May 31, 2018, Limon, CO-
A drive from Salina to Green River, Utah entails being mindful of all things road trip-related. First and foremost of these are gas and water, the latter for both the car’s radiator and for its passengers. Having lived in the arid Southwest for 34 of the last 40 years, I am one of those who does not leave home without plenty of both.
So, after a fine night’s sleep, at Ranch Motel, in downtown Salina, I greeted the motel’s maid (not exactly a morning person) and went down the street to Mom’s Cafe. The hostess was much more cheerful and served up a scrambled eggs, sausage patty and pancakes platter that would see me through the whole day.
After my morning repast, I took a couple of views of downtown Salina.
Prep work for the long day’s drive then took over. I said farewell to the Ranch Motel folks. I really would stay there again. Morning grouchiness aside, they are a nice family. Across the street, Barrett’s Market had ice and a few food items that I needed. NAPA Auto parts had a couple of items for my project to secure the rear panel that is still taped in place, from last October’s mishap, outside Gila Cliff Dwellings, NM. Finally, I stopped at Fast Gas, for the most important item, and I was on my way.
There are several scenic view pullouts, between Salina and Green River. Three of them were my photo stops: Salt Wash, Devil’s Canyon and Spotted Wolf Canyon. A fourth, Ghost Rock, is one I am saving for an extended Utah visit, that will occupy October, 2020. More about that, later.
Salt Wash is the largest of the three sites I visited this morning. Here are a few of the scenes that awaited me.
The top two scenes show the limestone that sits atop so many layers of sandstone, which forms the nearly endless canyons of our region. The various layers are visible, in the third photo, above.
Salt Wash had a sizable display of Dineh (Navajo) art and crafts. I purchased a lovely bowl, as part of my gift for the wedding which is taking me to Philadelphia, in mid-June. When I got to Devil’s Canyon, a few blankets were laid out, with necklaces and such, all lovely, but I had what I wanted. Here are a couple of views from this second viewpoint.
You can see that, with just the passage of a few miles, a slight change in elevation brings a drastic difference in landscape and plant life.
At Spotted Wolf Canyon, the easternmost of the scenic viewpoints, there were no vendors, just a news photographer, out of Salt Lake City, plying his craft. I worked around him, and got these scenes.
This is the beginning of the relentless maze of canyons and eroded bottomlands, that make southeastern Utah, and much of nearby northeastern Arizona, such a major desert trekking haven. I am looking to do justice to Utah’ s great parks and reserves-thus, a plan to spend all of July, 2020, beginning with the Goosenecks of the San Juan River and moving through Arches, Canyonlands and westward, ending at Cedar Breaks.
I made my next stop in Grand Junction, western Colorado’s regional commercial hub, intending to gas up again and get the car washed. The car wash attendant had to manually restart the system, both for me and for the gentleman who came after me. I ended up spending nearly two hours in Grand Junction, with not much to show for it, but the car was clean.
As luck would have it, my second cousin, in Denver, was working and I know my sister-in-law, with two jobs, would likely be unavailable when I got there. So, I stopped in Glenwood Springs and had dinner at 19th Street Diner, a westside spot where another friend works. She wasn’t there, but I was well-treated.
Along the way from Glenwood to Denver, the Colorado River shows its relative health.
It will be a fine day, when this level of vitality is again visible, for the length of this great river. Alas, man must drink.
Wind, furious at times, was my companion from Denver to Limon, Colorado, where I would spend the night. It was a minor adventure, gassing up in the small town of Watkins, just east of Denver International Airport. The clerk inside was blase about the wind- “Well, we are in the Plains.” True enough, and so it would continue, as I moved through Kansas.