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Monday, June 1, 2015

Western Colorado to Utah

Happy Monday!  Recapping the last day of the Colorado Road trip today.  

After leaving Denver, we began the long drive back to Salt Lake City.  Our first stop on the journey was about 20 minutes outside of Denver.

Red Rocks Amphitheater.  This was a beautiful area to hike, picnic, as well as see a concert.  We were unable to go all the way into the theatre but I can only imagine how amazing a concert is between this beautiful Red Rock.  They have a great visitors center, restaurant, and museum so even if you are not here for a concert, you can get out of the car and walk around the venue.  
After leaving Red Rocks Amphitheater we hit Route 40 for the long journey across western Colorado towards Steamboat Springs.  Along the drive, we came across this gorgeous reservoir. 
Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado 
This reservoir was called "One of the best kept secrets of Colorado"
Fishing, Camping, Hiking, Boating, this was such a beautiful spot to enjoy the day (if we had time and the weather allowed).  Places like this are kind of the best part about road trips.  Unplanned, had no idea this place existed, but what a beautiful sight traveling across 40. 
Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado 
Route 40 and Green Mountain Reservoir, Colorado 
Rabbit Ears Pass, Colorado 

These last few pictures really sum of the weather.  Very small patches of sunshine and clouds followed by rain, and if you were high enough in the mountains, snow.  Temperature ranged from 60 degrees to 34.  I was told by my friend Michelle that this Rabbit Ears pass is a gorgeous area.  However, the weather was grey, no visability and a snow storm so you will have to go and let me know.  

Rabbit Ears Pass is in the Routt National Forest and is along Route 40 on the way to Steamboat Springs.  

Continental Divide-- separation of watersheds, which waters drain east to the Atlantic and which drain west to the Pacific. 

Finally we were out of the storm and into Steamboat Springs where it was downpouring.  The weather prevented us from really seeing the town but walking around Main Street really gave me the same vibe as Park City  It was a cute and touristy ski town surrounded by beautiful mountains. 

Goats along Route 40, Colorado 
After passing through Steamboat Springs, we continued west along Route 40.  This was a 1 lane (each way) "highway" through the back roads of... no where.  Small towns over an hour apart with 65 mph speed limits.  The sight below made my day.  All the sudden, at a little pull over spot I saw a "mass migration" of goats and sheep.  I stopped, got out of the car, and saw two dogs herding hundreds of goats back home.  It was kind of amazing to see these two gorgeous dogs working together to bring everyone home.  I would love to know what the command is as these dogs did this entirely on their own, no humans in sight. 

Herding Dogs along Route 40, Colorado 
If you keep traveling west towards Utah, eventually, you reach Dinosaur, Colorado, the last town in the state.  It is the "gateway to the Dinosaur National Monument".  The National monument is about 2 hours (each way) out of the way so we decided against the detour.  A picture of this rad sign will have to do.  

Town of Dinosaur, Colorado 
If you have the time, the National Monument sounds like an amazing place to visit.  Dinosaur National Monument covers over 210,000 acres.  Dinosaur fossils can only be seen on the Utah side, just north of Jensen, Utah. Most people come to see dinosaur fossils and there are 1,500 bones of these amazing creatures still encased in the rock at the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall  I will have to go back to see some dinos, camp, hike, and even do some river rafting.

Colorado/Utah Border 
This eastern edge of Utah that borders Colorado and houses the National Monument takes its dinosaurs very seriously.  I think I really nailed this dinosaur pose.  The town of Vernal is basically Dino themed everything and has to be the coolest place for a kids trip. 

Vernal, Utah 
The rest of the trip wandered through small Utah towns, before eventually reaching the end of Route 40 by Park City and the merge onto 80 west for the last short stretch to Salt Lake City.  

This was such a fun road trip and another reminded that road trips are all about the drives, not the destinations.  Another weekend, another part of the west explored. 

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