Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Colorado Along Route 491.

As I mentioned in a previous writing on Monticello, Utah; it is the crossroads for Routes 491 and 191. Traveling east on Route 491, it is about 15 minutes before the border line between Utah and Colorado. Entering Utah from Colorado, you'll be greeted with "Welcome to Utah; Life Elevated"; or vice versa, Colorado will greet you with, "Welcome to Colorful Colorado".

Dove Creek, CO
As you pass by High Country Elevator (dried beans and grains), the small town of Dove Creek will come into sight.  The speed limit slows from 65 - 55 - 45 and finally 35 miles/hour quickly; the local sheriff's department maintains vehicles at either end of town to make sure the speed limits are abided by.  At the Weber Industrial Park is the tractor exhibit; Midland Bean Company; Shell and Sinclair (both gas/convenience stores) and various other businesses line the main street. 

Adobe Milling Company
Continuing east, sitting on the extreme point of the hill is Adobe Milling Company whose products are available in many of the supermarkets throughout Utah and Colorado; popular sellers are Anasazi Beans and various hot sauces.

Along the way you'll pass a few "blink and you'll miss them" tiny towns; Cahone, Pleasant View and Yellow Jacket (observe the reduced to 50 miles/hour speed limits).  Eventually you will come to the junction of Route 184; turning onto this road will bring you past McPhee Reservoir and the Anasazi Heritage Museum.  At the end of the road is Route 145 either leading to Cortez, or the other way towards Dolores; keep going past Dolores though and say hello to the Rocky Mountains and you're on your way to Telluride.

McPhee Reservoir

The landscape along Route 491 encompasses "as far as the eye can see" miles of open range, pastures, fields, canyons, and dried creeks taken over by nature's greenery.  There are many access roads to the San Juan National Forest; on a windy day do not be surprised to see a dust devil or two sweeping along the horizon view line.   The one hour drive between Monticello, Utah and Cortez, Colorado is scenic and calming, if you open your senses up to it all.

Once you reach Cortez though, you can dine at many of the eateries (fast food and casual restaurants); window shop along the main street; there are two full service supermarkets and a WalMart.  That part of Cortez is along Route 160 and if you keep following that route, you'll pass Mancos (an arts and crafts type of town) and eventually see the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park; or keep going up into the mountains towards Durango.  Staying on Route 491 would head you towards New Mexico where you'll see Chimney Rock and Shiprock.
Choices, choices...don't keep asking how many miles between this and that; just make a decision on which direction and enjoy the ride.
Mary Cokenour

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