July 12 thru 13, 2018 Packed up and bid final adieu to Chris, with several hugs. Swung back into town for coffee and WiFi at Chillin’ Internet Cafe, and a bit more sightseeing. Cabin rentals line the main road and there’s lots to do, with parks, shopping, restaurants, pubs, grocers, theater, outdoor rec gear, guides for hire and tons of Polaris rentals. Gas was higher at $3.29/gal, but got $20 worth at the Town Square Cabins & Mini Mart.
There are tons of tees, jewelry and souvenirs to browse through in the Silver Spur. I bought locally made earrings and a shoulder bag to fit my iPad.
Some cool history in town with the Michaels-Ogle-Rawson-Pitney House built around 1880 by Joseph Michaels, an early miner in the Lake City area. It’s the only remaining original house in the Lake City Historic District. It’s also an example of the early Folk Victorian style architecture.
Hopped back on 149N to continue on the winding Silver Thread scenic route. Incredible views of Lake Fork of the Gunnison, a 64 mile long tributary of the Gunnison River, and fantastic rock formations. I swung over to 50W and the Blue Mesa Reservoir … WOW!
With no homes visible anywhere, who do these mailboxes belong to? 🤔
Rain moved in and I stopped at Newberry’s in Cimarron for a soda and potty break. They sell cool and funky stuff, along with rocks, fishing supplies and licenses, food, souvenirs and more. Nice people!
About 20 minutes up the road, I pulled in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (NP) South Rim entrance. Instead of paying $20 for entry to this one national park, I chose this $80 adorable frog annual pass to cover as many national parks I can visit over the next year. Yea!
The entry road runs about 6 miles with outstanding views of some of the oldest rock in North America. The metamorphic rock at the bottom is nearly 2 billion years old! There are trails for all abilities and a free wilderness use permit is required for inner-canyon use.
I learned this is NOT the place for beginner climbers! Spent quite a bit of time on a short hike, checking out the views and in the visitor center. I bought a couple bookmarks with life advice from mountains and waterfalls (ha!), and postcards. The Painted Wall is Colorado’s highest cliff, 2,250 feet above the Gunnison River. Since my photo of it was crap, I bought a postcard of it.
Wasps were hogging the drinking fountain, so I filled my jug and hit the road.
After about an hour back on the road, I had one thing on my brain, hotel. I craved a hot shower, real bed, cooked meal (not by me) and TV time. Did a quick online search and booked Days Inn in Montrose, with WiFi, continental breakfast and outdoor pool. It was one of the cheapest, decent looking hotels at $102. Ugh! That’s more than two weeks of camping along the Rio Grande.
Hotel staff recommended Horsefly Brewing Company, a few minutes from the hotel, for good, affordable food and beverages, so that’s where I headed after hauling bare necessities from truck to room. Business was hopping with humans and a few fur-babies. I savored each sip of my coconut dark brew over local paper read during my long wait for food. The pooper a the table next to me reminded me of Tom and Carol’s sweet Sophie.
I realized I feel more lonely in busy places, when alone and surrounded by couples, families and friends talking and laughing. Maybe if they argued I’d feel better. Ha!
WARNING Deep thought moment: When completely alone anywhere, I’m good; there’s nobody around to bring loneliness to my attention.
My plate finally arrived and I got it to go. Although I was already super pooped, did several laps in the pool before the sun dropped. It wasn’t until I was back in the room I realized I’d been swimming and floating for an hour. It felt fantastic and I had it all to myself. 😀Even though it was early, I showered, got in my jammies and into bed with food and Iron Man. The battered fish filet was superb!
Started Friday 13th early with the hotel’s delicious breakfast of sausage links, scrambled eggs and several cups of coffee (snagged a mini yogurt and banana to go). Back in the room, I attempted to update my blog, but their WiFi was shit. Talked with mom who’s doing good. She’s getting Trifexis and more eye drops for Cody. Updated Atlas and journal for the past several days, took vitamins and packed travel snacks. Loaded up, and swung through Shell to top off gas (3.29/gal) before getting back on 50W.
My first stop was in Delta, a short drive from Montrose, to try the sweet corn. Unfortunately, I was told it wasn’t quite time for the corn, but I did make a much needed stop at Safeway off Hwy 92 for bananas, cherries, corn tortillas, eye drops, lotion and Ripple (plant-based creamer). The terrain from Delta to Grand Junction varied; flat, desert and mountainous. Gorgeous day!
Driving into Grand Junction, I smiled when I saw this stand. They were selling authentic Palisade peaches. The couple was super friendly and let me sample one (ate it all). Chris was so right, delicious! I think they’re even sweeter and juicier than Georgia peaches. I bought several for the road.
Headed onward to the east entrance of Colorado National Monument. I strongly recommend a trip here to everyone in the world. It’s breathtaking! Rim Rock Drive had me silently freaking out, while also in awe; steep and curvy. Super glad I got my NP pass; $20 entrance fee covered. Incredible views!
The visitor center staff are awesome and very knowledgable of the history. The museum and mini theater are fantastic! I watched a geological film compiled by university students on the creation of the canyons, billions of years in the making. Superb!
Down Rim Rock Drive, before the roundabout, Dairy Queen was waiting for me and I treated myself to a deliciously cold strawberry smoothie.
On 139N, I was in such a wonderful place within. Views are phenomenal. Drove up and down mountains, through Douglas Pass (8,268 feet), Canyon Pintado and the Fruita Desert. There were several places I would have loved to camp. For whatever reason, maybe just zoned out, I drove on toward Rangely. No coffee stop for me along the way; several places were closed after 5P. I was tired and started dreading tent setup, which was totally out of my norm.
Pulled off to read postings about Canyon Pintado, made some coffee and stared at the view. Other than me, there was absolutely nobody driving 139N. I was over driving for the day and seriously considered setting up my tent, but I really wanted a shower … and a toilet. Back on the road I went.
A sign told me I was in Dinosaur, Colorado and I laughed hard. Didn’t know there was such a place. Pulled onto Brontosaurus Way, then into the lot of the Terrace Motel. Lisa checked me in for $50 and I was so happy! The motel is super quaint and very clean. Perfect😀
Got a WTF laughing moment when I compared the shit WiFi in the $100 hotel in Montrose to the awesome WiFi in this $50 motel in Dinosaur. Wow! Updated blog through the 6th, then made mini pizzas with corn tortillas, jalapeños and mozzarella in the microwave. Sat on bench outside to smoke before showering and calling it a night.