Day 24: Moab and red rock country

Monday morning it was time to pack our suitcases once again. We are really happy about our investment in packing cubes, which helps us keep our clothes and things organised while on the go – one  cube for tops, one for bottoms, one for underwear etc. They make it so much easier to find things and to pack and unpack.

The rest of the family had left early for work or band camp, but Carolyn was really sweet and made packed lunches for us in cute brown bags with our names on them, and then it was time – yet again – to say goodbye  – or see you soon? We hope!

From Cedar Hills we drove southeast through some very empty, but very beautiful areas of Utah. For us who come from densely populated Europe all this emptiness continues to be fascinating! When we reached the small town of Helper we decided to stop for coffee. Helper is an old mining town, which looks like it has seen better days – there are several closed and dilapidated hotels and shops – but there are signs of new life: the Main Street is getting new sidewalks, there are several open antiques shops and a nice little café, where we got both coffee and cakes. Before we left we visit the antiques shop across the road, which had a lot of fun things – from old tools and car tires, a gas stove, salt and pepper shakers (but Ole doesn’t think we should start our own collection like the one we saw back in Iowa) to cassette tapes, doll heads and a whole room full of Christmas decorations.

The nice lady in the café had recommended we filled up the car here or in the next town, because there would be no gas stations for the next 60 miles, and those 60 miles where certainly very desolate and dry, but fascinating emptiness!

East of Green river we found a lay-by on a small hill with a great view – just the right spot for our lovely lunch (Tak for mad, Carolyn!).

Shortly before Moab we made a detour into Canyonlands National Park. This is true red rock country – beautiful rock formations like we have seen them on previous trips to neighbouring Arches NP and Monument Valley further south. In spite of the heat – 93 Fahrenheit today – we kept getting out of the car to take pictures of the red rocks and the amazing landscape.

From Canyonlands we drove into Moab to find our motel and to meet our next (and last on this trip) hosts, Helen and Bob from Ouray, Colorado, who had offered to come to Moab with their river raft to take us on a river trip the next day. Together we drove east along the Colorado river and found the perfect picnic spot, where we could go for a swim before picnicking on the beach and getting to know each other. Bob and Helen told us of their years as teachers at American schools in Honduras and Kuwait among other places, and of their trips in Saabs they bought at the factory in Sweden and drove through Europe before sending it home to the States. When it started to get dark we drove back to our motel in Moab, and Helen and Bob pitched their tent at a nearby camp ground to be ready for tomorrow’s trip.

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