Posts Tagged ‘Devil’s Highway. Highway 491’

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson

Day 20 

My drive today took me onto the Devil’s Highway, a route whose New Mexico portion includes steep, twisting sections. The high number of fatalities along the southern portion — along with the road’s original, satanic-mark-of-the-beast 666 numbered designation — earned it the nickname.

In 2003, transportation officials came up with the bright idea of renaming it Highway 491, their thinking being to end its cursed reputation. I guess they never read Shakespeare’s “… that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The 53-mile section I drove – from Cortez, Colorado, to Monticello, Utah – was not devilish at all, just hilly and lonely, giving one ample opportunity to drink in the high desert landscape from various vantages. I’ve driven it many times and always have found it a relaxing stretch of road.

At Monticello I turned north onto Highway 191, which I would follow this day into Moab. Western kingbirds and kestrels watched me go past as the drive took me through a landscape of red rock gardens set off by the snow-covered peaks of the La Salle Mountains in the background.

That night, from my RV window, I watched those same snow-clad mountain fade into pink as the sun set opposite them behind yet more red rocks.

It was yet another perfect day.

Wilson's Arch as seen from Highway 191 20 miles south of Moab -- Photo by Pat Bean


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