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


Road Trip

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.

Road Trip

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).

Road Trip

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.

Road Trip

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.

Road Trip

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.

Road Trip

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

Road Trip

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.