I’m going to experiment a little here and put some events in non-chronological order but rather grouped by type. While in Fruita,CO we visited the Colorado National Monument and I’m writing a separate post about our time there. This post will be about all the stuff we did before and after our time at the monument.
We left Ridgeway mid-morning on Thursday to drive to Grand Junction/Fruita (they are are very close together). We were heading to the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park so I typed that into Google Maps and looked at the roads and figured out the best way to get here. My way wasn’t exactly the same as Dad’s directions from Streets and Trips, but I figured there were multiple ways to get to the park. Dad and I didn’t really compare notes or discuss it, we both just figured that since we’d both looked it up, we’d find it. I left Ridgeway before they did and got enough ahead that we didn’t see each other again.
The scenery this time wasn’t so great. We were out in the western part of Colorado, which looks a lot like the eastern park, which looks a lot like Nebraska (or Kansas)…so you know, nothing but dust. There were a few mesa’s thrown in here to add some interest. Along the way there was a “Reeder Mesa Winery” that I almost had to stop at (my middle name is Reeder – long story for another time) and it was even spelled right! I didn’t think to stop until I was past it!
Soon I arrived at my turn off and headed into Grand Junction. I was approaching a very industrial section of town when I saw the sign to the state park. hmmm…wasn’t looking so scenic. Or even safe. hmmm… I pulled into the park and there were no directions to the campground. Didn’t even appear to be a campground. hmmm… So I went in the office to ask about it.
Turns out, James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is comprised of 5 different parts, all in the Greater Grand Junction area but separated by as much as 50 miles. The place I needed to be was west about 30 miles! There was no way to get google maps to tell me where the place I wanted was! It would only give me the one location for the State Park. The Ranger at the park gave me a map, that wasn’t clear at all, and promised there would be signs. I found my way to I-70 and headed west to exit 19. I was 19 miles from Utah! I was tempted to drive another 20 miles and turn around, just to check Utah off as having been there! Thankfully there were signs to the park and it was very easy to find. I did give the lady at the entrance station an earful about not being able to find the place. She wasn’t interested in hearing it and said that it was clearly explained on the reservation confirmation. I think that if there’s more than 5 miles between the different parts of a park they all need to be their own parks with their own names!
It is very hot over here in the desert! We are at a lower elevation (5,000 something) and the sun is intense. In the campground no one is out except for very early in the morning and just before and after sunset. Both nights Dad and I were able to ride our bikes in the campground, but only after the sun went down and the temps cooled a bit. Otherwise you just hear the hum of air conditioners running 24/7. When I woke up sweating at midnight, I finally succumbed and turned on the AC for the first time since I left home a month ago. It never even got down to the forecasted 63* last night.
After we finished at the monument on Friday we went into Grand Junction to explore. We hit REI – I was hoping to look at bikes but they don’t stock them at this REI store! boo. Then we discovered Main Street Bagels! They have all homemade baked goods and use local ingredients! We got some awesome cookies and Mom got some bagels! Next was a Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s type store called Sprouts. It was pretty good…small, with not a very good selection of stuff.
After shopping we headed over to Fruita’s premier pizza joint – The Hot Tomato. It was a small establishment, but it was hopping! Very busy and the pizza was very good! In the parking lot I saw a car that had an oval black & white sticker on it that said “WTF, Welcome to Fruita” LOL! It also had another that said “MILF, Man I Love Fruita (if you don’t know what MILF stands for google it…it’s worse than WTF). Later we saw the WTF sticker on 4 other cars and a store window! Lucky for me the local Walgreens was able to hook me up with one for my sticker table!