Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Arches National Park

At Portal RV Resort, Moab, Utah…

We tried yet another different restaurant today for lunch--Eklectica Coffee and Collectibles on Main Street. There are any number of factors that contribute to our choices of new and untested restaurants. This one was chosen out of sheer curiosity; there was nothing like it in the whole town. The restaurant was obviously an old house in its former life and, for the world, it looks like the new owners did nothing to it but let the yard get out of control. They didn't do much inside either, as the rooms had been rather minimally converted to a small dining room, a baked goods counter, a storage area and a kitchen.  

We were met by the owner, a personable woman of about forty who was no slave to makeup or fashion. She wore jeans that needed to be a bit less snug, and her hair was pulled back into a pony tail that clearly was not part of a discernible style. 

There were a number of other customers in line at the counter and, judging by their ordering of vegetarian dishes and expressions of concern about gluten, Eklectica may have a cult following of those souls who eschew the meat, fish and fowl that God intended for us to eat in favor of the weeds, twigs and briars that God intended for the animals to eat. (Please don't write me nasty notes; I'm just pulling your, uh, thistle.) Feeling a need to plant the flag for us carnivores, I filtered out anything on the menu that seemed cholesterol-free and ordered a hamburger. Sandy, ever supportive, selected a gyro. A hush fell over the room, but we didn't blink. Neither did the cooks, who did a fine job with the big, meaty sandwiches and for which the pony tail was happy to collect about 20 bucks.  Especially worthy of honorable mention were the homemade salad dressings. A large side salad accompanied Sandy's gyro, and the ginger-sesame-soy dressing was superb.

Another surprise was the owner's ability to discern our state of residence; as we left, she said, "Have a safe trip back to Texas." We had not revealed this information to her, and our car was parked out of sight, so we had to assume that our Texas twang may be more pronounced than we thought!

Yes, this place is worth a visit if you happen to be in Moab; you'll enjoy it.

We waited until mid-afternoon to drive the short distance out to Arches National Park, knowing that the sun's position would be much better for photography as it dropped lower in the sky. This creates shadows, of course, that give depth and contour to the landscape.

The drive through the park was not exceptionally lengthy, and most of the attractions can be adequately viewed without much walking. We found the geological formations fascinating and beautiful, so much so that they would not have seemed real if we had not been seeing them in person.

I am including some photos of some of the more iconic views of the rock formations we saw, being mindful of how boring some blogs can be when the writer includes dozens of mediocre shots of the same thing. I certainly shoot my share of photos that fall into this category, but I try to be very discerning for you readers, as I cull all but the best for inclusion in the blog.

In the photo below, the more distant formation is called the "Courthouse."

Next is one of two "Windows" arches.  The other window is not visible without a hike, and we weren't up to it:

I can't remember what this formation is named, but I just liked it with the mountains in the background:

Next is the "Balanced Rock." Sort of appropriate, don't you think?:

One of the most photographed arches in the park is the "Delicate Arch" below:

The Delicate Arch is much more distant from the non-hiking viewing area than we expected. Had it not been for the 40X zoom on my camera, this image would not be much to see. 

I took many, many more photos, of course, as there was a lot to see. The ones I included above will hopefully give you a flavor of what to expect in this magical place. The geology of Arches is also interesting, of course, but I didn't mention it here, in order to keep this blog from reading like a textbook. If you're interested in a more in-depth study, there are many sources on the Internet that would be better than what I would try to summarize here as a layman.

Trekking around Arches made us hungry, of course, so we selected the Szechwan restaurant for dinner:

As I always check reviews of restaurants before making it a choice, I was a little nervous about this one, as it didn't receive the best comments. After studying them a little more, however, it seemed most of the reviews involved a dissatisfaction with the prices. What we found was some of best Chinese food we've had in a long time. We had egg rolls, chicken with vegetables and pork fried rice. We made a special request to specify the vegetables to be used in the chicken dish, and they happily complied. Sandy remarked that the pork fried rice was very similar to that which we make at home and which, of course, was to our liking.  The chicken was plentiful and oh, so tender. The only slight blemish involved the egg rolls, which were slightly mushy underneath the crispy exterior; I probably wouldn't order those again.

Was it pricier than normal? Well, yes, I suppose so, but not to the extent that I would exclude it. I'm willing to pay a bit more for really good food.  I suppose we are getting accustomed to price gouging at popular tourist destinations; such was the case at Estes Park, and Moab is only slightly less guilty.

Tomorrow we go to Canyonlands National Park; see you afterward! 


  1. I'm right there with you on ordering the burger. We need to visit Moab but not in May or June. There were so many people there we couldn't even find a place to stop in Arches. All we could do was drive around. Couldn't even stop to take pictures because the cars were lined up behind us. Horrible.

  2. that hike to Delicate Arch was a killer one indeed...

  3. Great pictures of the park. Makes me even more determined to get there:)

  4. I'm happy you enjoyed Eklecticafe! I believe I'm the one who helped you... You know, the one who's pants were a little too snug, etc. Just to clarify, I am not the owner. I'm just a happy worker bee. If you would have asked, I would have been happy to tell you that the actual owner, Julie Fox, has owned/operated Eklectica for 18 years now. By the way, if I had known you were coming in, I would have had my hair, make up, and wardrobe professionally done. But, thanks for the nicer things you said!

  5. My daughter and I zipped thru Arches one the formations. However, I tried the trail to the Arch on the considering I was out of shape to hike anywhere.. I returned to the truck. My daughter finished the hike in flip-flops.. You can tell she was prepared. But really enjoyed Arches.

  6. Arches is one of our favorite parks ... good to see Balanced Rock is still ... well, balanced. I was just reading about Delicate Arch being used by adrenaline junkies for some high-adventure sports ... sure hope they don't ruin it before we get to visit it again.


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