Thursday 3 August 2017
Day Eight - Grand Junction to Ouray via the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway, CO-141 - 173 Miles
So, is it possible to overdose on incredible landscapes? If anyone's going to find out, it's me, because yesterday's drive was another jaw dropping journey.
If there's one unexpected side effect of this trip, it's an increasing interest in geography and geology. Why do these canyons exist? What makes them so impressive? The Unaweep has everyone confused, because water flows out of both ends (and only a dribble at that), so what carved it? The popular theory is that Colorado river used to take this route, but got diverted millennia ago.
So what does this mean for the driver like me? It means a wide canyon with massive cliffs, and a central floor about half a kilometer wide that's a lush green pastureland. It's dotted with little farms and drop dead gorgeous holiday homes - the best of which was at the end of canyon.
This shining showroom contained some of the most polished and over-preserved cars I have ever seen. These cars can't have looked this beautiful on the day they were sold. Before I went in, I had to a watch a video that told us to not even put a finger on these cars. The acid in your sweat might cause corrosion. You can bet he never drives these cars!
From Gateway, the road follows the Dolores River Canyon - but unlike other canyon drives, not at the river level. No, this time the road has been cut into the canyon cliffs about halfway up. It made for beautiful views on those few moments I plucked up the courage to look away from the road!
Finally, I crossed the Uncompahgre Plateau, stopping at the tiny little town of Norwood for a coffee and a walk around to stretch my legs.
Right, off to the test out the brewery I spotted on the way in!