Road Trip to Grand Junction, Colorado

Do you remember a time when families had only one car and they arranged their schedules accordingly? If the car wasn't available when you needed or wanted it, you walked or took a bus or bummed a ride with someone else. It didn't seem all that difficult and it beat a horse and buggy. That was before it became “necessary” for everyone to have their own car and come and go at their leisure. Our driveway and garage has started to look like a used car lot. Karen has her 1996 Nissan van. Mary has a new Kia Soul. Paul just bought an Infiniti FX35 and we, car-less for years, have just purchased a 2011 Chevy HHR rather than having to borrow a car from one of the sibs whenever we want to go out. Coming or going is always an issue since we only have a 2-car garage … the most sought after parking spots at the house. Someone's car is always in the way and requires moving. With Karen's consent, since she drives the least and we are frequently out of town, we decided we would share our car with her and reduce the used car inventory by one van. Karen's grandson wanted the van, but how to get it to Craig, Colorado was an issue. Road trip!!!

driveway parking lot

Last Sunday, David and I left at oh-dark-thirty for a road trip in the van to Grand Junction, Colorado … about 520 miles away. Paul had advised us of all the best coffee truck stops en route and we stopped at a Love's Truck Stop just a few miles out of town on I-15 for a caffeine hit. It was a bustling place at 4 am. Traveling in the dark through the flat desert lands is pretty boring. When we entered the Virgin River Canyon, I wish we could have seen some of the scenery. The road signs cautioned us of falling rocks, severe crosswinds, steep grades and sharp curves. We negotiated it all in total darkness midst a convoy of trailer trucks.

Around 0630, the day was beginning to lighten. We crossed the Nevada border into the northwest corner of Arizona. The landscape changed drastically. The rising sun's rosy pink glow lit up the horizon and reflected off the red rock cliffs as entered into Utah.

sunrise on the way to grand junction

We knew we were getting into the mountains when we saw the signs for chain-up and brake check areas, 6% grades and runaway truck ramps. Speed limits on this stretch of highway are 80 mph, but we kept the van at 65. We stopped several times en route, mostly because we need to stretch and walk a little every couple of hours. One stop was in Beaver, UT. Sorry, it's sophomoric and perhaps vulgar, but it just begs a stop to see what's there.

beaver utah

We saw the signs for the Zion and Bryce Canyon NP turnoffs and Cedar Break National Monument and remembered fondly our time visiting these. If we had more time, we'd have stopped again, but this is a one-day trip and we reluctantly continued on.

Once we turned onto I-70, the landscape became even more dramatic. This is an incredibly beautiful part of the country. We stopped at the Castle Valley viewpoint and took a little walk. The air was crisp; the sky was blue and the view was awesome.

castle valley view

We were ahead of schedule for our 3:30 pm meet-up with Karen in Grand Junction, so we dawdled for a few minutes at Devil's Canyon viewpoint and then stopped for a quick look-see at Ghost Rock, a geographical landmark for ranchers and travelers for centuries. It's hard to miss it.

ghost rock

The hoodoos are the most noticeable and outstanding geologic formations in the area. The tall red spires definitely catch your attention.

hoodoo geologic formations

And then we were in Grand Junction, some 530 miles and 12 hours after our departure from Las Vegas. We met up with Karen as planned, dropped off the van and got a lift to the little Grand Junction Airport. Our little Allegiant flight ($51/pp/one way) was only 1 hour 15 mins long and Mary was waiting at passenger pick-up in Vegas to bring us home.

One less vehicle in the driveway now.

We know it's Hallowe'en, but it's hard to write about it until you've actually celebrated it. Look for our Hallowe'en celebration on Wednesday. Yes, we'll be all costumed up.

Happy Hallowe'en!

the vegas witches