Saturday, 7 November 2009


The first night in Utah was spent at the Green River Budget Inn which was an old independent motel in the town centre. Green River was a perfect example of a phenomenon we have noticed in a lot of these small US towns. As you enter the towns there are a whole cluster of newish looking chain motels accompanied by fast food places and in the town itself there are inevitably several derelict independent motel buildings and restaurants. Visitors no longer need to go into the town itself and this has a really negative effect on the economies of some of these small towns. 

The manager of the Budget Inn told us that people don’t trust old looking motels any more either. This is such a shame because independent motels always have more character, are generally cheaper, have thicker walls and are downtown so you can actually walk somewhere to eat and get to meet a few locals at the same time. It also means you get to see bizarre things like the real missile placed ornamentally in the park opposite the Budget Inn.

From Green River we slightly backtracked to the national park of Canyonlands before heading west again. This was a nice stop with views over canyons and mountains and a great view through a big natural arch.  There was actually another park nearby full of natural sandstone arches but we spent so long in Canyonlands we decided to give this a miss and move on.

We spent that night in the tiny town of Hanksville in a rather pricey (but swish) motel called the Henry Mountain Hideaway which seemed to be the only accommodation in town. We actually had to telephone the manager who then drove down to the motel to take our money and give us the key. The whole transaction was completed inside the only store in the town which he also seemed to be the manager of. We needed some food for dinner so he got some more of our money. I guess this explains why he was driving a Bentley.

The journey through Utah was stunning from the start. From the I-70 we took, highway 24 south and then continued south on Highway 12. There really isn’t very much in this part of Utah except small towns, big mountains, multicoloured rocks and desert landscapes. Occasionally there are some cows or horses but that’s about it apart from the moon which seems to be visible for most of the day as well as night.  We passed through Capitol Reef park and had a couple of nice stops. One where we just parked in a layby and walked around a rocky desert area with the Henry Montains in the background and another official trail through a very echoey steep sided canyon.

When we got as far as Boulder we stopped and stayed at the Circle Mountains Motel which will be our smallest and cutest motel experience for sure. It was actually one of three rooms in a building next to the owner’s house and had obviously been decorated personally and with great care. As much as I like motels this was a nice change from the format and a restaurant serving classic American 'home cookin'he town was just a short walk past the ranch as the sun set .........

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