country, few trees and lots of sage and sand.
We passed through a valley that raised grapes, and a winery and had peach orchards. Then into the cuts between the mountains. We followed the Colorado River all the way to Rifle. Because of all the rain it is swollen and out of it's banks with brown muddy water. We passed through Grand Junction and continued north. The scenery although different then around Montrose was still breath taking. The rock formations are interesting to watch. The rocks that are teetering and barely clinging to the mountain side makes me nervous. Rock slides are frequent.
We passed through Parachute, Colorado. I remember when that was a big boom town because of the oil shale. That eventually stopped because of the disposal of the contaminated water that came from that drilling. A boom and a bust. It's cyclic.
And finally 9 miles out of Rifle, we see a money maker. This is a rare sight here. A few months back the landscape was dotted with rigs. Now you see yards with pipe stacked out, water trucks, trailors and all the equipment associated with rigs. They are stored and not working. Rifle's expansion from 1 hotel to a new Super 8, a LaQuinta and a another big hotel can be credited to the oil boom that grew in this area. The boom is over. Six years ago when I was last here there was a small cafe called Base Camp that was the only place to eat and it closed at 7PM and the Rusty Canon hotel, the only place to get a room. By the time hubby would get in from his job, there was no place open except for the Quick Stops that sold packaged sandwiches.
Today a Subway, a Taco place, a Rib place, a Starbucks (I'm wondering how many of the locals are willing to pay 4 bucks for a cup of coffee) and others too numerous to mention have sprung up close to Interstate. What a change! For the good? I don't know. I do know that I enjoy the little mountain towns as "were"; a step back in time. It's sad to me to see them change and become so commercialized. It does offer more job opportunities to the locals so maybe it isn't a bad thing.
We are checked into our rooms although we had to wait till 3PM to check in so we took a trip to Rifle Falls.
The following picture is of the caves beside the falls. Hubby mentioned bears and I quickly headed back the way I had arrived! I saw that special on TV about the bears mauling hikers and campers. You could see the slickness at the entrance where they could have been sliding into the caves on their bellies. Maybe that isn't what caused the earth to look slick but I wasn't taking any chances. There are signs posted to beware of the bears. Call me a coward. I don't care. I know that I can't out run one and playing dead wouldn't work for me. It would interfere with all that screaming I would be doing.
As I look around here I note the differences from here to Louisiana. Many of the vehicles here are 4 wheel drives and coated in mud. Off roading is a major activity. Kayaks, canoes and camping equipment can be seen packed on top of the trucks and jeeps. Fly fisherman standing in waders, boats on the lakes and tents surrounding the lakes; it's an outdoor recreation haven here.