Today is America’s birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by sharing about this beautiful country we live in. From sea to shining sea, we have amazing places to go and gorgeous things to see. I hope you’ve gotten outside to enjoy it and have a safe and happy 4th of July!
If you recall, me and my family drove ten hours to the Western Slope of Colorado recently. I’m mixing some things up as far as what days we did what to make it easier to present to you because we squeezed a lot into those four days!
As I mentioned, the breakfast at the Super 8 in Fruita was lame, but we were glad because we got to head to Palisades, one of mom’s favorite small towns, located east of Grand Junction. A man by the name of W.A. Pease had a vision of creating a farming community to rival those in the Central Valley of California. In 1884, he purchased 160 acres and persuaded others to join him. Today, Palisades is considered Colorado’s private fruit and wine country, boasting 25 wineries.
Palisades gets its name from the dramatic steep cliffs (palisades) of theMancos Shale bordering the town. Locals call them the Book Bluffs as they look like books on a shelf. All I know is the town is quaint, quiet and very friendly. We ate at the 357 Bar & Grill, and they have a wonderful outside patio with shade. Now, dogs are welcome on a case-by-case basis. I’m a celebrity, so I was welcomed with a big bowl of ice water. Should you bring your pooch, they will ensure your dog is polite, well behaved and doesn’t bark, as we should be when in public. If not, they may not let Fido join you.
Breakfast was tasty, and I had some of the best bacon ever! While we were in town, mom visited the Purple Bee and enjoyed a lovely conversation with Ronda while purchasing some soaps. If you ever visit Palisades, you know you can’t leave without buying some fruit or preserves. They specialize in peaches and cherries, so we brought some yummies back with us from the Peach Salsa stand.
Now that our tummies were full, we opted to drive through the Colorado National Monument, which we did a few years ago in the pouring rain. The storm was quite impressive, and we saw a side of the area most miss. You will need to pay an entrance fee or use your National Park’s pass to get in. Dogs are welcome only in the viewing areas and not on the hiking trails or any buildings. Since Dad wasn’t up for hiking yet, we were doing mostly a drive through anyway.
The Colorado National Monument is the brain child of John Otto who visited and fell in love with the area in 1907. He opted to stay and became an advocate for the land to be protected and become a national park. In 1911, the Colorado National Monument was established, and John Otto was the park’s caretaker until his death in 1927.
If you have been to Sedona, Arizona, the red rocks of the CNM will look familiar yet distinctly different in the plateau-canyon countryside with towering masses of sculpted rocks. The 32 square miles are more rugged and not developed. As you drive through, pay attention and look for some of the named rocks like Balanced and Window Rock.
You enter on one side of the park and drive through to the opposite side. Along the way are many places to stop and enjoy the views. Because the Western Slope of Colorado is somewhat in the middle of nowhere and not near any big cities, you won’t have the crowds here like Sedona, that is for darn sure! We love Sedona, but it is ruined now by over use.
You can get through the monument relatively quickly or you can take your time and spend the day. You choose! We spent half a day, stopping often to take pictures. The day was perfect: not too hot and not cold with some cloud cover.
We headed back to the hotel to refresh and clean up for dinner with our friend, Michael Wells. He lives in Loma (west of Grand Junction), and we got to meet his daughter, Leah (check out her tumblers!), their dogs and many other critters. The winds kicked up something fierce, and the sky turned black. Ah, the afternoon in Colorado! You can pretty much count on afternoon showers summertime in the Rockies.
We then ate at the Cattleman’s Restaurant in Loma. Well, mom and dad sat inside, and I took a nap. I did get some of mom’s prime rib, though, so no complaints from me! Our visit went quick, but we were grateful to spend time with a long-term friend. He’s known mom and dad longer than I have – can you believe that? Anyway, I got a little walk in at the park before bedtime. A great day was had by all. Next up, a super scenic drive and awesome nature park you won’t want to miss while in the area. Be safe and be smart. We don’t need any wild fires please.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!