Wednesday, May 31, 2006

May 25 06 Grand Junction Travelog

We headed for Grand Junction to see Colorado National Monument nearby. We stopped at the visitors centers and did the dump and water thing, picked up literature and headed for Saddleback Campground in the park. When we got to the pay station we looked up and saw a series of switchbacks carved into a cliff face. The guard also said there would be 3 short tunnels we would have to take down the center. We did a turn around and headed out. I made several phone calls and discovered that just north of town about 7 miles was BLM land and free parking. We got there and setup but could see that the area was well used by ATV’s and dirt bikes and we were approaching a holiday weekend. So late afternoon we went back to the park to tour it in the truck. It was a 23 mile rim drive that started at Fruita and took us to Grand Junction. Stopped at viewpoints to take a few pictures. In Grand Junction we programmed the GPS to find the Elk’s lodge and went in for our afternoon whistle wetter then off to Walmart for supplies.

Friday we hitched up again, altered our route a little to avoid a switchback pass and headed to Dinosaur National Monument in the northeast corner of Utah. The route was beautiful. North of Rifle the cliffs were very colorful. Rainbow mountains. Then heading west from Matter we ran along a river and came across 2 beautiful lakes. Got into the park at just the right time to find the site we wanted as the afternoon was just one big parade of campers coming in for the holiday. We are about 100 feet from the Green River but cannot see it for all the low scrub growth. We are parked parallel to the road and our door opens on to the road side, it is also the shady side so since it was hot we opted to sit in our lawn chairs and sip margaritas and even had our dinner out there. We met a lot of people that way who were walking by.

Saturday after lunch we headed out to explore the Utah portion of the park. We went to Josie’s Ranch. A single lady who homesteaded in the back of beyond until she died at 90 in 1964. Along the way we stopped so see petroglyphs. The wind was starting to kickup so stopped at the trailer to shut the windows before heading to the visitor center and the Quarry which is a cliff wall that has thousands of dinosaur bones that have been exposed. Some of the femur bones are taller than I am. WOW. We then headed to Vernal to see the Utah State Field Museum which is about the dinosaurs. Lots of models etc. On the way home we had to take the back way of course. Pretty scenery but we didn’t see any animals.

Sunday we went to the other part of Dinosaur Nat Mon. The part that is in Colorado. The name of the town is Dinosaur and all the street are named after various dinosaurs. The scenic drive was very pretty and entirely different from what we had been seeing. Coming back we took a back road and stopped along the way picking up pieces of wood for our campfire. We hit a better road and took off on it also seeing hundreds of oil and gas wells.

Monday we decided to stay an extra day. By 10 am we were the only ones left in our loop of the campground. Bob did a few honey-dos and I cleaned. Then we went into Vernal for a laundry and Walmart run. The laundry here has washers and dryers dedicated to “Greasers”. I questioned the attendant and those are the ones the oil drillers are allowed to use. We saw some of the clothes she was doing for them and believe me I would have burned them. On the way out of town we got propane and the attendant told Bob that the area has 75 drilling rigs in the valley. Bob said that would equate to about a couple of thousand just employed in that industry. Amazingly the price of fuel isn’t cheaper there. We paid $3.199 for diesel. Back at the park Bob started a roaring fire and we had hot dogs roasted over the coal and marshmallows for dessert.

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