Day 21 -We made the drive from Gypsum to Fruita (just west of Grand Junction) in about three hours. The distance is a little over 100 miles. We stayed at the James Robb State Park in Fruita because it was a good location from which to see the Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa. There are several other places to see in this area, but we only had one day here.
It was very hot when we arrived. The southwest is having a heat wave. Temperatures are about 15 degrees above normal. What should be a comfortable, dry 85 is an uncomfortable 100! I don’t care if its dry heat…it’s still freakin hot. So after we arrived in Fruita we turned on both air conditioners and did laundry in the nice facilities at the park. Colorado has this state park thing down! Very nice camping spots, not real close to others and great toilets, showers and laundry facilities at a reasonable price. Maybe I said this before: Colorado has the most award-winning state parks in the nation. When you think about what Colorado has to offer, especially western Colorado, it’s no wonder. Colorado is a beautiful state with some of the most amazing sites I’ve ever seen…and I’ve seen some beautiful sites around the world. We forget how diverse this country is because most of us are stuck in the cities. There are sites to see in the country that date back millions of years. I feel so blessed to be taking this trip.
Day 22- We were up very early for our M/C ride to Colorado National Monument (CNM) and the Grand Mesa. We wanted to get an early start while it was a bit cooler. Temperatures were forecasted to reach 100 ( and turns out the forecast was correct!). We charged up the neck and vest coolers (with water) overnight and the next morning packed them up with a lot of cold water and headed out by 8:30 am. CNM was only five miles from our campground.
CNM is part of the Colorado Plateau that encompasses geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park. CNM rises 2000 feet above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. It was designated a national park in 1901 as a result of the efforts of John Otto. Thanks John and others who blasted through rock to make the paved (always important to us) 23 mile Rim Trail so that we could take this breathtaking ride. 🙂
The photos just don’t do it justice…you must see it for yourself!
From CNM we headed south to take the scenic drive through the Grand Mesa. This “playground in the sky” climbs from the rugged Plateau Canyon floor ( where it was 100 degrees) to the cool evergreen Mesa Forrest’s, 11,000 feet up (where it was 65 degrees). There were lots of lakes, wildflower meadows in bloom and Forrest’s of aspens and pines. We packed a lunch and ate by the side on one of those beautiful mountain lakes. The overlooks provided amazing views of the valley below. When we returned to the Valley floor we had to put on the cool vests for the ride home. It was a great day of contrasts.