At the Portal RV Resort, Moab, Utah…
We took it easy today without too much on the schedule. The first order of business was to contract with C&C Power Wash to give Phannie a much-needed bath. I learned about the service from watching the wash job they performed on the coach parked next door. I strolled over and made an appointment for later in the day. We left for lunch and some more sightseeing around town and when we returned, Phannie was shining like a new penny!
In case you're wondering what a wash job costs on a 40-foot motor home (they usually charge by the foot), I have been paying between $100 and $135. When we were in the Rio Grande Valley last winter, we only paid $75; what a bargain! A wax job runs $400-500. (Phannie doesn't get many of these.)
We had lunch at Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro on Main Street. The sandwiches were pretty good, as were the baked goods we tried, but we couldn't recommend this place as anything special. In fact, it didn't impress me enough to include a photo.
Sandy did some shopping (of course), and I used that time to position myself to take a photo of the downtown area. I snapped this while stopped at a traffic signal:
This photo is a little deceiving, as the town actually looks bigger and busier than it appears here. Main Street, pictured above, is very wide, and the business district stretches for a considerable distance. The tourist trade clearly supports the economy here, and there doesn't appear to be much commerce of other kinds. Due to the rugged natural beauty of the area, many movies have been set in this location or have had scenes shot around Moab. You may recognize a few of them: Wagon Master (with John Wayne), The Lone Ranger, Thelma and Louise, Forrest Gump, Need for Speed, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Mission Impossible II. Oh, and yes, the sky really is that blue.
We decided to eat dinner at Buck's Grill House, again on Main Street:
I've included a photo above, but I don't have anything exemplary to report about the food. Sandy and I shared a steak, and it seemed about the same quality as that of an Outback Steakhouse, except a bit more expensive. Nothing against Outback, mind you, but I don't think that chain can claim its restaurants have the status of a fine steakhouse. And neither can Buck's.
After dinner, we took an evening cruise on a flat-bottomed sightseeing boat operated by Canyonlands at Night, a tour operator whose headquarters complex includes a boat dock on the Colorado River just north of town. (The not-very-good photo below is used with permission of the tour operator.)
The tour began as the sun was setting, so we motored upriver for about three miles while the tour guide, Preston, gave a lively and informative narrative describing the Moab area and sights along the river:
As we reached the terminus of the three-mile upriver leg, it was fully dark, and then music started. Suddenly, the walls of the canyon were illuminated as a narration began over the music and the boat began to drift slowly back downriver. The lighting of the canyon was provided by a truck upon which was mounted a large generator and a bank of powerful lights, the illumination of which was synchronized perfectly with the narration and the music.
The truck and the light operators drove slowly along the road adjacent to the river, mostly out of the sight of the passengers, playing the light above us on the rock faces of the high canyon in varying angles and levels of brightness. For example, some of the recorded narrative included thunder, and the lights on the canyon walls flashed in perfect timing to simulate lightning just before the thunder sounded. I can't imagine how they were able to synchronize the presentation so perfectly.
At one point, the narrative suddenly was interrupted by a loud gunshot on the recording, totally unexpected by the passengers. Sandy, who is easily spooked, very nearly jumped out of the boat! (She wasn't very appreciative of my mirth afterward, which I was not able to control at all.)
The music was a symphonic mixture of patriotic and religious themes and was very effective in setting an emotional mood among the passengers of pride and awe in living in a great country and enjoying God's creation. One worry that I have is that some pinhead will challenge the (very mild) Christian theme and, once again, the religious freedom of the many will be stifled by a noisy minority and godless politicians.
The whole experience was very pleasant, and the weather cooperated fully with a perfect temperature in the canyon and a few clouds allowing the moon to dart in and out. I can't call this a "must see" experience, as it wasn't really breathtaking. But I can tell you that we enjoyed it and thought it was worth the price of admission.
Tomorrow we tour Arches National Park, so stay tuned!