We followed the Colorado River through winding valleys, always west and down. Since 6 and I-70 join together past De Beque, CO, we had to find an alternate route toward Grand Junction. We walked south on highway 65, toward Mesa, between beautiful plateaus and weathered rock formations.
Halfway to Mesa, an old cowboy named Rod stopped to see what we were doing. He raised an eyebrow when we showed him what road we planned to take from Mesa toward Grand Junction and cautioned that, while he hadn’t lived there for very long, he didn’t know of a road that would go through across the plateau. But our only other option was to take 65 back toward I-70, where we would dead end in the narrow canyon with no roads to walk for several miles. We shrugged and decided to trust Google Maps, which showed County Road 47 1/2 going all the way across the plateau. Onward we walked, past Mesa and up toward the plateau.
After climbing 1000′ and walking five miles, we sat down at a dead end to figure out what to do. We don’t usually walk across clearly marked private property – especially during hunting season. After some deliberation, we piled into the car and backtracked to Rod’s place, at the junction of highway 65. The next day, we started walking from Rod’s place toward I-70. When we finally reached the river and ran out of frontage roads, we drove ahead to the next possible path. While we pride ourselves in not skipping any miles, we had run out of options. Since we walked five extra miles the day before, we figured a 4-5 mile jump through the narrow, un-walkable canyon was a fair solution. We walked through Palisade and Clifton, past wineries and orchards, to Grand Junction.
It is hard to believe that we are already in Grand Junction, the last big stop before we leave Colorado and head west into Utah. We headed to the Grand Junction KOA campground to rest and get cleaned up. We love staying at KOA campgrounds whenever we can – they are always affordable, clean, and hospitable. The staff at the Grand Junction KOA even let us stay for free! We took showers, did laundry, charged our phones, and were ready the next morning to head over to the Grand Junction VA Medical Center for a Therapy Visit.
Robin Maddox from volunteer services met us, and introduced us to the wonderful staff. We walked the halls of their long-term care unit, talking about the benefits of having an established pet therapy program and meeting with dog-loving veterans. Near the end of our visit, we met a man named Fred. Fred is 92, spent 22 years in the Air Force, and was a joy to meet. Max and Grace climbed into bed with him for some cuddles while Kait and I soaked up Fred’s stories and enthusiasm for his life and travels.
Fred has lived all over the world, and understands our wanderlust. He seemed truly inspired and happy that we have taken the time to travel and really see our country. Meeting Fred really inspired us. There was a great deal of mutual respect in his room, and we left feeling like we had made a good friend in Fred. There is a bright spark of enthusiasm and joy in his eyes. I hope he publishes all the books he talked about writing, so that I can read them someday.
From here, we walk west through Fruita and into Utah. We have heard many things about Utah – some good, some not-so-good. either way, we are stoked. This is the beginning of the end of this walk. Time to get serious.