Day 22: November 22, 2016
Two Miles High

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I quite enjoyed my room at the Black Canyon Motel.

I followed this pair of trucks from just outside of Montrose to near Gunnison. The snow was light and the white landscape was very pretty in spots. The bridge is over a narrow arm of the Blue Mesa Reservoir. I was actually just a little surprised to realize that the welcome sign was the only part of Gunnison that I photographed. It struck me as an interesting place to stop when time permitted.

Snow increased with altitude and, although it never became a real problem, I found myself climbing over Monarch Summit in a 20 MPH caravan. Note the absence of guardrails in all of these photos. We'll come back to that.

I don't know that the scenery was actually better below the snow but I was able to relax and enjoy it more. That's the Arkansas River to the left.

I had a short and sweet visit with my cousin in La Junta and left with a care package of fruit, cookies, and candy. She and her husband were in an accident several months ago. Although I knew that the accident occurred between Grand Junction and their home, that didn't mean a whole lot to me before today. As they were starting down the east side of Monarch Pass, in the general area of the last photo in the previous panel, they met someone coming at them in their lane. There are two uphill lanes at that point but both were filled and a ridiculously impatient and terribly irresponsible driver decided to pass. Don pulled to the right to avoid a head on collision and he and Jane rolled about a hundred feet down the mountain side before being stopped by trees. The dodged vehicle continued on while Jane and Don were extremely lucky to escape with some broken bones and torn muscles. They showed me photos of their SUV and it looked exactly like what you probably imagine when thinking of something rolling a hundred feet down a wooded mountain side.

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