Never been to Grand Junction, Colorado so all the more reason to add it to my travel plan! Isn’t that what travel is all about? Mix in favorite locations with new ones and your adventure continues! Thanks to conversations with two couples I met on the Riverfront Bicycling Trail, I learned about this area. I met them at different locations so I counted those moments as breathers on my bicycle ride.
This day was my non-driving day; I have them every so often to offset long driving days. So I bicycled the Riverfront Trail from my campground on the eastern side of Grand Junction to Fruita, a mountain biking town I always heard about, on the western side of Grand Junction. The bicycle path parallels the Colorado River. On one side, the path passes parks, a wildlife refuge, a disc golf area, a golf course, red rocks in the distant hills, and of course the river with some floating rafters. There are plenty of benches to sit and contemplate the world. On the other side, the path has an industrial look with businesses and future real estate being developed. One area had Airstreams as Air BNB’s. I also bird-watched as I cycled along.
I spoke with a “walking-on-the-trail” couple who grew up in Grand Junction, stayed 54 years. I walked with them while we talked. She is planting trees and supporting work for 9 more miles of bicycle trail. He is a city government employee. We talked about the new housing/condos to be built within the next 3 years on what I previously referred to as industrial. He agreed with my assessment of Grand Junction to become a road bicycling magnet and Fruita a mountain biking magnet. He said the snow plow was out only 6 times this past winter, it does stay cold, and they have many days of sunny, blue skies. This is high desert, 4500 feet elevation, and not as touristy and expensive as places like Glenwood Springs. Some inversions in winter, but 245 days of sunshine making it the sunniest city in Colorado. We talked about the homeless people; they are here as in many places I visited. There is a long way between this western city and any other place so I am not sure where homeless go in the winter.
Another “bike-riders-on-the-trail” couple were really fascinating. They are local realtors and been here for 20 years. He made a funny comment, not believing he would stay in what he thought was an ugly place. But he eventually found the downhill skiing and especially the cross-country skiing on the huge mesa here good. Plus the road & mountain bicycling opportunities and time on the Colorado River a surprise. We talked about housing. He pointed to the million dollar house locations, close to the foothills of the national monument; however; there is housing at all price tags. As in any town, finding what works is the challenge. Another interesting point was use of the local Walker airport. They go through TSA checks, onto the airplane quickly to fly to a hub. They catch their next plane with ease compared to going to the big city. Interesting!
In the closing miles of my bicycle ride, I stopped at a mountain biking course where young riders were competing. Wonderful seeing young people outdoors and active. At another location, I watched a quarterhorse competition. Many horse ranches are on this side of town. Tomorrow, I continue exploring.