Nothing like having to stop on the hard shoulder of the freeway because the windscreen seal is flapping making a dreadful noise! We didn’t know what the noise was for a while and Nathan tried duct taping it down sticking his hand out the window.

The high winds just ripped it right off. We pulled over and tried to stick it down again. It lasted all of about 5 miles. This time instead of sticking it down, he ripped it off and discovered it had already snapped three times hence why it wasn’t sticking! The flapping finally stopped and we could journey in peace. The car is ok. Probably our least favourite so far. There is less leg room in the front, but I can put my legs on the dashboard. There’s less room the drivers side too. The boot is smaller. The cup holders are smaller. The air con blows everywhere but where you want it. Still, it gets us from a to b and we may only have it for ten days as we still have to renew the paperwork on the 22nd June.

Anyway. Our destination today was to be Arches National Park back in Utah. It was a five and a half hour drive once we sorted the car. Colorado truly is a beautiful state. The drives have picturesque landscape around them and you’re constantly twisting and turning through hills and mountains. Almost everywhere you look you can see the Rocky Mountains in the distance. It truly is beautiful to drive through.It felt like we were on a never ending downhill road. We passed a truck who had to go off into the “I’m an out of control truck lane” as well as copious amounts of roadworks. It’s what’s reminds us of home the most! We wanted Chili’s for lunch but couldn’t find the one on the satnav so in the end we found ourselves in Grand Junction.

Here we stopped at Applebee’s due to their half price appetisers for happy hour! Yay! Gotta love mozzarella sticks and chicken wontons. They’re delicious! After filling up on chicken wings we pondered for a minute as to what to do next. Arches is undergoing road closures from 7pm so you have to be out of the park by then. By the time we got there it would have been 5.30pm and we didn’t want to rush, plus accommodation in Moab, the closest town was expensive, three times as much as in Grand Junction. The decision was made. We would visit Colorado National Monument then stay in Grand Junction. Somewhere that had laundry!

We set off towards the monument being maverick and not using the satnav. Instead we just followed the signs and arrived. It was only about ten minutes away! We flashed our pass again, saving another $15 and collected our map. The trail was 28 miles long and looped around this fantastic canyon. There were several viewpoints along the way as we began to climb. We stopped at Cold Shivers Point and soon realised why it was named that. The wind was so friggin strong and bitterly cold! It was so strong it could actually move us. As we peered over the edge the view wasn’t particularly stunning so we snapped a couple of pictures then went back to the car. As we got off the trail the wind stopped immediately. It was super weird!We followed the Rim Rock Drive another 8 miles to Red Canyon Overlook. The views started to get better from here. We we’re only at an elevation of about 6400ft but my chest was still feeling the altitude.We continued driving up to the highest point in the drive which was 6640ft. Next stop was Artists Point. As we rounded the corner from here we could see the Coke Ovens.Since we visited the Grand Canyon, Nathan has been like a monkey, itching to climb rocks and go as close the edge of places as possible. Here was no different and it wasn’t long until we saw these beauties perched at the side of the road.Of course we stopped to indulge in a bit of light rock climbing. My hayfever was playing up big style and my chest was a little tight but after I saw how easy Nathan got up, I followed.The wind was fierce and I did stop for a minute or so on one bit as I figured out where to put my foot without slipping. Yes once again we had our trusty Skechers on instead of our bloody walking boots! One day we will learn…Whilst it doesn’t look that high it felt it when we were at the top. I pretty much crawled up in on all fours, then when coming down, scooted along my butt! It was fun!

That meant Nathan wanted to climb more rocks but we had to settle for going slightly off the beaten path instead. We pulled off the road and parked up, then tried to find our way through the trees and bushes to the edge of the canyon. Through sand, brushing up against trees, plants, bushes, we made it.From here we could Independence Monument, a rock standing 450ft tall. We worked our way back to the car, feeling like bugs were crawling all over us and drove to the actual viewpoint.The views were much better over this side of the park! Independence Monument is the largest free standing rock in the park. We continued further and rounded the bends to the visitor centre. We got our obligatory passport stamp then continued towards the exit. We had entered the park at the East entrance and exited via the West entrance. At the last viewpoint you could look down at the road we were going to exit by.  We stopped on the road to look at a balanced Rock which is a 600 tonne rock perched on a plateau. It hasn’t fallen yet!John Otto came to this park in 1907 and fell in love with it. He commissioned for it to become a national park but not everyone agrees with him. He lived an isolated life out in the park building the park trails until eventually in 1911, it was declared a national monument. As a reward, he spent the next 16 years working as the parks caretaker for $1 a month!

The park was beautiful in its own way. It wasn’t until we exited and drove parallel to it that we realised the true vastness of it. The different colours of the rocks contrasted against the green, very green trees made it a vision. 

We drove the twelve miles back to our hotel. Again without the use of a satnav! The evening consisted of watching the whole of suicide squad, doing laundry and working out what we’re doing for our last 17 days in America.

So now we sit here, after almost running out of gas, twenty minutes into queuing for Arches National Park, with Nathan playing solitaire and me writing to you guys, waiting to see what awaits us on the other side…

Until later….🇺🇸