Ridgway, CO - Sun City West, AZ
After two full days of skiing in Telluride, CO, it was time to head south to Arizona for warmer weather and fresh oranges. We departed Ridgeway, CO around 10:00 A.M. and drove 512 miles south and arrived in Sun City West around 8:00 P.M.
The drive south was absolutely beautiful, especially the beginning portion as we swerved our way around the San Juan Mountains. Reese and Harper provided the musical entertainment as they watched Frozen II for the thousandth time. Rebecca and I have been visiting Ridgway and Telluride for many years, but we had never gotten to experience the beauty that lies all around US-160. We were surrounded by incredible snow capped mountains and clear blue skies. It looked like we were driving through a postcard. At times, we felt like the only people around for miles and miles.
That beauty quickly disappeared as we made it down the hill and into the towns of Delores and Cortez. I’d like to thank Delores for the semi-clean gas station restroom and Cortez for the subpar Wendy’s cheeseburger. I can’t remember the last time we at fast food that wasn’t Chic-fil-a and the Cortez Wendy’s was an excellent reminder of why we don’t!
As we blew through Cortez my excitement began to climb as we neared Four Corners Monument. Oh, how I longed to be touching four states at the same time…not really, but I did want to go. My excitement was crushed as we drove up to the gate only to find out that the monument was closed due to the Corona virus. The sign read that all Navajo Tribal Parks are closed until further notice. My first thought was our planned trip to Monument Valley a few short days away. I didn’t spend much time dwelling on that because we still had 365 miles to go. Back in the car.
Northeastern Arizona is a desolate place that makes you feel like you were transported back in time. It is Navajo country after all. Although, I didn’t see any Indians riding horses and shooting their bow and arrows. Bummer. The red rock formations reminded me of Garden of the Gods and Roxborough State Park. The only difference is that the rocks in Arizona went on for about 200 miles.
We made it to Flagstaff, AZ around 5:00 P.M. Rebecca and I were so excited to have our signature two pump Hazelnut Latte’s at Starbucks. 300 miles is a long way to go without coffee! With some caffein back in our veins, we were ready to finish up the last leg of our drive.
The elevation at Flagstaff is about 7,000 feet. Driving down the mountain feels like it takes forever. It’s a gradual decent and there are elevation signs next to the road for every 1,000 feet of elevation. The whole descent is very pretty, but it gets really great at 3,000 feet because that’s when the cacti come out. Everything was so green which was a welcomed change since the landscape in Colorado is brown from November to April.
Around 8:00 P.M., we finally arrived at the GM’s house in Sun City West, AZ. We were greeted in the driveway with some hellos and hugs. We stepped inside and Norma had a delicious pot roast dinner waiting for us.
Sun City, AZ - Aurora, CO
We departed Arizona on St. Patricks Day around 5:30 A.M. After a couple of venti’s at Starbucks, I took us north to Flagstaff and back thru Navajo Country. Roughly 320 miles later we turned left on US-191 into Utah. While cruising down the two lane road, I noticed a small sign on the side of the road that read ‘Monument Valley 22 miles’. I looked South outside of my window and down the red dirt road that went on as far as my eye could see. I couldn’t help but feel disappointment because I would not be checking it off my bucket list. Oh well, Monument Valley isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The Utah landscape was beautiful. There were valleys and canyons like Arizona with a mix of snow-capped mountains. We lost cell phone reception, our car had a half a tank of gas, and I must admit that I felt quite uneasy about the situation. The next town was 70 miles away and we only had 200 miles of fuel! We got through two tiny little towns (without running out of gas) before arriving in Moab. Moab is on my bucket list too, but that will have to sit on the shelf with Monument Valley because we had to get home.
Rebecca took the controls in Moab and took us 312 miles East on I-70 to Georgetown, CO. In case you were wondering, we did fuel up our bodies in Grand Junction with a nitro cold brew and a two pump hazelnut latte. I finished the last leg of the trip from Georgetown to Aurora. We rolled into the garage around 8:00 P.M. after grabbing a to go pizza on our way home.