Wednesday, March 09, 2011

From Mesa Verde to Moab, Utah

When we left Mesa Verde National Park, on our vacation in the spring of 2009, we headed for Moab, Utah and Arches National Park.

The scenery along the route was just gorgeous. We had a bright and beautiful day for our travel and stopped frequently to take photographs of the various and interesting rock formations.

Church Rock



Wilson Arch
We reached Moab about noon and priced a couple of motels. The Sleep Inn was $115 per night, and the Best Western was $149 per night. We wound up choosing the Apache Motel, a little motel about four blocks off the main drag, whose claim to fame is that John Wayne used to stay there when he was making movies in the area. They had a 1950s-style room with two queen beds that they could give us for $69, or we could have the John Wayne suite for $99.


The motel manager was very forthcoming about the shortcomings of the accommodations. Our room, in her words, was not updated. Actually, it was pathetically outdated. We considered the John Wayne suite, but only briefly, since she told us that only one of the beds had been "updated." And that one was the queen. The king was "not very good." Besides, it would have been hard for Doug to pay that extra amount, even to stay where the Duke had stayed.


In the end, the manager lowered the price for our outdated room to $65, partly because we told her we would probably stay two days. Later, we did decide to leave the next day. I reminded her that she had adjusted the price based on our staying two days and that we would understand if she charged us the original price, but she said, "Oh, no, no. But thanks for saying that."

A large cardboard cutout of John Wayne stands behind the desk in the lobby.

I don't want to make the Apache Motel sound bad because I actually found it quite charming. If we were to visit the area again, the Apache Motel would be our first choice for a place to stay; and, if any of you are looking for lodging in Moab, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Don't be discouraged by my description of its "run down" state. The management was in the process of updating the rooms, and I was impressed with the honesty of the lady at the desk. She knew the positives and negatives of each room and was very willing to share them with us. There were no surprises.

A wall in the lobby is lined with pictures of John Wayne and other film stars.

This photograph, on the wall in the motel lobby, shows John Wayne and his sons in front of their room at the Apache Motel.


We had stopped along the way from Mesa Verde to Moab and bought some Subway sandwiches. We ate those in our room at the Apache Motel, then filled our cooler with ice and water and pop ("soda" for those of you not from the Midwest), and headed for Arches National Park, about five miles north of town.

But we'll save Arches for the next installment.


  1. I wonder, do you know if this is where the movie "127 Hours" takes place? I haven't seen it yet, but your pictures of rock look familiar from what I've seen in previews, etc. That's neat about your motel. Something my dad would be really interested in. :)

  2. Elizabeth - I looked it up on, and you're exactly right. The incident occurred near Moab, and at least part of the filming was done in that area. Interesting.

  3. Sometimes when I travel a room is all I need. If I drive long a pool can be nice.$40 for a swim is a little steep, especially if you can get a day pass at a Y or somewhere for 10.I have found the lesser known ones to be good and bad. I like the lady being up front with you. Being the Duke has been away for a long time they need to get a better ploy.One place in OK I stayed at had a room out of service because a dog had used it to have her puppies. Only stayed one night and went on my way.LOL

  4. Hey! Thanks for taking us along on this adventure! Even hotel rooms can provide some of the excitement!

  5. I think that must have been neat to now that you were staying in the same motel that the Duke did. If we were in that area, I would certainly consider that my first choice for a motel. (But no ice maker, I bet. And you KNOW we really do love having an ice maker.) :)

  6. Steve - We rarely use a motel room for more than sleeping, so we hate to pay extra for amenities that we won't use. If it's clean and the bed is comfortable, we're content.
    Betty - thanks for coming along with us. We enjoyed the company. :)
    Sandra - It was neat, not just because John Wayne stayed there, but also because the motel owners were so proud of that fact. I think that's what charmed me. Also, I can't be totally sure, but I think I may have stayed at this same motel when I traveled West alone some forty years ago. Boy, that makes me sound old, doesn't it?

  7. Cleanliness and comfort are the biggies for overnight accommodations. But I'm glad that their honesty was rewarded with your business.

  8. Hilary - That's precisely our philosophy regarding lodging. The manager's honesty made us laugh...we'd never encountered anyone like her...but it also made us comfortable accepting her word about the positive things about the room she offered us. Yes, it was outdated; but what does that really matter? Our HOUSE is outdated! :)

  9. With the chain hotel and motels you could be in New York or Tokyo or Saskatchewan and not know the difference. A place like that, you know you're traveling, and you get a great blog story to boot!

  10. tattytiara - And it's all about getting a blog story, isn't it? :) Thanks so much for the visit.

  11. What wonderful photos, I thoroughly enjoyed 'the trip'! :o)

  12. I feel like I just went on a vacation! Thanks for taking us along.

  13. Deborah - I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. :) Thanks so much for stopping by.
    Stephanie - I hope you enjoyed your virtual vacation. It was a pleasure to have you join us. :)


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