Early start today, we need to have our cases outside the room by 06:00!! And are to meet the rest of the group in reception at 07:00
We get up at 05:00 and finish off our packing, get the cases outside the room and go down for breakfast at 06:00. The hotel has put on a special buffet breakfast for us for $18:00
After breakfast we head to reception to find that the train has been delayed by an hour, so we wait around catching up on the newspapers.
We eventually get onto the coach and are taken to the “makeshift” railway station where we have another short wait; we stand outdoors to get some of the early morning sunshine. We board the train at around 09:30 and leave around 10:00. Just after leaving and getting outside Denver City, I spot a Coyote on a hillside, another animal that I can add to my “I-spy” wild life list from yesterday.
We pass through the Moffatt Tunnel, which is about 6miles long. We then start to retrace yesterdays return route from the Rockies National Park, passing through Winter Park (which is a Ski Resort), Tabernash (named after an
Indian Chief), Fraser Canyon and Granby. After Granby the train joins the Colorado River close to it’s source and follows it for some 200miles.
It is a glorious day with blue skies and sunshine (a bit of a shame to be inside the train, maybe Amtrak should think about “Convertible Trains” where we can slide down the roof?) We follow the Colorado River through steep canyons and wide valleys. There is a breathtaking view and every turn, the railway has been carved through the mountains with numerous tunnels being blasted through the hillsides.
We started to see people Wild Water Rafting on the Colorado, it looks great!. The scenery is a vast improvement on the journey so far. The view through the window on New York to Washington, Washington to Chicago, and Chicago to Denver was less than riveting. I guess that in the big cities you don’t tend to get prime real estate next to the railroad track, we saw a lot of abandoned cars and trash. The only problem now is that you cannot have an afternoon snooze for fear of missing something.
We arrive at Grand Junction at around 17:50, approximately 2 hours behind
schedule. We step of the train and it is "scorchio" the temperature is in the high 80's. We board the bus and have to wait a short while for the suitcases. The hotel is the Hampton Inn and is only two blocks from the station. We dump the cases in our room and head off out.
This is a relatively small town and we walk downtown.The high street is pack with all sorts of sculptures. We dont go far and find a nice restaurant where we can sit outside to dine. The place is called the Rockslide Brewery, and is one of the micro-breweries that are now so popular in the US. Di and I are now on Salads. though we also have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that comes from a Colorado vineyard, it is pretty good. We have a very enjoyable meal. We then head to the supermarket for a few bits and pieces, including sun block that we will definitely need tomorrow. Then its back to the hotel and off to bed!
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