One of the joys of road trips is seeing the panoply of ever-changing vistas come alive that make up our vast and wonderful nation.
On a recent trip through Colorado, we drove from the Sonoran Desert floor up onto Arizona’s Mogollon Rim with its pine trees and red rocks.
We drove across Arizona’s high plateau east on I-40 into New Mexico. Heading north out of Gallup, we drove through the huge Navajo Nation accompanied by steady rain. The view was of more desert, but the plant life consistently changed, punctuated by the volcanic necks of the Navajo volcanic field, of which towering Shiprock at the northwest corner of the state.
The vegetation and landforms changed again as we entered Colorado. South of Cortez, the vast views changed abruptly from desert-like browns and tans to the fall colors of red and yellow on numerous trees. North of that town, a turn west took us through farmlands that were barely visible due to a snow squall that brought our speeds down significantly!
Exiting the squall, periods of blue skies showed on the farmland and mountains shading Monticello, where we headed north toward Moab and its famous layered rocks and arches.
A bit further north, we turned east again toward Grand Junction, named for the two rivers that intersect there — the Gunnison and the Grand, which we now know as the Colorado River. The snow returned as we went to bed in this beautiful destination; we awoke to a heavily white-dusted canvas outside our window.
When it was time to return home, we left as the storm that brought rain and snow was passing and spent much of the drive under mostly sunny skies. With better visibility, the differences in the land were even more distinct. We marveled at the many changes on this four-state excursion, reminding us of similar changes in cross-country trips that have taken us from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the Great Lakes to the swamps of Louisiana, the cliffs of Big Sur to the Southernmost point of the country in Key West.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Appreciate the differences!
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