Monday, July 21, 2008

Moab to Idaho Falls


Thursday morning and I was leaving Moab. I wanted to go find some petroglyphs on the canyon walls, so I followed directions I had received from the visitor’s center and wound my way into Moon Flower Canyon. It was a little after seven and the shadows made the drive cool. Windows down, dirt road, mountain bikers riding to their morning downhills, a stream winding through the canyon. After about fifteen miles (and three sites I should have seen), I never saw any rock art. I did see several cave dwelling homes, some great mountain bike trails (Cliffhanger being one of them), and had a gorgeous mornig drive. I capped off my stay in Moab wishing I had found the time to ride my bike, but settled instead for a great omelette and fantastic service at Moab Diner, highly recommended by my brother.


There are less than a half dozen states I have not been to, and Idaho used to be one of them until last week. I was heading up to Grand Teton and Idaho seemed the best way to go. I debated myself repeatedly about my route though. Pure direction dictated one route, AAA gave me another, and then I tried to weigh in. Eastern Utah does not have a lot in it. It’s desert and it’s desolate. There are huge stretches of nothingness-- no services, no drivers, almost even an absence of landscape. My route to Idaho Falls would likely include several of these stretches. My concern, as a woman driving alone, was to get those stretches without services to as few miles as possible. I settled on route 6 north from I-70. There were plenty of cars and an old Indigo Girls CD helped me head out of the desert. As I continued north, between about Price and Provo, the drive became gorgeous. I followed a river up into the mountains, curving and winding, the road flowing.

I did not like Salt Lake City. Construction for miles and hours. I never once saw a sign for the lake, which I did not understand. And everyone kept cutting me off, and yet no one sped. Annoying.

Eventually, the dullness of Northern Utah gave way to Idaho and I did a little dance. Idaho opened up, its huge rolling hills like pale green potatoes bunched together, small trees dotting it like eyes. The wind beat my car, shears shoving me to the side of the road. I landed in Idaho Falls and stayed right on the river. I grabbed my bike off the top of my car and headed down towards the Falls in the afternoon sun. The falls in Idaho Falls are not very big at all, but they were pretty. Residents were out tubing, swimming, walking.

The next day, leaving the Falls, I drove west towards Jackson. The potato-looking hills gave way to potato fields, as I followed the Snake River around its bends. Idaho was gorgeous, and remains one of the nicest surprises of my trip so far.

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