Discovering Main Street
Grand Junction, Colorado

(23rd and 24th April 2016)
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Having had to postpone a road trip to southwestern Colorado three times because of bad weather, I thought I would seize the opportunity and take advantage of the great car rental deal I got from Enterprise, drag a friend along, and go and visit his first grandchild, who lives in Grand Junction.  She was just five weeks old.  Fortunately, the weather played along (finally!) and the whole weekend was clear.

After about an hour or so on the road, the first glimpse of the mighty Rocky Mountains came with a stop on top of Wilkerson Pass where you could see the imposing snow-capped mountains in the distance.

It wouldn't be too long before we were up close and personal with the peaks around Monarch, famous for its skiing.  The road wound its way through and over these mammoths, and the views of snow-covered peaks were quite humbling.  As spring was still in its infancy, things were slowly starting to transform from the dull browns of winter to the uplifting greens of spring and summer.  Colors were beginning to emerge.  We were lucky in that the weather had finally improved and we were able to enjoy the scenery.  Also, driving along Hwy 50 is so much more relaxing than the frenetic pace one encounters on Interstate 70!  Well worth the few extra minutes.  Stress-wise, there is no comparison.
 

The terrain levelled out somewhat after the descent from Monarch and gave way to hills and farms and cattle and trees.  We drove through the quaint town of Gunnison (stop and look around if you have time) and continued on towards Montrose.  The beautiful Blue Mesa Lake is worth ogling.  I did the driving so we didn't stop for any photos, otherwise we'd have taken hours and hours to get there!

After meeting the new baby and ooohing and aaahing, I went to check into the hotel (the Hampton Inn) and take a quick look around Main Street in daylight.  I recall an earlier visit and how much art there was about this pretty city.  We didn't have plans for wine tasting or to see the national park or check out the incredible Book Cliffs, so I concentrated on Main Street.  I loved all the sculptures strategically placed along this pedestrianized street, and that's about all I took notice of.
     
   

Walking along this peaceful street was pleasant and uncrowded.  Grand Junction is a university town and I expected more life on the streets on a Saturday night.  But, it was most enjoyable to be able to see the artwork and photograph it without dodging the crowds.  The sculptures are as varied in subject matter as they are in size, from people to animals to abstracts and flowers.  Quite astonishing.
     

We walked the six or so blocks from the hotel to about 7th Street and back, up one side and down the other side.  There were a few eating places still open and a few people milling about.
     

Day-time was no less impressive, and after a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we walked the same up and down route and saw the art in a different light and new perspective.  The sky was a brilliant blue and brought life to the art scattered about so thoughtfully.  There is also a little area of busts of the people who put this pedestrian idea out there.  Thank you!  I did enjoy the store signs which were no less artistic than the next.  Main Street really is a feast for the eyes, if you're into art and/or creativity.
     
       
   

It was disappointing to find that all the stores with the exception of perhaps a few restaurants, were closed on Sunday morning.  It would have been lovely to have been able to step inside many of the stores, but sadly and probably bad for business, none were open.  I did notice that a few opened at noon, but we were done by then, as were many other people milling about.
     
   

Because this weekend was about the new baby, I didn't plan any other activities and thus concentrated on seeing Main Street for what it is.  One afternoon, one night, and one morning was all we had, and we made it count!

After a walk with the baby around her neighborhood, it was time to head back the same way we came.  I had no option other than to backtrack, and you know how much I like to go in a circle!


ACCOMMODATIONS
Hampton Inn, Main Street
The Hampton Inn is on Main Street and extremely convenient to many things, not least of which is Main Street.  It's a manageable walk to the Amtrak Station too, and pretty easy to find if you're coming into town from the south on Hwy 550.  We were warned that the hotel was undergoing renovations but I didn't hear a thing.  Our room had two comfortable beds, plenty of lamps and very luxurious bed linen.  Handy amenities included a flatscreen TV, small fridge, microwave, iron and ironing board, two desks, closet, air-conditioning and terrific toiletries.  The walls of the hotel were a little thin for my liking (I wish hotels would spend a bit more on insulating their room walls!!) but nothing I couldn't handle.

The hotel's complimentary breakfast was superb.  There was a nice choice of hot and/or cold items, including eggs, sausage patties and potatoes, oatmeal, cereals, loads of delicious fresh fruit and yogurts, breads and pastries, and a DIY waffle gadget.  Also fruit juices and coffees and teas.  Very tasty.  This hotel has off-street parking (for a fee) and is pet-friendly.  The view from our room (# 219) was gorgeous, if you looked past the courtyard below.  The surrounding mountains are spectacular.  Very helpful and friendly staff, too.  They also have a work space on the ground floor with a couple of computers and a printer should you need it.  Free Wi-Fi is available too.
Here's my TripAdvisor review.

   
   


ROUTE

  • West on Hwy 24 from Colorado Springs;
  • South on Hwy 285 to the Poncha Springs/Hwy 50 intersection;
  • West on Hwy 50 to Montrose;
  • North/West on Hwy 550 to Grand Junction.
  • There are other routes but some roads were closed because of bad weather (icy roads).

MAP


Contacts
  Contact Me

Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Motor City Branch, Colorado Springs, CO):  Once again I found a fantastic rate by looking at least a month in advance.  And, I was offered a 25% discount if I travelled before the end of April.  I jumped at this and got a rate of $10.50 a day!  With unlimited mileage.  Yes, Enterprise picked me up and brought me home!  You can't beat this service.  We travelled approximately 630 miles and spent about $30.00 on gas.  The total for the four days rental was $54.73 which included taxes (I used my own insurance.)  (I kept the car the four days but only used it for two days—cheaper than just taking it for two days!)  I got a Hyundai Accent which was really comfortable to drive, gutsy, and the best mileage we got was 51.6 mpg.  We had some high mountains to climb so I was very surprised at this good gas consumption.  (I forgot to take photos of the car!)
Web: www.enterprise.com  Tel: (719) 635-8029   Toll-free (Reservations): 1-800-261-7331   Toll-free (Customer Service): 1-800-264-6350
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/enterpriserentacar


Accommodation Contact
Hampton Inn - 205 Main Street, Grand Junction, Colorado, 81501, USA
Tel: (970) 243-3222
Fax: +1-970-254-8208
Web: http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/colorado/hampton-inn-grand-junction-downtown-historic-main-street-GJTCOHX/index.html
Free wi-fi.  Off-street parking for $6
Pet-friendly (there is a fee)
Rates
: From $97.00
Always visit websites for up-to-date rates and/or specials.
Sights and Contacts and Links

I had not done any planning for this trip as I had spent so much time working on my original trip to Ridgway, Ouray and Delta, Colorado, which I had to abandon because of icy roads.  However, it always pays to invest a little time researching what to see and do.  I had been to Grand Junction before and knew I wanted to concentrate on seeing Main Street again seeing as we didn't have much time, and I did.  I think this Main Street, and nearly every city in this country has a "Main Street", is perhaps one of my very favorites.  Not only has it been renovated to accommodate pedestrians, the art scattered around is just fabulous.

Grand Junction Visitors Bureau
Website: www.visitgrandjunction.com/

Prices quoted were right at the time, April 2016.


E-mail:  pettprojects@yahoo.com

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