There are days in your life that you will always remember where you were and what you were doing. September 11, 2001 was one of those days. I was at work and we were waiting for the OSHA VPP team to arrive to evaluate our plant for acceptance into the Voluntary Protection Program. Somebody had heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and we scrambled to try to get information about what was happening. It’s amazing how difficult it was to get information from the internet then. There was no streaming video. TV and other news web sites were pretty static. I was able to get some still pictures from a USEPA Haze Camera that was trained on lower Manhattan and what they showed was sickening – a huge plume of smoke that obscured the Twin Towers. When the OSHA team arrived, they had gotten orders along with all other federal employees to return to their offices, and we didn’t know if our evaluation would be completed or not. As important as it was on 9/10, it became secondary on 9/11. Most of our thoughts and prayers were with those that died in the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, and the brave passengers and crew of Flight 93 that prevented another attack on Washington, DC. When 9/12 dawned we were in a different world. Forgive me for diverting from our trip journal, but I thought it was important to remember that terrible day 11 years ago.
We started the day by visiting the Colorado National Monument that is the northern entry onto the Colorado Plateau that encompasses Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The entry road, Rim Rock Road, that snakes some 1,000 ft above the Colorado River valley floor, was built in the 1930’s and early 40’s by the men of the CCC. Construction was interrupted by WWII and was finally completed in 1950. The road passes through 2 tunnels on the way to the top of the mesa. Winnie made it through the tunnels and to the top okay. We decided to park her in the campground and drive the rest of Rim Rock drive in the Fit. It’s a good thing we did because it started to rain about 15 minutes into the 23 mile scenic drive. I felt much more comfortable driving the car on the winding wet roads. The Monument isn’t a monument in the traditional sense. It is about 20,000 acres of canyons, red rock cliffs, and free standing monoliths created by wind and water erosion. The center piece is the 450-ft tall Independence Monument. Other monoliths and rock formations have names like Balanced Rock (can you guess why?), the Coke Ovens, Kissing Couple, Praying Hands, etc. After completing the Rim Rock Road excursion we returned to Winnie and made our way back to the valley floor where we hitched up the Fit and headed to Utah along I70.
While the rain stopped, the sky continued to be overcast keeping the temperatures in the upper 60’s as we drove toward Moab, UT. The road into Moab, started off rather unremarkable, but as we got closer the horizon was dominated by red rock cliffs that offered a preview of what we expect to see at Arches national Park tomorrow. Winnie will be spending the next 2 days at Moab Valley RV Resort while we explore the national park.