Road Trip Day 24 - Colorado: Aspen and Mike the Headless Chicken

Checked out of the Rodeway Inn in Colorado Springs about 8am. While I was originally planning to take US-50 through Canon City, Gunnison, and Montrose to Grand Junction, I changed my mind and am going to Glenwood Springs via Aspen. Again, I am glad to have my GPS unit as it helps me navigate out of Colorado Springs on US-24. I stop for gas in Woodland Park, Colorado, which has sort of a Lake Tahoe feel to it (sans lake).

The scenery is nice. After about three hours on the road (US-24) I branch onto CO-82, it is quite narrow and steep in places and really not the type of road that I enjoy (your mileage may vary). Eventually I reached the summit at Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. I was happy to have a parking lot to stop at and a trail to stretch my legs. There was really a fairly big crowd of people (about 20 or so) stopped there. Somebody helped me take the obligatory Continental Divide photo so I could have symmetry with my one taken three weeks ago in New Mexico.

It took about 45 minutes to drive the 20 miles from Independence Pass to Aspen and I arrived about 12:30. Aspen is a pretty and clean town, but there did not seem to be much happening. I walked around - there are nice houses and bike trail / walking areas. I did not go into any of the fancy boutiques or galleries. Hardly anybody seemed to be around except for gardeners, painters, and maintenance people - I guess all the action is in the winter. I had a difficult time finding a restaurant which was open for lunch and ended up at Tasters, a sandwich and pizza place (my Italian Sandwich was quite good).

I headed out of town on CO-82 northwest towards Glenwood Springs at about 2:30pm. I missed the turn-off to Woody Creek. I subsequently felt guilty about not paying homage to Hunter S. Thompson at the Woody Creek Tavern. After a bit more than an hour, I reached Glenwood Springs, and got on I-70 going west. I stopped at a rest area in Rifle, Colorado for a soft drink and a quick nap.

At about 6:30pm, I arrived in Fruita, Colorado (just west of Grand Junction), in search of "Mike the Headless Chicken". Actually, I had put "Mike the Headless Chicken" in my GPS about a month earlier, and had forgotten exactly what he was. After my GPS indicated that I had passed him, I parked the car and walked around until I found him.

Actually, the "Mike" here, is a metal sculpture dedicated to the memory of a rooster who lived in Fruita (in the 1940's) without his head for 18 months. It is an inspiring story of a simple Western Colorado chicken, who through a twist of fate survives his beheading and becomes famous and traveled throughout the United States as an entertainer. Unfortunately, Mike met his demise in March of 1947 in a motel room in Phoenix, Arizona. The city of Fruita, Colorado has an annual festival to celebrate the life and spirit of Mike the Headless Chicken.

I would encourage you to Google "Mike the Headless Chicken", or click here.

Just across the overpass over I-70 is the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial. This interesting tribute is open 24 hours, 365 days, has a 'Huey' helicopter, and Rolling Stone Music.

Crossed the border into Utah about 7pm. A Filipina and her American boyfriend from Los Angeles also were there taking a photo.

Arrived in Green River, Utah about 8pm. Went to several hotels, they were either full or price gouging. Finally, I checked into a room at Ramada Inn Limited ($84 including tax) - the most expensive room on my road trip (and certainly not the nicest). I could not maintain a Wi-Fi connection from my room, so I sat in the lobby doing email for about an hour.

Avoid Green River, Colorado if you are looking for a bargain motel room.