The start of a Grand Junction week

Boring, but necessary, things were done yesterday morning – I changed the oil & filter (it’s amazing how fast 5000 km comes around on a roadtrip in this big country), grocery shopping, first visit to REI for the trip & so on.

So I was ultra-pleased with the opportunity for a good ride in the afternoon.  Perfect riding conditions showed up too – overcast. warm but with a nice breeze to prevent overheating.  Just north of town across the Colorado are the Lunch Loop trails set in some nice little canyons.  For an early Monday afternoon, there were an awful lot of cars in the parking lot – they must be good trails.  I’m nowhere near bike-fit yet (damn long winter) so the steep climbing up the canyon (at one point I think I was going up a gnarly down trail) was punctuated by a few photo stops.  I love these canyons in this part of the world, they’re gorgeous.  Good overcast riding weather is not great photography weather, but my photos are never world-class so it hardly matters!

My legs survived OK, but I’ll be pleased to get a bit of cardio back. But it was soon time to turn & go down. The trails were flowy for a while & then headed in to some really big rocks that meant I found it difficult to negotiate some of the step-ups – maybe the biggest part of being off the bike for so long isn’t the fitness, it’s the loss of technique & confidence to attempt some of more tricky technical bits. Despite that, I had an absolute blast as I wound my was down & in & out of sub-canyons.

I met Valerie back at the car, she having returned from walking some of the trails closer to the parking lot, & we continued up the road to Colorado National Monument. This was another one of those places we’d never heard of the day prior, but all the literature for GJ accommodation & the first waitress we had in town gushed about it. A big rock above towering above Grand Junction it is over 20,000 acres worth of monument with many spectacular canyons carved into it. It was a great scenic drive of about twenty miles punctuated by many stops as we looked over the precipices (of great peril) as the sun came out.

These are appropriately called the Coke Ovens

We’ve decided to extend our time here in Grand Junction up to a week as it’s a nice place, but the weather forecast means I’ll struggle to fit all the rides in I want to if we left on Thursday. So Moab has been pushed out until Sunday, I’m sure I’ll survive. Today we checked out the local museum while it drizzled – the history of the local nomadic tribes & the roaming Spanish in the 1700s was fascinating. With just a few scattered showeres this afternoon & a bit of sun we enjoyed a leisurely ride along the Colorado River Trail – with lots of birdlife (& a couple of deer & many burrowing rodents of some description) to keep us amused.

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