Monday, 25 August 2014

Day 4: Kremmling, CO - Grand Junction, CO

Those who care about such things will no doubt be relieved to learn that I am not bed-ridden in a fiendishly expensive USAnian hostipal as whatever ailed me yesterday has been seen off by a just-about-tolerable night's sleep.  The said sleep being b0rked by a combination of America's second-loudest fridge1 and the wik thunderstorm, whose accompanying torrential rain did its best to clean the scum off the streets muck off the Mudstang.  More rain in the morning too; the two bikers with whom I'd been chatting at breakfast (one of whom was a refugee from Ealing, living in LA for thirty years, and who can blame him?) took cover under the motel canopy until it had blown over.

I wasted a fair bit of time looking for County Road 11 to take me down to the Mighty Colorado; Emily and I thought we knew where it was but it seemed to be naught but a five-yard stub leading to a steep hillside liberally coated with pine trees.  Back to Kremmling and Plan B, in the shape of County Road 1, a.k.a. Trough Road.  The Mighty Colorado faithlessly diverts from major thoroughfares around here, so I had to take to the back roads.  Mostly smooth dirt, with a nice fresh layer of liquid mud.  More forgiving on the motor-car than the A406 at the Waterworks roundabout, anyway.

Emily can be told to look for coordinates rather than places, so a little forward planning with Google Maps and the iPad meant a list of suitable places to visit could be drawn up in advance and referenced on the move.  What I didn't expect to find was the tail-end of Gore Canyon:

Above the Mighty Colorado on the left is what used to be the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific railroad - now part of the Union Pacific.  Above the Mighty Colorado on the right, and just out of shot, was a very soggy mountain biker cooking Porridge and drying out his tent...

Although much of the Mighty Colorado hereabouts looks only marginally more exciting than the Llangollen Canal, Gore Canyon contains some serious rapids, hence the proliferation of rafting tour operators even out in the middle of nowhere.  One such piece of the middle of nowhere is Radium; they used to mine the stuff here in the early 20th century.

Radium.  Monday.
Trough Road goes for miles (mostly) along the river to State Bridge, where one can enjoy a brief return to asphalt on CO-131, before turning off onto County Road 30.  This is also most dirt, at least at the eastern end, and sticks as close to the river as it's possible to get without either a train or a boat.  I nearly made good on my desire to own a less dumbphone around here, in the form of a Jesus phone iPhone which someone had left at the Catamount Recreation Site, but unfortunately it was DED:
I was tempted to drop it off the nearby bridge, just to see if it really could walk on the water...
Eventually the road turns tarmaccy and then runs smack into I-70 at Dotsero.  There are Good Motorways and Bad Motorways.  Bad Motorways include the M25 and most of I-80 between Cheyenne and Battle Mountain.  I-70, from its inception in Utah as far as the outskirts of Denver, is a Good Motorway, and few bits are better than Glenwood Canyon.  I've writted of Glenwood Canyon before, so you'll have to check the Archives.  Here may be found more top Bridgey Goodness, most of it unphotographable because the bridges carry the road over the Mighty Colorado.  Hanging Lake Rest Area, though, offers some top bridge-spotting opportunities:
Some nameless dam in the foreground; railroad disappears into a tunnel behind the bush on the far left.
One day I'll actually walk the mile-and-a-bit up to Hanging Lake, but not today.  Miss von Brandenburg will no doubt be mortified to learn that my top-quality Firetrap Christmas Flip-Flops (which have been doing a sterling job of keeping gravel out of the soles of my feet during fag breaks) are wearing a hole in my left foot, just back from the little toe.  I have had to purchase some Equate® Strong Strips™2 to prevent amputation.
It was lovely and hot in the afternoon, which begs the question "How do you prevent your dog from getting his ears sunburned when travelling on the passenger seat of a ragtop BMW with the roof down?"  Simples:
A fine example of String Technology in action.
I hope that noise just now was a jet aircraft and not more effing thunder...

1 - The loudest is in Laramie, WY, or at least it was in 2008.
2 - Like Band-Aids, but cheaper.


  1. Trying to post story about moose in Dresden office (wandered in from Poland - curse these open EU borders) but can't get a good link. It's at .....

    1. I couldn't find it. Paging all moose-fiends...