Archive for November, 2010

Colorado Trip Part II

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

This is our 3rd time visiting Colorado since Grant and Katia moved there from Alaska. Colorado is known for it’s sunny weather and Alaska for it’s lack of sun. So far, we’ve experienced the opposite when we visit. For our 3 trips up to Alaska when Grant was there, we experienced great weather for Alaska, especially for winter travel (I’ll do a blog on our trips up to Alaska another time – a spectacular place). But for our 3 trips to Colorado, we haven’t seen much sun other than the day we arrive and the day we leave. This time, we even brought rain to the desert of Western Colorado – it started raining shortly after our train arrived in Grand Junction. As you’ll see, we got into snow again up in the mountains. So far, we’ve been to Colorado in late April, late October and early November, and each time, it’s snowed on us. We don’t mind, we’re winter people, but I think it’s funny that we don’t seem to catch much dry weather when we are visiting a very dry state, Colorado. In fact, we were lucky that we made our train as I-70 was closed the day we left due to a rock slide in the Glenwood Canyon, which we used to catch the train in Glenwood Springs, heading back to Denver to fly home.

We start the second part of our adventure from Grand Junction by a trip to the Colorado National Monument. The Colorado National Monument rises over 2,000 feet above the grand valley of the Colorado River. The park is situated at the edge of the Uncompahgre Uplift, part of the greater Colorado Plateau which also includes the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Arches. It’s semi desert, only receives around 10-12 inches of precipitation per year (it rained when we were in the area?).

It's a short drive to the park entrance from Grand Junction.

It's a short drive to the park entrance from Grand Junction.

On the drive up the canyon rim road, it appears that the rain we brought with us to the desert freshened the soil and added some color to the sage brush.

On the drive up the canyon rim road, it appears that the rain we brought with us to the desert freshened the soil and added some color to the sage brush.

The first of many spectacular, breathtaking views.

The first of many spectacular, breathtaking views.

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On the road to Edwards

On the road to Edwards

Beautiful red mountains line the road.

Beautiful red mountains line the road.

We arrive in dark and drearly Edwards. There's snow in them tar hills.

We arrive in dark and dreary Edwards. There's snow in them tar hills.

The next day we headed to Vail Village for breakfast.

The next day we headed to Vail Village for breakfast.

More of what Vail looks like

More of what Vail looks like

The Colorado Ski Museum has a great exibit on the 10th Mountain Division that was originally trained in the Vail area during WWII. I've met some 10th Mountain Veterans when riding the ski lifts back east in my area of upstate New York.

The Colorado Ski Museum has a great exhibit on the 10th Mountain Division that originally trained in the Vail area during WWII. I've met some 10th Mountain Veterans while sharing a ride on ski lifts back east in my area of upstate New York, still skiing after all those years.

Vail Pass on I-70 @10,666 FT AGL. Vail Pass was closed because of snow the day we left by train back to Denver.

Vail Pass on I-70 @10,666 FT AGL. Vail Pass was closed because of snow the day we left by train back to Denver.

The Zephyr arriving in Glenwood Springs to take us back to Denver.

The Zephyr arriving in Glenwood Springs to take us back to Denver.

The view out the train, blowing snow and 13'.

The view out the train, blowing snow and 13'.

Colorado Trip Part I

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Wifey and I am just back from a trip out to Colorado to visit with son Grant, daughter-in-law Katia and grandson Milo. We made stops in Denver, Grand Junction, and Edwards, which is up in the Rockies at around 7,000 Ft AGL in the Vail Valley. We flew into Denver and overnighted at The Oxford Hotel. Next day, we took the California Zephyr from Denver over the Rockies to Grand Junction, to meet-up with Grant and his family.  I’ve decided to break this trip blog into 2 posts because of all the photos. First the Denver to Grand Junction part, then Grand Junction back to Denver. The Zephyr is billed as the premier train trip in the US and I have to say, it’s definitely worth the price of admission for the views. We parked ourselves in the Sightseer Lounge Car to take-in the view, many of which are only available by train through remote Rockies’ countryside. The train takes awhile to climb the front range of the Rockies after leaving Denver. Once you start the climb, the view just continues to outdo the last. You pass through increasingly spectacular canyons – Fraser, Byers, Gore, Red and Glenwood, with stops in Granby, Winter Park/Fraser, and Glenwood Springs on the way to our destination on the train, Grand Junction.

Wheels up in Albany, Denver bound!

Wheels up in ALB, Albany, Denver bound!

Fog over the Hudson, south bound for a plane change in BLT, Baltimore.

Fog over the Hudson, south bound for a plane change in BWI, Baltimore.

You can tell you're over the mid-west, near Denver, by the crop circles.

You can tell you're over the mid-west, near Denver, by the crop circles.

Touchdown, DEN - Denver.

Touchdown, DEN - Denver.

The Oxford Hotel, in the heart of Denver's Lodo District.

The Oxford Hotel, in the heart of Denver's Lodo District.

Grant and I enjoying a pint of Fat Tire in the hotel bar.

Grant and me enjoying a pint of Fat Tire in the hotel bar.

Alfresco dining at McCormick's Fish House and Bar

Alfresco dining at McCormick's Fish House and Bar

Denver train station, just down the street from the Oxford Hotel.

Denver train station, just down the street from the Oxford Hotel.

All-aboard the Zepher for Grand Junction.

All-aboard the Zepher for Grand Junction.

We didn't wast any time heading for the observation car to enjoy the view.

We didn't wast any time heading for the observation car to enjoy the view.

Looking East as the train climbs the front range of the Rockies

Looking East as the train climbs the front range of the Rockies

Into our first canyon, either Coal Creek or South Boulder - not sure which.

Into our first canyon, either Coal Creek or South Boulder - not sure which.

Out of the canyon, and on to the next views.

Out of the canyon, and on to the next views.

The Fraser River Canyon

The Fraser River Canyon

More Fraser Canyon

More Fraser Canyon

Out of the canyon and on to Byers and the Colorado River.

Out of the canyon and on to Byers and the Colorado River.

Byers Canyon

Byers Canyon

Out of Byers along side the Colorado, heading for Gore.

Out of Byers along side the Colorado, heading for Gore.

Coming into Gore Canyon

Coming into Gore Canyon

Gore Canyon and the Colorado River

Gore Canyon and the Colorado River

Next up, Red Canyon.

Next up, Red Canyon.

Entering Red Canyon along the Colorado

Entering Red Canyon along the Colorado

The Red Canyon

The Red Canyon

Leaving Red Canyon

Leaving Red Canyon

Next up, Glenwood Canyon and Glenwood Springs.

Next up, Glenwood Canyon and Glenwood Springs.

The canyon.

The canyon.

More Glenwood.

More Glenwood.

Glenwood Springs with the Denver Hotel in background-a good place to stay.

Glenwood Springs with The Hotel Denver in background-a good place to stay.

The California Zephyr at Glenwood Springs Depot.

The California Zephyr at Glenwood Springs Depot.

On to Grand Junction and our destination.

On to Grand Junction and our destination.

Mount Garfield and the Bookcliff Mountains.

Mount Garfield and the Book Cliff Mountains.

Coming into Grand Junction and the end of this post. Phew!

Coming into Grand Junction and the end of this post. Phew!