Travel Tip , embrace a new route – #TravelTuesday

Black Canyon Gunnison,
Black Canyon and the Gunnison River from Hwy 92.

I fake it pretty well, but I am not a patient person. I like lists. I like schedules. I like keeping on track, whether it’s a meeting, a writing deadline or a trip. When things don’t go as planned, I get worried – my husband may even say that I get a little unpleasant.

So when our travel schedule got turned on its head last week, my first instinct was to pull the car over and bang on the steering wheel with my fists for a while – an extremely unproductive activity.

On Thursday morning we were bound for Delta County, an area about hour south of Grand Junction. By the time we hit Vail, around 10 a.m. we’d learned that I70 was closed west of Dotsero due to police activity.

We checked the map only to discover that the only ways around Dotsero were going to add hours of time to our trip. We made the decision to continue driving and headed up US24 towards Leadville, stopping at the Tennessee Pass Café for a delicious lunch.

We then headed to Gunnison via 285 through Buena Vista and then onto US 50 up Monarch Pass and down into the land of black cows – hundreds and hundreds of black cows and their little black babies. We’d been on these roads before, but past Gunnison and past the Blue Mesa Reservoir we turned onto Hwy 92 towards Hotchkiss, an entirely new road to us.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, Mayor of, poses above the Gunnison River at the Black Canyon.
Posing high atop the Black Canyon of Gunnison, along Hwy 92.
Looking down at a lake from high on Hwy 92 on our way to Hotchkiss, Colorado.
Looking down at a lake from high on Hwy 92 on our way to Hotchkiss, Colorado. That white fleck is a snowflake flying straight at me as I took the photo.

When we pulled up to Leroux Inn & Vineyard a little past 5 p.m., we’d been on the road for more than 8 hours. We’d driven through 16 snow storms and God only knows how many counties, but it had been a beautiful new route to Hotchkiss.

Our time in Delta County was wonderful, and I can’t wait to write about it here, but we had no idea that another unplanned excursion awaited us on our return trip.

A spring snow storm hit the Rockies on Sunday, and while we enjoyed the spectacular scenery from Paonia to Glenwood Springs over McClure Pass, stopping to photograph raging waterfalls and the scenic town of Redstone, the weather over Vail Pass was getting nasty.

Redstone, Colorado.
Redstone, Colorado. This place is just too darn cute!

By the time we reached Vail, the pass was closed. The nice State Patrolman who ushered us off the freeway informed us that he was confident that the pass would reopen in June and was very confident that it would be open by August. Very funny, I thought glumly, as we pulled into the parking lot at the Holiday Inn, along with everyone else, and tried to figure out what to do.

We watched kids going bonkers in the lobby of the hotel, before we drove the hour back to Glenwood Springs, found a hotel and then headed straight for the hot springs pool. Thankfully Hotel Colorado was running a screaming deal on rooms and thankfully Glenwood Hot Springs rents bathing suits.

at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool in 2006.
This is a 2006 photograph of me at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool.

All in all, our Delta County trip was amazing, wonderful and enlightening and I can’t wait to write about it, but our travels to and fro were crazy. I did learn, however, that when things don’t go as planned, embrace the new route. You only live once, and gazing down into the depths of the Black Canyon sure beats waiting for hours in a cloud of car exhaust on the freeway, and soaking in a hot springs pool beats waiting in a noisy hotel lobby while other peoples’ children run circles around you.

The World is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.  

–Saint Augustine


    1. Yep! Love that. And we did have a real paper map. Good thing, because much of the country we were driving through didn’t have internet access!


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