Back in 2006, Roy decided it was time to go meet his family; in other words, see what they thought of me, and how we all got along. His mother and brother still live in Moab, Utah while one of his stepmothers and half sisters live in Farmington, New Mexico. With our jobs back then, we could only take a little vacation time and we had to factor in that neither of us wanted to fly; two days to drive there, two days to drive back and five days of actual visiting...nine days total.
So in the middle of May, off we drove to Utah and I am so totally, 100 percent happy that we did; I got to finally see parts of the United States I thought I'd never see. Sorry Kansas, but you're one state I could do without...6 hours of flat, brown land and not much else to see. We traveled Interstate 70 which we could pick up in Pennsylvania (where we lived then) and drive all the way through to Utah. The drive was long, sometimes tedious; we took turns sleeping and driving, so we wouldn't have to waste time nor money staying overnight at a motel. There was time to sleep once we checked in at our hotel in Moab; the Best Western Greenwell Inn
|Copper Mountain Area|
Anyway what I truly want you to know about is my first introduction, up close and personal, with the Rocky Mountains. No photo or video can ever do them justice; the reality of the Rockies is so intense...emotional...stunning. Roy stated that I basically hugged the windows of the car with my mouth hanging open in astonishment. At rest stops I couldn't breathe enough of that cool, clean air; couldn't feel enough of it on my skin; I loved touching the stone of the mountains; feeling the tingle of any snow that was still in the area on my fingers. Whenever I hear anyone is traveling from the East coast out West, I tell them that they must either drive; or if flying, get off in Denver, rent a vehicle and drive through the Rocky Mountains. It is an experience that should never, ever be missed out on. We drove through the Rockies again in October 2008; and finally May 2009 when we did our final move to Monticello, Utah....the feelings, the awe, the amazement of the Rocky Mountains did not change.
OK, Geology lesson coming up; The Rocky Mountains stretch 3000 miles between the northern most part of British Columbia in Canada to the Rio Grande River in New Mexico. While there are sections of mountain range that reach out from the Rockies and have particular names, San Juan (Colorado) and Teton (Wyoming) to name a couple; the mountains in Alaska and Mexico are not part of the system. The Continental Divide is located in the Rockies and basically deems which way water will flow, either to the Atlantic or the Pacific Oceans. Lesson over...
Two popular rest stop areas is Lake Dillon or Beaver Creek. The rest stop at Lake Dillon overlooks the area and the view is breath taking. Beaver Creek is a small mountain town which surrounds a lake; quaint and picturesque.
We stopped in Vail to gas up the car; funny, but we did that all three trips. Vail is the typical ski town; crowded and over priced. In October, even though there was natural snow on the mountains, the snow machines were working full force to accommodate the skiers.
As you begin to descend from the Rockies towards Utah, you start to notice a distinct change in the landscape.
|Grand Junction, Colorado|
What was once lush forest and snowy peaks turns into desert surrounded by desolate grey hills and mountains; my husband calls this the "badlands" of the Rockies. This landscape continues to Grand Junction and all along Interstate 70 in Utah (mountains on the right of I-70 are called the "Book Cliffs" as they resemble library book stacks).
|The Book Cliffs|
Like I said before, you can "ooh and aah" at photos or videos of the Rocky Mountains, but you won't get the true experience of them unless you're up close and personal. Oh, an instance that occurred all three times while going through; a herd of Big Horned Sheep along the roadside...a ram and his ladies. Of course there was no where to pull off, so a photo could be taken, and I swear that is how those creatures planned it out. However, if you get to see them, you are so lucky as they are amazing animals; large, majestic and beautiful; just like the Rocky Mountains they reside in.
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