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Published: April 21st 2016
Miles: 1462 miles
After my stop at Cortez (to get data access to write the blog) I proceedEd north on SR 145 towards Telluride. I can tell you that stretch of road has to be one of the most majestic scenic routes I have ever taken. The pictures can't do it justice. High steep jagged mountains towering into the sky, covered with wind blowing snow is a poor description. That section of road is on my top 10 list of most scenic drives. This personal sojourn has been just amazing with all the fantastic vistas I have seen and I haven't even gone into Canada much less Alaska.
At Mountain Village I took a wrong turn and continued to head north on SR 145 instead of heading to Telluride (I was not lost Kim, I knew where I was). I was able to cross over to US 550 via SR 62. That section of the route was interesting in that there was a lot of homesteads in this area (I figured this is where the rich people live). High mountains with the valley floor studded with these uber duber cabins. Very nice as Borat would say.
Another shot of route to Telluride
All of the really good pictures are on my other camera.
It's getting on towards late afternoon at this point with really no place to camp so I decided to press on towards Grand Junction and get a camping ground around there. US 550 turned into US 50 at Montrose which took me all the way into Grand Junction. The mountain scenery slowly morphed into desert plateaus along the way.
There were no decent campgrounds in Grand Junction. I mean there were sites, but those mostly dealt with travels in campers looking for a place in or near a city to setup. Not my scene. So I decided to press on to Utah/Dinosaur National Monument.
BUT, before I head that way there was an urgent matter that needed to be dealt with. Mainly that I hadn't changed or taken a shower in 4 days (ewww). I mean I was getting ripe. I didn't want to put clean clothes on a stinky body so I waited. This was an enforced wait. I desperately wanted a shower but there were a couple mitigating factors against it: one, I'm traveling side roads, and two, it's off season for the parks. Both of those factors made finding a shower an iffy proposition.
In Grand Junction I was in luck. Interstate 70 runs right through there and I figured I'd find a truck-stop. And lo, appearing before me, backlit by the setting sun, rose this vision of indescribable beauty: Loves. Forgot what I said earlier about majestic peaks, this was the real deal.
I pulled in and sheepishly asked if non-truckers could get a shower. I'm a truck-stop shower virgin at this point so don't make fun of me. Anyway, the very nice lady said sure it's only $11 dollars. That was $11 well spent. And let me tell you, that shower room was the bomb. It was freaking awesome. I think I want to remodel our master bathroom based on that design. It has marble tile floors and walls and what appears to be granite bench and sink tops! I can't believe a truck-stop had shower rooms (they had 8) this friggin nice. I think I may become a trucker. Screw consulting, I'm going to put a Peterbilt baseball cap and drive me a big rig. Hell, truckers are living high off the hog and I had no idea.
After that brief stop in Elysium I took SR 139
which parallels the Colorado/Utah border. This stretch was interesting in that it started off as flat washes, built up into plateaus, then mysterious box canyons and then more snow covered mountain passes before dumping back out into the desert on the other side. Very interesting. I saw all of this in the twilight which made the box canyons eerie and strangely compelling. I wanted to pull over and walk into the canyons and see where they go. That's an adventure for another time.
After another round of DODGE THE WILDLIFE (and one cow), I pulled into the campground at the national monument where I setup again in pitch blackness( well to be fair the moon was put). I'm starting to become good at this with almost nary an issue.
Sleep was another issue all together. The amount of wildlife noise was absolutely horribly loud. I'm talking PeeWee's Big Adventure animal noises loud. I don't know what half the animals that were making the noises were but they included horses, dogs, owls, a million different types of birds, a least one yak and God knows what else.
I woke up still bodily intact and had my first fried spam and pancake breakfast. Pancakes were ok but bland and I can tell already that I am going to hate Spam by the end of the trip (I bought a whole case). After cleaning and packing up I visited a few petroglyph sites, did a box canyon hike (nothing but a steep cliff at the end) and visited the dinosaur dig quarry. All-in-all a nice start to the day.
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