Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Many travelers like the Interstates. We do not, and prefer to take secondary roads whenever possible. Even with a 45' coach, we have only had one small glitch which took us about 20 miles out of our way before we could turn around. With the car attached, we are right at 65' long and have found most secondary roads are adequate. Now, if you're in a hurry, stick to the Interstates, but remember, you will miss a lot of what makes this country great. Visit all the small towns, eat at some cute diners, enjoy the warmth and friendliness of the locals. See some spectacular scenery that you would miss on the Interstates. Think about this when you are planning your next getaway.....

Leaving Gallup, New Mexico, US Hwy 491 travels north toward Shiprock and Colorado. An excellent two lane road with little traffic.

Since our destination was Durango, Colorado, we skipped off US 491 and headed east on US 64 and north to US 550. The approach to Durango is pretty dramatic.

The area around Durango is surrounded by many pine trees and spectacular scenery. This was shot on US 160 near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

When we left Durango, we took US 160 West toward Cortez, as Moab, Utah was our next destination. These hills, with snow capped mountains in the distance are just west of Durango and are part of the San Juan National Forest.

Nearing Cortez on US 160, you can see we encountered very little traffic. Wide open spaces and peaceful traveling. Out here no one cares how fast, or slow, you travel. We moved at a leisurely pace, stopping along the way to see some deer and an occasional coyote.

US 160 terminates in Cortez at the junction of US 491. We turned north toward Utah. Traffic is still non existent.

We are still on US 491 just inside the State of Utah. The pine trees have given way to meadows and flat lands. We saw several large farming areas but most of this area is used for cows, steers and horses.

US 491 terminates in Montecello where it intersects with US 191. Heading north on US191, the area changes from meadows to rolling hills. We climbed up and over a mountain pass and were treated to colorful rock formations, hills and beautiful scenery. This is the southern portion of Canyonlands National Park. Moab, Utah and Arches National Park are our next stops.

Our next stop was Rifle, Colorado and then on to Denver. Leaving Moab, the shortest route is north on US191 to Interstate 70 and east. Since we don't like the Interstates, we decided to head east on Utah 128 which follows the Colorado River and the south side of Arches National Park. Here's a shot of Utah 128. No traffic, yet an excellent 2 lane road.

Did I mention spectacular scenery? These rock formations were formed millions of years ago as the Colorado River cut through this area on its' way to the Gulf. You can see Utah 128 on the lower left of the picture. The river is just to the left of the roadway.

Camping is allowed at many locations along the Colorado River. In fact, Utah has many primitive campsites throughout this area. Awesome rock formations, beautiful farmlands and even a dude ranch were found along this roadway.

We finally came to the end of Utah 128 and my GPS begged me to turn left and hook up to the Interstate. A check of my paper map showed this road would eventually take me to the interstate but further east. So we turned right. Debi was a little skeptical since there were no pavement markings. The buildings in the distance on the right are the remnants of what used to be a town called Cisco, Utah., (Clicky), now long gone, with most of the buildings falling down.
Eventually though, we ended up on Interstate 70 headed east toward Denver. Our destination was Rifle, Colorado which is about halfway from Moab to Denver. We usually travel no more than 3 hours a day and Rifle was a perfect stop. From there we could visit Grand Junction, Parachute and Glenwood Springs. I'll try to post some more pictures tomorrow.

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