It began differently than any of our other states.
Why? Well, we were driving separately after a very unfortunate issue with our tow bar. (It’s since been fixed – but I’ll have Jeremiah do a blog on that.) That meant I followed in the Tahoe behind Jeremiah, winding into the most beautiful red rocked canyons and crevices I have ever been. One of the biggest tips I can advocate – and I’ve said this before – is if you want to hit the road in an RV, get a solid pair of walkie talkies. We started out as newbs with a decent pair of bright blue walkies, but they ate batteries, so before we headed to Mexico we grabbed a solid radio duo.
Singing to Lady Gaga in Utah
As we headed into Utah, I pressed the down button to talk to Jeremiah. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” I told him as we drove across HWY 70 near the Salt Wash View Area, “I’m almost crying.” A few minutes later I pinged him again, “this is so crazy! Can we make a stop at the viewing area?”
“Sure,” he replied, “and you left the button down so I’ve been listening to you yell Lady Gaga.”
If you’ve never been impressed by a viewpoint, I don’t blame you. Sometimes I feel like viewpoints are just thrown along the side of a highway for people to stop, rest, stretch their legs, have a picnic lunch, but they leave little for beauty. This was decidedly not so here. We meandered across a sandy area, stepped out onto some rocks, and marveled at the incredible beauty of Utah.
Visiting the National Parks
Within a few days we had ventured into both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. If you visit Moab, don’t skip out on Cayonlands. It’s less busy, and equally stunning in a different way. If you’re a bit of a crier though, as I am when it comes to all things nature, then you might find yourself incredibly teary and goosebumpy when you visit Arches. The red rocks, the formations, and the sheer beauty are not something you can easily comprehend without visiting.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Arches, it also turns out, is where the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed: this fact was brought to my attention when Jeremiah scurried out of the bedroom one evening as I typed at the computer. “The Last Crusade is filmed at Arches! Come look!” Having visting the previous day, I scurried back to the tv with him, and we watched the entirety of the final Indiana Jones triology together, smiling at the fact we’d just been there. (Yes, I am calling it a triology because the 4th one doesn’t count and you know it.)
I want to go over all the places we hiked through Utah, but let’s be honest: pictures are going to tell a better story than words. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, but I think the following pictures will be a little more informative and engaging than a 50-page blog.
Boondocking outside Arches National Park
Our campsite was the busiest boondocking place we’ve ever stayed – but the gravel road literally goes to Arches National Park. It’s not an entrance to the park, but you can imagine how gorgeous the red rock views were.
Arches National Park: everything else will never compare
We hit Arches up mid-week and it was still very very busy. September is the ideal time to go though, with beautiful weather, although by the afternoon the smoke from the West coast fires had substantially changed our view. Because of my lungs, we viewed much of the park from the car, since asthma+smoke=not great. It was still absolutely breathtaking, as seen in these one billion photos.
Canyonlands National Park
One of the biggest bummers, when it came to visiting Canyonlands National Park – which is about 30 minutes from Arches (isn’t that crazy?? Utah is SO beautiful that they just have national parks like every 23 feet), was that it was very hazy during our visit. The smoke had gotten worse from the previous day. Some of the sights were beautiful but just lacked a lot of detail. Utah has stolen my heart though, so I think I will be going back – even if it’s not in an RV. We still have 3 national parks we haven’t visted, and honestly hadn’t planned on going to Utah until 2021. RV life is pretty cool, y’all. Here are some pictures that we captured despite the haze.
Tips for visiting Moab, Utah in an RV
- Skip the restaurants – we got take out a couple times and each time it was overpriced, mediocre tourist food. A coffee shop made both of our drinks wrong, and the service everywhere was bleh. The one exception? The cutest ice cream store/cafe/great coffee place called Moab Garage Co. Fantastic service, and adorable Instagram-worthy decor. (I took pictures for inspo for our next house. Seriously.)
- There’s a Kroger in Moab which was very fully stocked.
- Mail Service – if you need packages delivered, use the Moab Mailing Center. Super friendly, and helped us when a package was delivered super late by forwarding it to our next stop. Incredibly helpful.
- Camp on the North end of town. It’s busy but if you get there early enough there’s no problem getting a site, and it sets you up to be closer to both entrances of the parks.
- It gets hot there – it was high 90s many days, so A/C is pretty necessary in early September. The mornings and night are cold though, which helps.
- There are several free or very low-cost dump sites throughout the town, but be warned that there is substantial road construction occurring – at least when we visited. For that reason we actually skipped going through the town in our motorhome and only took our tow vehicle through.
Now, I need your help! I want to create the best Utah itinerary for when we’re there for a longer period of time – maybe 2021 or 2022. Tips or advice? Places we MUST see that aren’t the obvious? And oh, extra points if you can point me to some swimming holes.