Road Trip: Grand Junction, Colorado and Grand Mesa Creek

October 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Colorado became the 38th state to join the United States on August 1, 1876. The capital city is Denver. The highest point is Mt. Elbert at 14,433 feet.

Road Trip 2013 - Day 11 - June 21 - Grand Junction, Colorado and Grand Mesa Creek (Previous 2013 Road Trip posts: Indiana DunesDe ImmigrantAmana ColoniesDes MoinesMadison County Roads, Bridges of Madison CountyWhite Pole Road, Great Platte River Road Archway MonumentGolden Spike Tower & Union Pacific's Bailey Rail Yard, Loveland PassThe Resting Day at Powderhorn, Black Canyon of the GunnisonCimarronColorado National MonumentFruita RodeoArches National Park)

Colors of Southwestern Architecture, Grand Junction, Colorado.Colors of Southwestern ArchitectureGrand Junction, Colorado As on every vacation, time was flying and before we knew it the last day of our stay in the Mesa, Colorado base was upon us. Since we were going to embark on week-long driving to drive further south into Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico before turning the wheel back towards Buffalo, NY, we took Friday really easy and spent the full day in the area.

First, we headed to Grand Junction that we only drove through a few times and spent almost a whole day there walking the streets, enjoying the architecture, and just taking it easy. As you can see in the first photograph here it was fun soaking in the architecture so different from the American Northeast. I always enjoy the abundant use of bold colors, as well as the brick used as the building material as opposed to wood. Yes, building from wood may be cheaper and quicker but I think the bricks win on durability and thermal properties. And that aside, it all simply looks different, which is a big part of travel and travel photography - to witness something different.

Secret Garden Tea Room, Grand Junction, Colorado (CO).Secret Garden Tea Room With some buildings, I enjoyed their overall structures. With others, I really liked isolating individual elements, like the red door set in the orange wall above. Elsewhere, the whole streets provided unique looks.

As we wondered the streets, we passed by this quaint tea room with a whole-wall mural decorating its front wall. Along with the tea kettle, lamps, and business name plaque I thought it was all very fitting and inviting. I was not too sure about the glass door covering the classic red wooden door behind though.

Mesa Creek Canyon, Grand Mesa Scenic Byway - Route 65, Colorado (CO).Mesa Creek CanyonGrand Mesa Scenic Byway - Route 65 When we had enjoyed the town enough we started heading back to the base. It was unusual as it was still daylight and plenty of it. Our usual arrivals back for the night were well past sunset. That provided a wonderful opportunity to see the Mesa Creek valley that we drove through each day twice yet never really saw it. A wonderful narrow canyon with cliffs on each side, the road, the creek, and some pastures. We stopped several times to soak it in and yes, to photograph.

Light was still a bit harsh and there were big differences between light and shadows but I really enjoyed it despite the photographic challenges.  It seemed to highlight the spirit of the valley surrounded by cliffs shading the sun, with half the valley floor illuminated and the other half in the cliff's shade. I also liked how the sunshine made the vegetation sparkle and put focus on the lush greens in the middle of a mostly dry area, compliments of the creek. It reminded me of the Zion National Park valley where the Virgin River also created a seeming climatic contradiction.

Well, and then the Mesa Creek itself, reflecting the blue colors of the sky with boulders randomly scattered within!

Mesa Creek, Grand Mesa Scenic Byway - Route 65, Colorado (CO).Mesa CreekGrand Mesa Scenic Byway - Route 65

Mesa Creek - Grand Mesa Scenic Byway - Route 65

Have fun on your trips!

ReferencesColorado on 50states.com - Grand Mesa Scenic BywayArchitecture and Urbanism of the Southwest - Tucson's Historic Architecture

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