Green River/Arches National Park

Trip Start Nov 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Friday, June 11, 2010

Green River Day 1 - After a very cold night in Bryce, we enjoyed the warmth of the car as we drove on Hwy 12 heading towards Green River, listening to Chris Moyles on Radio 1. After an hour of driving we arrived at a place called Boulder, where I had read about a restaurant called ’Hell’s Backbone Grill’, which was meant to be a good place for breakfast. After our rough night in the tent, we were desperate for a good wholesome, hot breakfast and luckily for us we weren’t disappointed - it was fantastic! We both had the ’Backbone Breakfast’ which had 2 eggs perfectly fried ‘over easy’ with a sprinkling of paprika over the top, 2 home-made hash browns, 2 slices of home-made oatmeal molasses bread with cinnamon butter and apple sauce and a slice of orange and strawberry, washed down with a hot cup of tea…so delicious and just what we needed! Feeling loads better, we got back in the car and continued our drive listening to all the World Cup news, which was starting later that day - South Africa playing Mexico.

On the highway, we drove past 5 red-headed vultures feeding on a road-kill hare, and a prairie dog strolling across the road, going so slow that Doog in the end had to swerve around him despite seeing him a long way off on the straight road.

The drive to Green River was actually really impressive. The road runs along a high ridge, with huge drops either side of it leading to huge orange rocks - something we were becoming familiar with in Utah. We stopped at a few of the scenic lookout points before the road then took us through an Aspen forest.

From Hwy 12, we took Hwy 72 onto I-70 to Green River. With the England/USA game the following day in our minds, and the fact that we didn’t want to spend another night in a tent, we checked into a motel called the Robber’s Roost at only $40/night. We asked the girl who checked us in if she knew of anywhere showing the game but she seemed totally oblivious to the fact that there was a World Cup about to start. She did however suggest we try Ray’s Tavern, which was only 2 doors down.

After taking much-needed showers after 2 nights camping and a sleepless night, both Doog and I had Skype conversations with our families, wearing our new England caps for the occasion. It was then 3pm and time for a late lunch. We stopped in on Ray’s on the way to the supermarket and we were relieved to find out that indeed the game would be shown there the next day. We bought some salads to take back to our motel room to eat. Suddenly, last night’s events and all the driving caught up with Doog and sleep overcame him. Whilst he had a nap, I tried to catch up a little on our blog…getting a bit behind…and made use of the free WiFi.

At 7pm, I woke Doog up as we hadn’t bought anything for dinner. With a sleepy Doog in tow, we bought microwavable macaroni and cheese from the supermarket and a box of cherry tomatoes to make it a little healthier! Just as we sat down to tuck into our nutritious meal, I found Pretty Woman on our cable TV! Doog kindly let me watch it, even though I’ve seen it loads of times before, but I convinced him it was background research for our trip to LA. It had been a very relaxing day - all set for England’s first World Cup game the next day.

Green River Day 2 - We woke up with the England game on our minds, our opening game against the US - nervous moments! It was on at 12.30pm, so we had a few hours to kill, most of which we passed by emailing people and surfing the net. We made our way over to Ray’s Tavern at 12pm, Doog proudly waering his England cap. There were a quite a few people in Ray’s, how many were actually there for the game, we weren’t too sure. We sat at the bar near the TV and ordered burgers for lunch and sat nervously as the build-up began on the TV.

England got off to a good start with Steven Gerrard scoring after 4 minutes! This seemed far too good to be true…which indeed was the case when Robert Green made a huge goal keeping blunder, fumbled the ball and let in a weak shot from Dempsy. As the ball slipped underneath Green’s hands, he reached back in a last ditch attempt to save the goal but the ball trickled over the line and Green ended up just punching the ground instead. What a disaster! With no further goals scored in the second half, despite a few attempts by England and a US shot deflected off the post, we had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

During the game, an American guy sat next to us started to chat with us. It was very hard to pay attention to what he was saying with the game on in the background, but he did say that he ‘didn’t care for the USA team’ and that he was going to support England instead as he ‘liked their style of play’. This was very surprising for us to hear that someone supports England for this reason…as the game proved, style in the way we play is usually lacking.

Despite our disappointment, we had to pick ourselves up and so at 3pm we left for Arches National Park, the reason why we had come to Green River. The weather seemed to match our mood and it started to rain during the drive. The park was an hour away and by the time we had reached it, thankfully the rain had stopped. At the entrance to the park, the ticket man asked us where we were from, when Doog said ‘England’ he responded with ‘I thought I could detect a European accent’, which I thought sounded a bit weird…as though the whole of Europe has the same accent, but Doog thought it was fine. We picked up some maps from the information centre and watched a short film about the park before setting out on a little tour in the short time we had given ourselves.

We first went to see ‘landscape arch’, a short hike from the main road. The arch was said to be the length of a football field -although Doog and I had our doubts about this. Still, it was very impressive. The arch had a huge slab of rock fall from underneath it in 1991 and as a result the area has been roped off and you can no longer walk underneath the arch. It was thought to be caused by heavy rain that had been absorbed by the rock making it heavier, leading to it breaking off. I was more than happy to look at the arch from a distance as it looks very fragile…and as it had just rained.

On the walk back to the car we saw 2 more arches, ‘pure arch’ and ‘tunnel arch’ - good to see but not as impressive as landscape arch. We then drove to the start of the trail to ‘delicate arch’. We could either hike a 5 mile round trip right to the foot of the arch, or do a shorter hike to see the arch from the other side of a canyon. As we were a bit pressed for time, we went for the shorter option, knowing that the view was probably not going to be as good. We will have to see the arch close up the next time we go! As the sun was setting, around 8pm, we made our way back to the car as we had a few more things we wanted to see before leaving the park.

We stopped at ‘Eden’s Garden’, with was a group of red sandstone pillars weathered into peculiar shapes and then at the ‘North and South windows’. By this time it was getting dark and the sky looked very ominous with heavy black rain clouds coming our way. Knowing we had little time before a torrential downpour hit us, we raced around the windows (huge archways with a view of the park beyond them). With the light, it all looked very eerie and made for some cool photo opportunities.

As we took our last photo and ran towards the car, we felt the first rain drops fall. Driving out of the park, we headed straight into the black clouds and into torrential rain. By this point it was 9pm and the plan had been to drive to nearby Moab to get food, but as Doog didn’t fancy driving back to Green River any later in the rain, we decided to head straight back in the hope we could buy something there.

The rain became so heavy and came at the car window screen in horizontal sheets so that it was impossible to see the road ahead of us. The journey back seemed like it went on forever but 1 hour and a half later we had made it back to Green River. The rain had now eased off but we were faced with another problem of trying to buy food as everywhere had shut. In the end, we found a mini supermarket open and bought several pot noodles to have back at our motel room. We were just so happy to be back that it didn’t really matter what we had to eat.
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