Grand Junction, Colorado
Colorado National Monument
Campground: Moon Dance Rv, Grand Junction Colorado. $140 weekly, full hookups 50 amp service. New park w/concrete paved sites, no shade. All pull-thrus. Laundry room available. Campground is in an industrial area. Close to Mall and Big box stores, theatre.
|view leaving Black Canyon NP|
An easy ride continuing along hwy 50 took me to Grand Junction in less than an hour and a half. A stop At Bob’s Rv shop to have my toilet fixed. Yes, the repair previously done and paid for did not work out. after working on getting repairs done under warranty, I finally have a new throne. Now what better gift for my upcoming Birthday, but to receive a New Throne! What shall I proclaim from my throne as my first act as Head of “Doug’s Dream Catcher”. I declare all in my kingdom must go out and have fun, whether at work, at home or out on the road like me. So sayeth I.
Now I’m going to do my best at my own proclamation, though it will not be all that easy. With temps in the 100 degree range here in Grand Junction. But I assure you, I’ll be trying my best while in the area for the next week.
|Teddy Roosevelt receiving Gov documents while touring the west|
The 4th of July out here in Colorado with all it’s forest fires has banned fireworks in most cities and towns. Bans on open fires, charcoal grills and even smoking outside have been banned. Grand Junction did have a parade but I didn’t go. Instead, opting to go to the mall in town and enjoy walking around in the coolness of the large air-conditioned indoor mall. In the evening I watched the Washington D.C. and Boston 4th of July celebrations on T.V. which you may have watched as well. Out here the sky was dark, not even the stars were out as a bank of monsoon rain clouds are filling the skies. No rain yet, but expected in the next day or so. And the silence of the night hung in the air as I walked outside. No fire crackers going off, not even one boom in the night. A warm breeze blowing. Odd to have a silent 4th of July. Bringing back memories of years past of living in Orlando and Wayne Black shooting off fireworks in the cul de sac. The loud whistles of the swirling sparklers, bottle rockets, the whizzing shrieks of the exploding sprays and the occasional landing of one of those fireworks on my mobile home. Ekk. But all good memories.
Do you like steep winding roads perched on the edge of canyons and mesas where the average speed is 25 mph? Me neither. So why on earth do I keep going to places like this? I’m talking about the Colorado National Monument which is between Fruita and Grand Junction. Well I guess part of it is, is that the views are usually spectacular and yes the drive is enough to get my heart pumping a little faster than normal. What’s interesting is that one can see the cliffs and canyons and mesa from hwy 70 but until one actually enters the National Monument one can only get a glimpse of how stunning this billion year old monument in the making is.
I drove to Fruita to start my tour at the main entrance to the Colorado National Monument. A small pay station at the entrance where I show my Senior Pass for free access. That puts a smile on my face before I even enter the park. As I showed my Senior Pass to the Ranger, I had to ask about a motor home that was just leaving the park, since there is a sign stating no vehicles higher than 12 ft. The Ranger said that it was ok because the tunnels were actually 16 ft high in the center. I couldn’t imagine driving a rig that large along those cliff hanging roads. Yikkes!
There are a dozen pull off areas before getting to the Visitors center about 5 miles away. Each one providing a look back at the steep winding road I’ve taken to get that far on my way to the top of the mesa. Yikkes, why do they have to build the road on the very edge of every cliff and through those tunnels along the way?
It’s a cloudy day, but still worth taking all those pictures. Looking down into horseshoe shaped canyons. Red rock walls of stone. Pillars of stone separated from their original attachment to those walls, now sentinels standing alone. Learning of the history of the monument. Established mainly due to one person, John Otto, who wrote countless letters promoting the area and requesting that it be put under National protected status. He built trails through the monument and eventually became the first caretaker at $1 a month. He married Beatrice Farmham at the base of Independence Monument in 1911. He insisted on living in a tent to be near his animals. Beatrice departed after only a few weeks of marriage.
Otto started the tradition of putting a flag on the top of Independence Monument each July 4th by climbing the 450 ft monument for the first time in 1911. About 25 climbers ascended to the top of Independence Monument this July 4th and planted a new flag on top. Not something you would ever find me doing.
I’m off the mesa and back in town and just realized I need to stop by the post office and pick up my mail. So until next time, enjoy your summer and try to stay cool.
more photos on PICASA.