Grand Junction is the largest city in Western Colorado, which isn't saying a whole lot, as this area is pretty sparsely populated. According to all knowing Wikipedia, while it is the King of the West, it's only the 15th largest city in Colorado. It seemed like the cultural capital of the various small towns that are within an hour's drive. It has an 11-story building and everything.
Everytime I come to places like this, I always wonder what people do who live here. At dinner last night there were a few couples getting drinks at the bar I was having dinner at who looked like they could be at a trendy bar in DC. Except they all appeared to be in their early 20's and married. On a sidenote, I forgot how fast meals go when I eat by myself. With no talking and only chewing and occasional sipping, I blaze through meals in record speed.
Grand Junction has a cute and small downtown with a few brewpubs and other random stores that are closed on weekend evenings. They have a really cool outdoor public art program, which was surprising for a smaller city. The downtown is like many others is the midwest with the largest buildings being banks and the new parking structure for the revitalized downtown.
When I asked people what to do here, the responses were all outdoors-related. And that makes sense, because Grand Junction is a city surrounded by absolute beauty. I drove through the Colorado National Monument Park and walked a few of the trails within. I'm a city kid. As a matter of fact I'm such a city kid that when I was in rural areas visiting family or with family of friends, I would always read the local yellow pages to convince myself that civilization wasn't that far away. "See, I can get a limo and computer repair out here!"
Though asphalt will always run through my veins, I was moved by the beauty out here. You can't help but be. It punches you in the gut with every hairpin turn that reveals another landscape that seems otherworldly.
Now I'm sitting in the Denver airport, being lucky enough to change my flight so that I don't return home at 2:30AM. I really enjoy trips like this, even though I'm alone which generally isn't my thing. The loneliness is tempered by the excitement of exploring new places and knowing that I probably won't be back here for a bit. This country is an amazing and diverse place and its nice to have weekends to appreciate that.