2020-09-13-Back to Travel-Collette tour of the West · Key Blogs

Back to Travel – Across the Rockies

Loading our luggage for day one

After a long night sleep, our group of road warriors loaded up the luxurious motor coach for a westward discovery trip across the jagged Rocky Mountains and the continental divide to Grand Junction. Our amazing #GoCollette tour director Wendy provided historically relevant commentary to enrich our trip.

Our route today

Climbing out of the plains, we climbed above 10’000 feet through mining towns and lakes, aspens and majestic valleys to the Hoity Toity ski town of Vail. Our leisurely program allowed for two hours of exploration of the pedestrian only town center or a peaceful fresh air lunch (or both). From the smiles upon return everybody in the group had a blast!

Vail town center

The rest of our afternoon consisted of spectacular scenic beauty along the westwardly flowing Colorado River whom had carved a valley of sheer beauty over the millennia. My only wish would have been a panoramic roof feature on our motor coach to afford views of the sights all around.

Once out of the twisting canyon, the river opened up into a wide plateau of the Grand Junction area where we not only spent the night but also enjoyed a fab winemakers’ dinner under open sky.

Varaison vineyards was our host tonight

Our host was Jim, a UC Davis educated winemaker with two years of experience learning winemaking in the Sancerre region of France. He then settled in the Palisades area of the valley and opened his winery in 2004. Wine has been produced in this valley since 1871 but Colorado’s active role in the prohibition movement meant grapes were replaced with fruit trees till the late 1970s. Now about 120 wineries are operating in this region. This be ue was the perfect social barrier breaker for the group with a great tasting and home cooked dinner. On to more adventures tomorrow.

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