The next morning when I awoke in my cheap motel in Hatch, Utah, I looked out the window and only saw a thick layer of fog. I realized that this might take a while to burn off and that was okay since I am now so used to my morning routine of waking slowly, stretching and then walking back and forth in my bedroom until I start to feel normal.
Eventually, the sun burned it’s way thru the blanket of grey and I set off for Moab, Utah. I had reserved two nights at the Motel 6 and planned on taking it easy there, soaking in their hot tub, then exploring Arches National Park.
The drive to Moab from Hatch passes through some of the most dramatic scenery in the west. You pass snow-capped mountain ranges, round bends thru red canyons, and skirt along cliffs that drop off into deep gorges.
Along the first part of the trip, I stumbled by accident upon the boyhood home of Butch Cassidy. There it was: a simple, one room, log cabin at the edge of small parking lot, in a valley that overlooked a magnificent mountain range. The only other person here was a young man and his dog who lived in Colorado but was originally from Connecticut. We talked a bit travel and it turned out they were also headed to Moab. I wished him well, took some photos of the homestead, read the signs and got back in the car for my long ride to Moab.
By the time I arrived, it was late in the afternoon. I settled into my efficient space and went out in search of a beer and a burger. Luckily, Moab caters to adventure travelers and is a tourist town with lots of options. Beer and wine are easily found here, unlike the rest of southern Utah.
I made my way to the Moab Brewery and found an empty place at the bar. Next to me was another single woman traveler by the name of Sheree. As luck would have it, she was a massage therapist from Lake Tahoe who also knew the pain of sciatica. She gave me some pointers on stretches, and then the topic turned to travel, men, and dogs. She was fun.
The next morning, I woke up in less pain but now it was raining steady, delaying my plans for hiking in Arches. But I called the local spa and was able to get a massage appointment. It was perfect. Candice, saw me at 12, worked out the kinks and I was good to go. By the time I left the studio, the sun was shining and I felt refreshed.
I headed over to Arches, where I did a number of hikes and climbs. I felt like I had turned a significant corner. I felt good for a change! Not 100% but so much better.
After my day of hiking, I returned to the Motel 6 and immediately got into the hot tub for a soak. The sun was setting over the red cliffs behind me and I was at peace.
A quick shower and I was off to dinner in town. My initial plan of going to a nice restaurant changed when I saw the place – too fancy – and I turned around and went to a bar called Eddie McStiffs. Not making that up.
At the bar, I ordered some tacos and a beer and started to write my blog. Then, a man sat down next to me and we started a conversation. Brad was from South Africa but living in Colorado for the past 9 years. When I asked him why he left South Africa, he simply replied “for a better life.” Who can argue with that?
Brad was on a solo road trip as well. This was his day 1 of a 3 week trip. When I told him I was on day 36, he asked if I had any tips. Of course, I did:
Listen to local radio for sense of people and place, never get below half-full on the tank, chew peppermint gum to keep alert while driving, check your oil, be careful of deer on the road, and STRETCH!
He laughed and agreed. When it was time to leave, we both wished one another a good and safe journey. And hopefully, we both will.