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Rockies to Red Rocks

On a Rocky Mountaineer Train Journey

Did you know that I am from Moab, Utah—home to Arches and Canyonlands national parks? It’s an area surrounded in beautiful red rock formations boasting some of the most stunning landscapes in the word. The Colorado River runs along the outskirts of Grand County, and over thousands of years this river has carved crevasses, twists and turns into the landscape that can only be seen in this unique beautiful part of Utah.

When I discovered that Rocky Mountaineer would have a two-day luxury train journey from Denver to Moab with a one-night stop in Glenwood Springs, I was thrilled. What a fabulous way to see the mountains of the Colorado Rockies and the red rocks of Utah!

A group of OU football fans joined us on a customized OU Football Tour.  In Denver, we stayed at the Historic Crawford Hotel at Union Station. The next morning, we would depart on the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train to begin our journey. 

The red carpet was laid out for us as we boarded the beautiful blue-and-gold train cars, where we were welcomed by our hostess and host. The comfortable seating with large picture windows would give us a full view of the scenery while being served welcome Bloody Mary’s and mimosas.  Along the way, we would enjoy lovely breakfasts and lunches from a gourmet selection of items prepared fresh in the kitchen cars, with a final charcuterie board of cheese, buffalo, elk and deer meat near the end of the ride. All the meals were served on elegant dinnerware with white gloves.

As we slowly left the bustling Denver traffic to start the climb into the Rockies, I knew we would see sights few Oklahomans have ever seen. During the ride, our hosts and the train guide shared stories of the rails and history of the area.

As the train left the Eastern Slopes behind, we would travel through 31 tunnels before entering the 6.2-mile Moffat Tunnel and cross the continental divide

We arrived in Glenwood Springs in time to enjoy the old historic Colorado Hotel, the so-called “Little White House,” where Theodore Roosevelt stayed so many times.

The next morning, we were off early with hot coffee, a lovely selection of breakfast items and, of course, Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas. As the train meandered along the Colorado River, our guide pointed our attention to eagles roosting in the trees.

The flat lands and unique structures of the Book Cliffs, home of antelope and deer, is the area where my mother’s family lived and farmed in the 1940s. Our host allowed me to share some stories from my family history. At times, family members would walk the old forsaken tracks of the Narrow-Gauge railway, built in 1883, looking for artifacts from the train. The Narrow-Gauge was luxurious in those days. When a piece of China, a plate or cup, would break, they just threw it out of the window. My aunt and uncle would make beautiful jewelry from the broken pieces they found.

My grandmother was a camp cook for the rail workers in Cisco, Utah, in the early 1950s, traveling on the same tracks we were traveling that day. She had a rule that, if you complained about the food, you had three seconds to say “but it is just like I like it’ or you had to cook the next meal. I use this phrase in my house, but it doesn’t work. Ha-ha.

I was proud when we arrived at the remote train depot outside of Moab, where I could show off some of my part of the world: Arches, Canyonlands and Needles national parks, and many places only us standing right there and God knew about.

If you are looking for a vacation that will create lasting memories, a Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey in the United States or Canada is the way to go! Any of Bentley Hedges Travel staff can answer questions and help you plan a train journey of a lifetime. They can be reached at 405 237-3333.

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