One of our favorite people from Australia, a 14-year old boy named Riley, flew over to spend the summer with us (his take on his experience here is being chronicled at rileysroadtrip.wordpress.com). He said he hates camping, being in a car, and isn't impressed with nature--so why he agreed to a summer full of driving with a bunch of Americans and sleeping in tents in national parks is beyond me, but we're thrilled to have him here.
The night before we left for our road trip, Riley was researching how much a flight home would be mid-way through the summer in case he hated camping. Armed with an awesome tent he scored from Craigslist, though, I could tell he was as excited as we were to set off.
One of the best parts about road trips is taking the obligatory photo as you enter each state. We have pictures of all of us together on our real camera, but this is the only one I had handy on my phone...we must have entered a time warp at the Colorado/Utah border because we are clearly a family from 1972 here.
I wanted to impress Riley with the true beauty of the American west, and where better to do that than Arches National Park?
Months ago, I booked the last available spot in the aptly named Devil's Garden campground--aptly named at least in the summer, where the temperatures were in excess of 105 degrees (that's 40 Celsius).
We arrived late afternoon when the temperature was a totally reasonable 99 degrees. Riley bolted out of the car like a jackrabbit to claim the best camping spot for himself--to no avail, though, because we spent both nights camping under the stars, with the Milky Way in full view. For as hot as the wether was during the day, it was perfectly lovely at night and we all slept great.
Hikes to Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch in the morning were awesome--there is really nothing that matches this landscape.
Between hikes, we were all kept amused by Riley's incessant pleas to be dropped off at an airport and threats that he was going to make friends with someone in an RV and go off with them.
The English language doesn't have a word to describe the heat that we experienced by midday on our second day--fortunately, we escaped the heat by venturing out to the Mill Creek waterfall area for a much-needed swim.
I'm so glad we went through Arches, but two nights was enough and by the time we packed up on the morning of June 11 we were all looking forward to greener pastures and cooler temperatures ahead.