Gateway, Summer, 2019, FINAL

mcaywood

he’d mail off the film to get developed.

When the slides came back a couple

weeks later our family gathered in the

living room and watched them. We had

almost as much fun watching the slides

and reliving the trip as we did taking the

trip.

This is our daughter’s first roadtrip.

She turned three just a month prior.

She’s a naturally curious, inquisitive kid

who loves exploring and interacting with

our world. Our goal is to introduce her

to new places, new faces, new art, new

roads, new cities, new views, new ideas

new experiences, new people to keep her

curiosity piqued, to introduce her to the

lost art of browsing and to help her cultivate

an appreciation for travel and adventure.

Highway 6 takes us to Interstate 70.

Along the way we have passed out of the

rain zone and back onto dry roads and

the sound the tires make turns from sibilant

hiss to dry thrum. When we reach

I-70 we turn east and continue driving

a half hour until we reach highway 191,

where we turn south and drive until we

reach Moab.

18 Gateway to Canyon Country

Our daughter is a very active, energetic

kid. When we’re home, she demonstrates

this often, by showing us how

many times she can jump on one leg, or

how long she can postpone bed time. After

three hours in her car seat my wife

and I can see the signs she’s growing

restless and agitated. She sits in her car

seat as uneasy as a champagne cork in its

bottle on New Year’s Eve. She may look

calm, but she’s ready to explode. “Hang

in there, Roo,” I tell her. “We’ll be to

Moab soon and then you can get out and

run around.”

We arrive in Moab about 20 minutes

later. If highway 191 is a river, Moab is

an eddy where traffic, tourists and adventurers

move out of the swift current

and slow down, and that is what we do,

too.

It’s lunchtime when we arrive in

Moab, so we make our first stop Eddy

McStiff’s, a pizza and burger joint.

Moab is a great little town. It was founded

in 1878, but gained popularity in the

1950s during the uranium boom, and enjoyed

a second resurgence in the 1990s

(which is still on-going) among outdoor

enthusiasts, as it’s home to some of the

world’s greatest mountain biking, hiking,

Jeeping and rafting.

After lunch, my wife, daughter and I

enjoy strolling along Moab’s mainstreet

perusing its bookstores, art galleries, antique

stores and t-shirt shops. After a

couple hours of that we get back in the

Wandervan and go in search of a place

to camp for the night. I know from previous

experience that Moab has several

campsites a short distance out of town

along the Colorado River and that’s

where I drive. It’s a lovely little corridor,

where the river, the highway and the

long row of campsites are nestled in the

bottom of the canyon like a bouquet of

roses in the arm of an actress. We find

an open campsite in one of the campgrounds,

pay our fee and pull into our

site. Camping in a Wandervan is great.

Setting up camp involves nothing more

than parking the van in the most level

spot I can find.

Our campsite – as are most of the

campsites located along the river – is

nestled in among white oak trees, cottonwoods

and willows, which are abso-

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