On Thursday (9/14/06), we left Rocky Mountain National Park and headed across Colorado. We stopped for a late lunch somewhere between Maybell and Elkspring, Colorado, just off to the side of the road. It was really windy and dry, so dry that by the time you had eaten half your sandwich, the bread was already dried out and crunchy like light toast! I have never in my life been in a place that dry.
It was actually a really interesting place, considering it was just a roadside stop. There were some really pretty asters,
and some other plants that were extremely prickly. One species had beautiful rose-colored papery, prickly bracts on the tiny flowers:
and another species had wicked-looking maroon sandspur-like seeds.
There were several other species present, and out of the six plant species I counted in the immediate roadside area, five were covered with spines. Not a fun place to walk barefoot! There was also a colony of small chipmunk-like rodents there, though I couldn't get a good look at them, and at least one thirteen-lined ground squirrel. The ground squirrel was noticably larger than the other critters, and very cool looking. Their backs are both striped and spotted!
Later that afternoon, we passed by Dinosaur National Monument, a very interesting looking place. The colors in the rock strata were amazing. This picture shows the distinct gray and red layers. (you may have to click to enlarge.)
The cliffs and rock formations as we got into Utah were similarly incredible. This would be a fun place to explore.
We drove through rain for most of Utah, so not too many pictures from that part of the journey. This was another long driving day, as we wanted to get into Idaho before we stopped for the night. Finally, about midnight, we got to Three Island Crossing State Park, in Glenn's Ferry, Idaho, and put up the camper. This is a very nice campground, with wonderful hot showers.
In the morning (9/15/06), we went for a little walk on the campground path to the Snake River. It was quite nice, and it felt good to stretch our legs after the long day yesterday.
The town of Glenn's Ferry was an important crossing stop on the Oregon Trail, to get across the Snake River. We didn't have to worry about that, but did see lots of ducks, coots, gulls, and a couple pelicans on the river.
It was a very pretty walk along the shady, cool riverbank. The current in the river was very fast, and the coots kept drifting down with the current, the flying back upstream and drifting down again. Not a bad way to spend a morning!
After packing up again, we headed on through the rest of Idaho and into Oregon. The eastern Oregon hills are dry, and starkly beautiful. I think I still prefer a more temperate or coastal climate, but this rolling prairie/steppe/high desert/whatever-it's-called is quite beautiful.
It only took us about four hours of driving to get from the campground (a hour south of Boise) to La Grande. A short day, and the trip is over.
We spent the rest of the day checking in at the University, getting the keys to our house, getting some dinner, and trying to shift out of travel mode. It has been a wonderful experience, and I'm glad we did it.
Thus endeth the monumental cross country trip. Thanks for sharing it with me! Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog........