If you come to America, you bring a Sat Nav (or GPS as the Americans say) with you – it’s as simple as that. We would certainly be lost without it, but you can also be lost with it, like this morning. We were heading to the Colorado National Monument to do some hiking and we followed the Sat Nav as usual. We soon began to realise that we were heading downtown but decided to let the Sat Nav do its work – surely it knew the way better than us. Before long, we were sat outside the Colorado National Bank in downtown Grand Junction. Yes, you’ve guessed it – we had set the wrong destination on the Sat Nav: a mere slip of the finger.
So we reprogrammed the Sat Nav and off we went. Once past the entrance to the National Monument, we were driving along a narrow road, high up above the sheer-walled canyon: an eye-watering and knee-trembling experience. Although we had arrived and even stopped at the visitor centre, the Sat Nav kept insisting that we were still another mile or two from our destination, so we followed it out of sheer curiosity. Higher and higher we went until, a few minutes later, the Sat Nav said “left turn ahead”. Around a bend, where the left turn should have been, was nothing but a precipice and hundreds of feet of canyon wall and certain death below had we been stupid enough to follow it. This time, TomTom was the culprit.
So we have spent the day hiking around the Colorado National Monument trails.
The above photo is of Independence Rock. We were told that, every Independence Day, an American flag is placed on the top to celebrate the anniversary of America’s independence.
It’s also been a day of meeting interesting people. Firstly, we met Jimmy and June – from the north-east of England – and we decided to walk together, as we were going in the same direction. They told us about their love of the States and we exchanged stories of our travels for the next couple of hours. Jimmy was scared of heights and I had to wonder whether he had chosen the wrong holiday – he wouldn’t let us stand too close to the edge for photos. Here’s one that June took:
On the way back into town we encountered mountain sheep, which were blocking the road and in no hurry to let us through.
In our last blog entry, we said we had met Dave and Katherine in wine country. Well, today we had arranged to meet up for drinks this evening in Palisade. We have said many times in our blog entries how much it means to us to meet new people on our travels and it has been our pleasure to meet, yet again, two wonderful people who, for us, epitomise the best of America. We spent a lovely evening getting to know each other and talking about travel, family, politics and life in general and we promised to keep in touch.
While we were talking over drinks, a lady approached our table and to our amazement it was the person we spoke to briefly in the cable car (gondola) in Telluride only days ago. What are the odds of her and her husband being in this bar in Palisade on this day and at this time? It was like seeing old friends again and we chatted for a while before exchanging contact details with a promise of keeping in touch.
Today, we also met a couple from the Netherlands, who were on a three month road trip across America and we heard a familiar story, much like our own, of how the American wilderness and the wide, open spaces of this continent are an inspiration and a delight, especially when you come from small countries like ours.
It was been an inspirational day, not only because of the places we have been but, most of all, due to the people we have met along the way. We were reminded again of the friends we have met before, and have kept in touch with over the years, in Sarasota and in Seattle and friends we made in Canada who were also from the UK.
This is the real reason we travel in the USA – in an uncertain world, it’s good to know that we are all basically the same – good people with the best intentions in life and a desire to get along. This may have been the best day of our entire trip.
Tomorrow is the last full day of our holiday and we are heading back towards Denver and the journey home.