|We decided to travel the more scenic Route 128 east along the Colorado River today rather than take Route 191. It took us just under two hours to reach I-70 traveling this way but it was well worth it. The entire length of the highway has been designated the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway, as part of the Utah Scenic Byways program. The highway follows the southern bank of the Colorado River through a narrow, steep gorge, described as spectacular by National Geographic. The sheer sandstone walls of the gorge along Route 128 are beautiful. As parts of the road are very narrow, with blind corners and no shoulders, the Utah Department of Transportation has prohibited trucks and vehicles over 55,000 pounds from the entire highway. The gorge widened where the highway passes by Castle Valley and Professor Valley, which have been the shooting locations for many western films (including Wagon Master and Rio Grande) and television commercials.
The highway was originally constructed to connect rural cities in eastern Utah with Grand Junction, Colorado, the largest city in the region. Part of the highway was merged into the Utah state highway system in 1931; the rest was taken over by the state and assigned route number 128 in 1933. Today, the highway is used as a scenic drive for visitors to the area. The highway crosses the Colorado River at the site of the Dewey Bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in Utah until April 2008 when it was destroyed by a fire started by a child playing with matches. After the bridge, the road follows the northern bank of the river for a few miles then exits the Colorado River gorge. At this point the highway proceeds across desert towards the Book Cliffs to terminate at Interstate 70.
We entered I-70 heading east, crossed the Colorado state line & made our way through a congested area of Grand Junction until we located Hwy 50. We'd originally planned to stop for a bit but it was never convenient to stop. So, we continued on. Unfortunately Hwy 50 had road construction going on today & was down to a single lane much of the way making travel very slow. We'd planned to stop for lunch but never passed a rest stop or an adequate pullout so we continued on. We passed through the cute little town of Delta but by then we were like a horse running for water! Harold & Jeanette had recommended Amelia's Mexican restaurant so our plan was to have dinner there this evening. Since we skipped lunch, we considered just stopping as we entered the town of Montrose, but eventually decided to go to the Rv Park first & set up the essentials. Centennial Rv Park is about 10 miles south of town, a Passport America park that honors the discount for three nights. A very nice, spacious park with great views! We decided to go ahead and stay the three nights as there appears to be numerous areas to visit. In fact, three days won't be near long enough but they'll have to do for now.
After putting out the slides & hooking up the utilities we headed back to town for dinner and a bit of shopping. We weren't disappointed with Amelia's, I had the shrimp/spinach enchiladas and they were terrific! Larry enjoyed his meal as well. Afterward we picked up a few needed items & fueled the truck. We're heading out early in the morning, destination Ouray & then down the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton. We hear it's an awesome drive! So, we'll see you there....