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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Day 4: Grand Junction to Salt Lake City

The next morning we spent a couple of hours in Grand Junction before hitting the road back to West Valley City. Beth went back to Mack's house to collect a Dremel tool she'd forgotten, and I visited the Museum of Western Colorado, in the mistaken belief that I'd see some dinosaur-related material. Actually I saw some fascinating exhibits relating to the Ute American Indians (who gave their name to Utah), the early Spanish explorers, and the later fur trappers who populated the western territories before the Oregon Trail was opened up. 

From the roof tower (lift up, stairs down) I took some panoramic shots of the city and the surrounding

To the East the mountain ridge has a jagged appearance

...while to the West there is a Mesa, site of the Colorado National Monument . The building with arched windows is the Amtrak Station. It is possible to catch a train from Eugene to this station, but at $211 (one way) and taking a minimum 40 hours, it's not surprising few people choose this option.  

Returning to the Motel to meet Beth, I passed along Main Street, part of the delightful Downtown area. With cafes, shade trees and street art, I enjoyed the all-too-brief walk, despite the 100 degree heat. I was particularly taken by this frog prince.

This leaf angel won second place in a competition, though I am hazy on any further details. I liked it. 

As in any roadtrip, all too soon we were back on the road heading West towards Utah. This area around the Colorado/Utah border is rich in dinosaur discoveries (there's even a town called Dinosaur), and looking at the crumbling sedimentary layers in the hills, it is easy to imagine dino bones just below the surface, waiting for the next heavy rain or rockslide to uncover them.

Leaving colorful Colorado

Entering Utah (Life Elevated)

Pausing at a rest stop, we took some shots of the desert. I wouldn't want to be here for long without shade and water. Luckily we brought both in the car, as otherwise there's next to no shade and less water. We discovered Beavertail Prickly Pear cacti, various other desert plants, and a lizard.

I liked this cloud formation.

Climbing back into the mountains near Helper.

This hillside still has some visible coal. Just behind me is a massive coal-fired power plant.

At the end of another long hot drive we are welcomed back by our friends the Hellwells, who happily put us up for three nights of our trip, fed us, entertained us, and provided an oasis of family and fun. In this picture are Beth, Bran, John, Ciara and Nia. The last time Beth or I were here Nia was still a toddler with very few words, and now she's older than her big sister Ciara was back then.  We spent a wonderful evening chatting and playing board and card games, before retiring to bed in the Hellewells' RV (camper van).

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