Day 5 - more magnificent Rocky MountainsJanuary 10 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C
We ended Day 4 at the Motel 8 I mentioned above in what can accurately be called an unhappy state. We were so freaked out about Washington and then this Motel 8 did not have the kind of room we asked for ahead of time - easy access to the outside. Again, we were stunned by the number of people walking around without masks. I just don’t get it. Since Harry had made this reservation he had to go in to deal with the front desk and I was worried about that. People around the front desk had to have a mask on, but workers were piling out of a van behinad me in the parking lot - none wearing masks. Finally, even though this was dog-friendly motel, there was no area to walk Jack and Sam. We disliked this motel so much we didn’t even take showers.
I got Jack and Sam out early to try to find some place to walk them - 9 degrees weather and all. Things were better in the daylight, I could see that Dillon was nestled in high snow covered peaks, and that we were surrounded by pot shops. We scrambled around in the snow (Marcine will appreciate that I was doing this in my ankle boots with no socks). We packed up quickly eager to get back on I-70 but not before, yes, our soothing first stop at a Starbucks. Our normal breakfast was $1.00+ more here - which was explained by the Barista as the mountain town tax. The other interesting thing about Dillon was that there was an outlet shopping center - my blood quickened but we were too early for the stores to be open.
We continued cruising through the Rocky Mountains much of the morning, high high up and very cold. Tried imagining what it would be like live in such a demanding environment. 78 of the 100 highest peaks of the Rockies are in Colorado. Also tried imagining how in the world did people actually cross the Rockies in covered wagons? But investigation reveals that the route that I-70 takes through the Rockies is not one of the paths taken by earlier explorers. The I-70 crosses the Rockies through the Vail pass, which was engineered by Charles Vail, in approximately 1940.
We couldn’t resist going to take a look at Vail to see what all the bruhaha was about. The downtown and connected areas are crowded and everything is about skiing - people lugging their skis, getting on to buses with skis, being shuttled to ski areas. We on the other hand went in search of a dog park and we found a nice one - Stephen’s Park. The the first time in five days Jack and Sam were off leash and free. It seemed odd that this dog park was completely unfenced and next to a frontage road next to I 70 but - what the hay.
We wanted to get to Grand Junction, CO for lunch - mainly because the name sounded romantic to us. The city gets the "grand" part of its name from the Grand River, which is now known as the Upper Colorado River. The "junction" refers to the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. We were surprised to learn that this area has long been a grape growing and wine producing area (from the 1880s) and is also a long time fruit growing area. All of this development happened after the United States Government abolished the Ute (as in Utah) Indian Territory in 1881, forcing the Utes into a reservation so that the government could open this area to white settlers. Can you imagine? We got a nice salad and a nice sandwich from Dream Café in the interesting (picturesque) downtown area. The air and light was stunning. We told the staff at the Dream we were going to go eat in a park we saw on 4th street and the frontage road but were told not to go there because homeless people lived there. We were directed to a park near the Public Library where there were also homeless-seeming people, and some shady looking characters. Problem, Grand Junction?
After lunch we hit the road hard heading to our destination for the night - St. George, Utah. We arrived there at about 7:00, exhausted as usual but kind of excited - tomorrow is our last day on the road.Read more