eve of my departure to the Land of Enchantment….where my soul surely resides. Your photos are great and a reminder to me how grand and special the American West is. If I could only put into a bottle to use later some of this land to lather on my heart when it needs mending. How I love the west….thanks so much for sharing these photos…it make me feel good…soon I will be out there.

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