Day Three

Good morning from beautiful Moab, Utah. We've all had a great night of sleep after another great day of touring.

Yesterday started out with an early call time to the bus--7:30AM. We all managed to make it on time, getting breakfast ahead of our departure at the hotel's continental breakfast again. It was going to be a long day of driving, so we brought some movies to watch along the way. If only it were that simple...

When we put the DVD into the player, there was much confusion as the beginning of the film was in Spanish. After about fifteen minutes of struggling to figure out how the heck to change the DVD and bus entertainment system's language into English (our bus driver Jose could offer little assistance as he was responsibly keeping his eyes on the road), I managed to get it set up and find the way to reach the DVD's root menu to get the movie to play with English audio. We enjoyed the first two Harry Potter films, as well as about half of "Enchanted" (we will be finishing that this morning I'm sure!) on our long ride yesterday. Hopefully Jose hasn't been watching any movies in the bus since yesterday afternoon, or we might have to go through the whole process again. At least this time I will have a better idea of how to do it!

We stopped for lunch at a pretty nice mall in the middle of nowhere in Utah. After a quick bite to eat, we headed back to the bus to complete the final leg of our journey to Moab and the Arches National Park. We arrived at the visitor center, had a quick bathroom break, applied copious amounts of sunscreen, and drove with mouths agape through the park. To say the scenery was unbelievable is an understatement. I guess I'll have to let the pictures speak for themselves. We arrived at Devil's Garden with about an hour of time to make the one-mile hike to the Landscape Arch, with some of us opting to see the Tunnel Arch and the Pine Tree Arch instead. I think I was the only one who managed to catch all three (getting in my cardio for the day for sure!), and because of that some of the girls got some video footage of me sprinting back to the bus to get there before the parking lot closed.

This is where our story gets a little bit juicy. I had arrived back at the bus with about 5 minutes to spare before the parking lot closed, and about two seconds before torrential rains hit. The sky let loose with rain and hail, and it was really amazing to see all of the scenery we had just been hiking in covered in hail (it looked like it had snowed!) from a distance as we drove away. Wanting to see a few more arches before the park closed, we turned onto a side road and headed toward them, spotting some temporary waterfalls coming down the cliffs and over some arches. We arrived at a little parking lot, and a few of us braved the rain to try to get a quick shot of one of the Window Arches. It was then that I heard over a bullhorn, "PLEASE RETURN TO THE TOUR BUS IMMEDIATELY! PLEASE RETURN TO THE TOUR BUS IMMEDIATELY!" I looked back to the bus, and there was a ranger vehicle with the blue and red lights blazing. Uh oh. Apparently, we had missed a "Road Closed" sign (in reality, a "Road Closed Ahead" sign--we might be able to fight this), and because of this we were "detained" for a good 15-20 minutes. Facing up to a $700 fine (we almost had to give a benefit concert last night), we managed to get away with a $130 slap on the wrist --but man was it a bit tense for a few minutes there!

After being let go by the Feds, we headed back into Moab for a great dinner. The girls learned about some new culinary treats: fried bread and fry sauce. Apparently, both are big deals in Utah, and both are big hits with the girls! After huge portions and ice cream on top of that, we checked into our hotel and many of the girls took advantage of the free time to have a short pool party. All of us were back in our rooms by the 10PM curfew, and we settled down for a good night's sleep (I know I did, at least!).

So today, it's onward to Salt Lake City!
-R