Two Pretty Boring Days in a Row – Day 67

Two Pretty Boring Days in a Row

Day 67 – June 6, 2003 – Friday

I saw two National Parks today…driving from Grand Junction, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a pretty boring day. Two less-than-exciting days in a row. This was a first for the trip.  Two Pretty Boring Days in a Row.

I did enjoy seeing where a huge dinosaur was discovered; some really incompetent rafters; and kids climbing a big, steep dirt mountain for a few seconds of dusty downhill fun. Dewey Service was an interesting find. I was unimpressed with Arches National Park; it had been built up to be really something to see, but it was nothing to me compared to the Grand Canyon and Big Bend. The various roads I drove were scenic and pleasant to drive. The driving day ended with some spectacular sunsets.

I spent several hours this morning working on the website, and then when I was ready to upload, it wouldn’t load. I don’t know what the problem was, but it didn’t work. It was a frustrating way to start the day.

Downtown Grand Junction, Colorado has a number of great sculptures. I took photos of a few of them.

I drove to the Colorado National Monument. The National Park Service seems to have a knack of hiring rangers to greet you who look like they should be actors or actresses. The ranger at the Colorado National Monument should be on TV! She was very funny. I mean this in a nice way: I smiled just looking at her. She was “funny” looking in a Ruth Buzzi, Carol Burnett sort of way.

The Colorado National Monument (National Park) is impressive — basically a good-sized canyon with a number of nice views. Not as grand as the Grand Canyon, Big Bend, or Glacier, but still good-sized and some interesting rock formations.

My next stop was Dinosaur Hill in Fruita, Colorado. A BIG dinosaur was discovered there. I took a photo of the hill and each of the replicas of the thigh bones from the dinosaur that was found there. I saw a big bench that was a replica of one of the small bones found on Dinosaur Hill.

Utah became state #22. This area in Utah is very desert-like. It’s just whitish, tannish ground with many mountains and little short dark green scrubby bushes. There are big mountains on the horizon. I met Helen at the Utah Visitor Information desk; I got a map, and a few suggestions.

I enjoyed a pleasant drive from Cisco to Moab, Utah. Helen didn’t recommend it as it meant backtracking, but the drive was better than what I drove to see at the Arches National Park.

I got a big kick out of some river rafters that I saw along the way. These young people could not pilot the raft to save their souls. They just kept running straight into the shoreline all the way down the river. I don’t know what the problem was, but I would guess these were amateur river rafters without the aid of an experienced guide. Fortunately, this was a very mild river, so it was more of a float. That made it even funnier that this boatload of young folks couldn’t figure out how to keep the raft straight and headed downriver rather than banging into the bank again and again and again….

About 10 miles south of Cisco, I screeched to a stop when I spotted Dewey Service Station. It looked like it used to be a service station, but all it I saw was a series of faded signs with paint that was curled up and peeling. The property was adorned with a variety of spiritual and social messages. There was a sign with the Ten Commandments; The Lord’s Bulletin Board listing the names and numbers for a mental health service, Alcoholics Anonymous, a number for runaway kids, and the Suicide Prevention Hotline; a sign listing all of the churches in the area; and a number of signs denouncing drug use. One of the many anti-drug signs said: “Warning! Drugs Do Kill. Say No.” There was a big sign proclaiming that “Three of the World’s Greatest Problems are (1) Misused Drugs, (2) Greed, (3) Waste” and “When Satan Rocks Your Boat, God is Your Best Anchor.” There was an area out back that I couldn’t quite figure out. It was definitely an interesting place. I planned to do some research to try to find out about this.

The next item of interest was a big, steep reddish sand-covered hill. There were a number of kids “sand surfing” on this hill. It was an incredibly steep hill.  The ride down appeared to be one big dust bath and might be somewhat fun, but the walk up would rule this out as a personal leisure time activity for me.

I met Ranger Janet at the entrance to the Arches National Park. I couldn’t convince her to give me the $50 pass. I told her I had receipts from all of the national parks I had already visited, so I could prove that I had already spent more than $50 on admission fees. No go.

I hiked a long way to see the major attraction at Arches — the Delicate Arch. Well, it was a tiny, disappointing thing, so I left. I’ve seen so many rock formations at this point that Arches just didn’t get my attention. People have been very surprised when I told them my reaction.

I pulled off to take a picture of the Helper City Limits sign. I drove through downtown Helper and it looked like it could use a little helper.

I passed through the town of Draper as the sun was setting. There was an amazingly orange sunset; it was very beautiful.

I reached the Candlewood Suites about 9:30. Wash night. Dinner was a bowl of Campbell’s Soup at the Candlewood Suites Snack Counter. It took five hours to do my wash as the power kept going out in the hotel. I finally got to sleep at 2:30 am. It was a long day.

I did some research about Dewey Service Station between Cisco and Moab. The former service station was once both a business and home of Harry Ballard Harris, an 87-year-old cowboy and an attraction of sorts over the years. He still lived there out back; he’d lived there next to the Dewey Bridge for 40 years.

Following his retirement from the Utah Department of Transportation in 1976, he operated the service station along Utah Highway 128 for many years. He would meet and greet thousands of tourists from around the country and the world.

Mr. Harris also devoted himself to providing a safe and reliable feeding station for hundreds of wild birds — peacocks, turkeys, doves, pigeons, and many others, calling it his “offering to God.” He was apparently a very fine man who was very concerned about the well-being of others, especially kids, and he apparently had reasons to denounce drug use.

The dullest of days can be brightened by a great sunset or the discovery that something you saw on the side of the road had far greater meaning than you first suspected. I have a feeling that if I had been fortunate enough to meet Mr. Harris, today would have been a special day.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Colorado National Monument — Dinosaur Hill — Dewey Service Station — Arches National Park