Day 32- Grand Junction, CO

Posted: October 23, 2010 in Colorado

When we awoke the next morning the very first thing I noticed was that Jon’s face looked kind of funny. Something had bit his upper lip in the middle of the night, and it was now swollen and tender to the touch.

We stopped to grab him a razor and some allergy medicine, then pushed on towards Grand Junction. Today was going to be our last day in Colorado, and I was getting excited about seeing the high desert for the first time. Our route was starting to flatten out as we made our way along the I-70 corridor towards the state line, although the surrounding land still contained smaller canyons and mesas as we moved across the western foothills of the Rockies.
We rode past the Roan Plateau as we moved into the small De Beque-Palisade-Grand Junction valley area. Peaches and wine grapes are extensively farmed in the valley, creating an extremely vibrant little field of intense emerald green that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the area. There are numerous wineries and roadside produce stands as you move towards Grand Junction, and we definitely stopped at our share of them. The local wines are wonderful, and the peaches- well, I have never eaten a tastier (or larger) peach than the one we bought from a stand just outside the De Beque Canyon Winery.
Once you enter Grand Junction, however, all of that changes pretty quickly. Grand Junction is fairly large, as it is the only real city until you reach Moab, just over 100 miles away. We cruised around for a bit, finally stopping for a bite to eat. We hung out for a few hours and chatted with some locals while we let Jon’s phone charge since we weren’t certain of having an outlet where we crashed for the night. Once we left we made our way to a fairly large park where the Peach Festival had been held that day. We originally planned on camping under the pavilion, until we found ourselves too deeply engaged in a conversation with a slightly unhinged (but kind and soft-spoken) older homeless man. He insisted on talking our ears off which is ultimately what prompted us to the move to a different park- there was no way we would be able to get to sleep around him.
The second park we went to seemed perfect at first. There was a covered pavilion with outlets to charge our stuff, and a large evergreen close by that, oddly enough, had a triangular section missing from the bottom that hid us and our gear perfectly from view of any cops. We quickly scouted the area to make sure that there were no sprinklers close by, and started to settle in for the night. About five minutes after getting comfortable, we heard the sounds of people yelling from a few hundred feet away. Suddenly, a guy and girl- both only in undergarments and clenching their clothes, ran into our line of few. The male was yelling his displeasure over something at some other people that we could hear but not see as he ran out of the park. We laughed about it and went back to getting comfortable for the night, when we heard the telltale sign of the sprinklers popping up. This startled us as the sound was coming from an area that we thought was free of them. I decided to get up and check one last time to make sure our area was safe- and as I did, I saw a cop car pull and an officer get out. He had definitely seen me, and once he asked for my id there was no way to avoid the fact that we were attempting to camp out in the park. As I was walking back to our tree, sprinklers suddenly started going off around us. They were about 30 seconds away from soaking our campsite, and the cop laughed as we scrambled to move our stuff under the pavilion and out of the way. The timing and humor of the entire situation ended up being our saving grace; while running our ids, he, in a very roundabout way, let us know that as long as we relocated to a different park and no one saw us, we could get away with camping out for the night. We thanked him for his lenience and made our way to a new spot, finally putting the day to an end.

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