Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cool peaks, hot springs

Glenwood Springs, CO – We’re nestled on a hillside RV park with views in either direction along Interstate 70 of snow-topped mountains and the sparkling Colorado River.  The air is fresh and the sky is clear, and we had a good drive today.

It was a short one too – we got to the park in time for lunch – but we are trying to gauge our travels so that we can get over the Rockies without doing so on a long driving day.  It will be enough to go up to 11,000 feet and down again through mountain passes without covering a long distance as well.

As we headed east today toward the Utah-Colorado state line, we passed the turnoff for Moab, where two more spectacular canyon state parks are located.  Our friends Scott and Mary Jane tempted us sorely with encouraging words about them, and eye-popping photos of their visits there, but we felt it was time to head on.  We have to leave something for the next visit!

The moonscape terrain in those last few miles of Utah made our departure a bit easier; we so enjoyed everything we saw and visited while in that unique part of the world. A contingent of pronghorn antelopes reported for duty on one of the last hilltops to bid us farewell.

Almost as soon as we entered Colorado, the geography changed to lush green pastures against a majestic mountain backdrop. We pulled over at the visitor center in Fruita to pick up maps and information, and asked the host there what the smoke was all about in the valley we were passing through.

He told us that this was the time of year when farmers are burning off dry grass and weeds before planting season begins, and that highway crews were doing the same.  It made for a rather hazy view of Fruita, but we did see plenty of orchards and vineyards as we drove through.

After setting up in the RV park and having lunch, we headed off in the car for some groceries.  Glenwood Springs is a pretty little town with a charming historic downtown and lots of hotels.  Its proximity to the popular ski resorts is one reason for this, but there are also hot springs here that draw visitors.

With our shopping done, we headed back and passed a resort with a huge swimming pool, just jammed with swimmers, plus a big waterslide. The temperature here wasn’t much more than 65 degrees, so it surprised me to see this until I realized this must be the hot spring they were talking about in the tourist literature!

Up on the mountain side we could see a cable-car ski lift in full operation, even though there didn’t appear to be more than a sprinkling of snow at the top.  However, I spotted a roller coaster up top, so we figured there was more than snow sports drawing visitors to that height. We’ll be hitting the heights soon enough, so we continued our drive back to our cosy home on wheels.

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