It was a short ride from the Dinosaur National Monument, Utah to the town of Dinosaur, Colorado along the 40.
We had had rain the evening before and while it looked hopeful in the morning by the afternoon the dark clouds were filling in. Good thing we weren't going to far east before heading south again!
Here we are just west of Dinosaur.
Nice to be back in Colorado - we've had some good times here the last few years.
So true but a bit ironic that the sign is so, well - uncolorful.
We stopped in Dinosaur to visit the Colorado Welcome Center. And by the way - if you are heading this way - get your gas in Dinosaur for a much lower rate than in Jensen. I wish we'd known but we were without wifi at the Monument and I just wasn't sure if Dinosaur - being so small - would have a gas station - turns out they have two!
Only a few - well worn dinosaurs in Dinosaur - I think Cas is more unimpressed with the weather at this point than anything else - there was a cold wind blowing.
But it didn't keep us from the amazing playground. Funny to find one of the best playgrounds in a very small town on a very cold day.
A treehouse complete with treasure map.
The Welcome Center is a worthwhile stop - lots of good info and we were even able to charge the laptop.
Dinosaur is surrounded by a very interesting area geologically.
By 3:30 pm we decided to continue on to Grand Junction 108 miles south via highway 64 and then 139.
We were very impressed with the route right away - it starts off not entirely exciting but scenic nonetheless. BLM recreation areas at almost every turn just past Rangely. We stopped briefly at this BLM stop - too bad it was so cold it would have been a great place to overnight - complete with a walking trail.
The further south we drove the better the weather became - at least there was some blue sky to give us hope.
A nice easy flat road - we knew that was going to change soon though. We were well aware of the fact that we had to cross Douglas Pass at a height of 8,268 ft. Yikes!
With our climb however, came a completely different terrain - a least as we climbed we had some stellar scenery.
And the fall colours were amazing. Sadly, I don't think that comes through in the photos as much as we thought it would.
It was a bit eery with the low cloud - with the height it was swirling around. 20 mph? no worries there!
You can just see a trailer on their way down on the right.
Good thing the speed limit is 25 mph - we didn't have anyone behind us thankfully because the best we could do was 15 mph.
Obviously we are close to the top. Good thing I had picture taking to distract me - NOT one of my favourite ways to pass the time. A warm up for the Million Dollar Highway I guess….
A very odd feeling, not being able to see the other side of the road - the only other time this has happened to us was on the road to Presidio in southern Texas. We felt like we were on top of the world.
And then - what?! Yes - downnnnnnn……..
Derek stopped about 1/2 way for me to run out and take a few pictures of the valley below.
Now, if we had come this way I'm not so sure I would have been as okay with this road - it is hard to see but the road is literally carved out of this yellow stone cliff - if you look to the right to the notch you can then follow the road down.
We were treated to amazing fall colours all the way down - we were so impressed. Here the clouds and thus shadows were moving across the hillside.
I took a ton of photos - it was hard to stop. At least we have the mental images which were so much more abundant.
A then back to a flat straight black ribbon taking us to Grand Junction.
Whew! We LOVED that - in a adrenaline rush kinda way.
Close to Loma we came across this - Derek quickly stopped so I could take a picture - funny to see this families entire yard filled with sheep.
Heading east through Fruita and then into Grand Junction.
Parked in one of the best overnight parking lots we've been in - Lowe's in Grand Junction. A HUGE parking lot with super fast wifi - nicely tucked in a quite corner.
We spent the evening entertaining ourselves looking around the Sprouts store - we hadn't been in one since way back in Austin a few years ago. Nice that we found Cassia's vitamins there - Animal Parade Gold which go for half the price here in the USA at $13.99 than in Canada.
So, that was 'one of our best rides - ever!'. Why? Well, I guess it was the fact that it held our attention for the entire 108 miles - there was much to see - a ton of amazing fall colours, lots of areas to pull over and a crazy mind blowing climb to over 8,000 feet via steep switchbacks. I don't know if that comes across in the photos, sadly.
We had a good day and the weather worked out well. We realized along the way that rain had just moved through so our stop for a few hours in Dinosaur was well timed.
Following a nice warm night in Grand Junction we continued south to Montrose. We meant to spend the day there but being a Monday, the Visitor Center and most of the stores were closed - as was the brewery we were intending to visit.
As such we changed - or well - added to our plan.
We took a detour to check out the mountain town of Telluride.
The promise of a free gondola ride - and a brewery - beckoned us.