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3rd August 2003 - Road Trip - day 3 - Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa, Grand Junction

We had a late start due to various issues, and went to the Colorado National Monument. This place is an amazing – 500 feet deep-red canyons and solitary sandstone monoliths are the result of millions of years of wind and water erosion. It’s one of those places that you really cannot explain due to the sheer size of the place – it certainly puts you in your place in this world.

Along the way up to Grand Mesa we drove through a town full of peach orchards called Palisade, where the type of peach gets its name. We picked up peaches, tomatoes, apricots, beans and some jalapeno jam from one of the many produce stands along the way. I know that jalapeno jam sounds really strange, but somehow it works!

Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the USA at 53 square miles and to top it off it’s 11,000 feet high. The drive up had the most amazing views along the way and from one of the vantage points along the rim you could see for miles. It’s here that the normal pine we see in the mountains near Denver become Aspen, changing the colour from green to silver.

Back into Grand Junction and we found another small motel to camp down in and shower for the night.

The next problem was food. Not knowing where in Grand Junction we were, or even if we were in GJ, we set out on the search for dinner. Just down the road was Main Street – sounds promising, but nothing was open at all – there wasn’t even anyone on the street. We decided that perhaps we weren’t in GJ at all, so drove in what we thought was the general direction. We found next to nothing going west so decided to go north to find the I-70 and find the signs to the city.

We passed the airport to the north, and then found an old B26 WW2 bomber in an industrial yard, but nowhere near the airport! We followed the business loop back to GJ and found ourselves back on the same Main Street we started at. This place is strange – the centre is smack bang in the middle of an industrial area, and when you get there everything is closed. Add to that the fact that there isn’t even any road signs directing you here (we followed the directions in one of the books we brought along), and this makes this city one of the strangest I’ve been in for a long time.

We found the only restaurant open and shared a main course as the kitchen was closing.

Now another strange thing that was happening down Main Street when we got there was the sound of air horns and water hoses– there were guy standing around blasting off air horns, while more people were directing fire hoses up into the trees down the street. Asking the restaurant staff, it seemed there are too many birds in the trees and they were trying to scare them away! This place is mighty strange!