travel thursday: take the back roads

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I’ve missed a couple of travel Tuesday posts, but I’m back this week…two days late. Such is the life of a short-staffed retail business owner who also has a public relations business. As usual, the Fourth of July holiday weekend was crazy at our store, which is a blessing and also exhausting.

Off we go!

We were both off Saturday afternoon and evening, so we took the Jeep and hit the back roads up to the Grand Mesa. We also hit the mud, or more accurately, it hit us. With the top down, big chunks of it rained down on us. It was worth it, though, to have the big blue sky visible above us.

Even though this is a pretty remote area, we did hit a traffic jam.

None shall pass. (Moooove it on over.)

Collbran, Colorado, is a charming small town in the ranching communities known as the Plateau Valley that’s near Vega State Park and the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway. With a population of 369, it’s the largest community in the valley. I think that is the definition of a rural mountain town!

Put Collbran, Colorado, on your list of small Colorado towns to visit!

The road from there to the Grand Mesa Visitor Center is picture perfect, as you can tell by the top photo. No filters on that pic, just a cell phone shot out of the passenger seat. The Mesa was hopping with people celebrating the holiday by camping, fishing, kayaking, hiking and riding OHVs. We felt lucky to have a few hours to celebrate along with them. Walden thoroughly enjoyed himself, too!

Happy pup exploring the Grand Mesa!

If you haven’t been on the Grand Mesa, consider yourself forewarned that there are mosquitoes. A lot of them. Pack repellent and use it!

We made a quick stop at the Visitor Center. If you haven’t been there, it’s a great place to learn about the area. It also has restrooms. You can count on me to know where the restrooms are. There are a couple of ways to get back home from there; we chose the shortcut, Debeque Cutoff, where the scenery changes pretty drastically.

Debeque Cutoff road, a shortcut to reach I-70 from the Mesa.

To keep the “getting away from it all” feeling of the afternoon, we spent the night in our camper. It’s parked in the backyard, but the cute beach theme (pats self on back) helps you forget that. The original plan was to roast hot dogs over a campfire for dinner but, alas, we had no hotdogs and it was too windy for a fire.

Even though it only lasted 19 hours, this was just the break we needed. We have two more trips this month, so stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest.

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2 thoughts on “travel thursday: take the back roads

  1. Believe it or not, I have never been to Collbran! I had to look it up!

    Looks like Walden liked it. Of course, dogs are happy whenever they get to go along too.


    • Once we say, “go for a ride,” Walden doesn’t get more than 6″ away from us until we are in the vehicle, whether it’s the car, Jeep or RZR! Collbran is adorable. You might be able to work it into a Paonia trip in some roundabout way.


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