Our new look, and the dog days of summer – Fruita, CO

Our 5-week stay in Fruita, Colorado is winding down.  The extended stop had a two-fold purpose; to get a better feel for the area as a possible place to settle down one day (it’s on our short list), and to wait for the Fall colors to change so we can enjoy them as we continue our travels south and then east.

You see, in 2015 Steve experienced the turning of the Aspens into gold by himself while I was in the Philippines. He raved about it and promised that we would enjoy it together someday. And we’re excited that we’re starting to see the signs now!

Site #37 at James Robb State Park in Fruita
Opal Hill Trail
Betsy at site #42 as seen from the Opal Hill Trail

We took care of our medical/dental appointments during our first week here.  Steve flew to Tucson for his quarterly check-up, and was given two thumbs up by his surgeon.  He also had a dental exam to confirm that his teeth and jaws remain healthy after the radiation therapy.  Everything’s looking good so far!

I flew to Pleasanton, California to see my dentist for an urgent procedure, and visited with family for several days.  Once back in Fruita we visited our optometrist and were happy that all four of our eyeballs are healthy as well.  Whew, glad all of that is out of the way for a while!

With medical stuff out of the way we had 4 weeks to check out the area, and we think we covered it pretty well.  With the extensive hiking and driving we did, it seemed like we were busy just about every day.

Colorado National Monument
Fruita is situated in a scenic setting at the foot of Colorado National Monument.

Summer here means farmer’s markets every weekend, and we loved patronizing the local farmers while enjoying the fresh fruits and vegetables, free-range eggs and homemade quiche that we bought every Saturday.

One afternoon we strolled through historic downtown Grand Junction:

Fruita is an outdoor mecca, which meets one of our requirements for our next permanent home.  We discovered a seemingly endless array of diverse landscape while hiking in Colorado National Monument, McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area, the Bookcliffs, and Highline Lake State Park, to name a few.  And we realized that having bikes, kayaks and off-road vehicles would open up a whole new world of adventures in this area.

Some of our other requirements are having a hospital, an airport and a decent sized city nearby, and Grand Junction works for us as well.  Although we’re still a ways from settling down, you can probably tell that Fruita is high on our list!

One thing we loved about hiking here was that many trails are actually “trail systems”, not just individual trails.  We were able to easily combine several trails to get the distance and level of effort we wanted, leaving many segments for future hikes.  That means the combinations are endless and there’s so much left for us to explore.  The best part is that all of the trails are in beautiful areas that we never get tired of looking at and hiking through!

Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness

Nearby Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness forms the core of the McInnis Canyons Conservation Area.  We hiked Devils Canyon, the Fruita Paleontological Area and the Pollock-Flume Bench trails.  Plaques along the trails described geological features and details, making our hikes educational as a bonus.

Several hummers followed us, especially when Steve wore his red shirt

A short interpretative round-trip trail at Dinosaur Hill led us to a quarry where, in 1900, paleontologist Elmer Riggs and his team dug 20′ into the sandstone to remove 2/3 of a 70′ long, 30-ton Apatosaurus skeleton.  The 6 tons of bones were floated across the Colorado River and loaded onto wagons, then finally onto a train for the trip to Chicago.  The bones have been on display at the Field Museum of Natural History since 1908.

Kokopelli’s Loop trail system

This trail system is 6 miles west of Fruita and within the McInnis Canyons Conservation area.  It’s a multi-use trail, and includes premiere mountain biking trails that stretch 142 miles to Moab, Utah.  Taking several hikes here, we chose Mack’s Ridge Loop, the Steve’s Loop/Mary’s Loop combination, and Rabbit Trails #4&5.  We were surprised to encounter very few mountain bikers, but the early hour of our hikes likely helped a lot.

Colorado National Monument

Our stay here would be incomplete without re-visiting Colorado National Monument, only 2 miles from Fruita.  This is where we did all of our hiking during our 2015 stay, here is my post detailing the Rim Rock Drive and here are the hikes we took.

Colorado National Monument
Posing at one of the many pull-outs along the top of the monument
These Bighorns totally ignored us, I think we interrupted their nap

During this stay we hiked several trails that we missed last time:


Highline Lake State Park

Highline State Park is just 13 miles west of Fruita, and it was a nice change of pace when we felt like an easy trek around a quiet lake:

Yellow-headed collared Lizard
A Yellow-headed Collared Lizard posed at the right spot, how gorgeous is this guy?

As usual, hiking was the main activity during our stay.  But we also checked out the shopping and a few restaurants.  We agreed that we liked the atmosphere and got a good vibe.  Fruita is a small town that’s close enough to everything we think we might need, so only time will tell if we become “Fruitonians” 🙂

Mount Garfield
Mount Garfield, our next challenge…
One of the best sunsets we had, thanks to smoke from distant fires

So, hey, what do you think of our new look?  We want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly from our awesome followers!




  1. The new look is great! And all that hiking!!!! WOW, some pretty step ones, too. Absolutely beautiful state. But what about the snowy winters? Aside from that, this looks like a great place and you’d never get bored!!!

    • The winters are still unknown but based on our conversation with locals, the cold lasts only for a few days:) So we need to be here during the cold season, just to get that cold feeling. Thanks, glad you like our refreshed look. I had fun testing with several themes.

  2. You have been busy, indeed—hiking and exploring and creating your new blog look, which is beautiful! The detailed information you have for each hike is impressive and so helpful.
    Glad to hear that all is well (but emergency dental! bummer!). Fruita looks like a lovely potential place to settle when the time comes. Love the photo of you two in Colorado National Monument!
    Great job on your blog redo. Your photos are wonderful as always, and the new blog look reflects your playful and fun personalities while offering a wealth of information. 🙂

    • Thank you, Laurel, glad you like our new refresh look. I had fun testing all the WordPress themes. With so many trails to follow, we got crazy hiking almost every day! Our unknown in our research is still the cold winters. I guess we have to live here temporarily during the cold season. That urgent dental thing actually began in Montana 🙂 But all is good now, and Im back to smiling big again 🙂

  3. Love the new look! The colors, fonts, and designs are light, bright, and fun! Nice work! Your photos from the farmer’s market made me so jealous. The Grand Junction farmer’s market was one of the best ones we’ve ever visited. The peaches and cherries from that region are spectacular. I can absolutely see the appeal of living in that area and would not at all be surprised if that’s where you guys eventually land… there is a lot to do and it really does seem to check all the boxes.The only big downside for us was the heat, but you guys are way tougher than us!! Ha!

    • Thank you, I had fun playing and testing with several themes and am still tweaking it. Funny, we are more concern with the cold than the heat :), I guess because we are not so used to cold winters. We never made it to the GJ farmers market but the one in Fruita was a decent one and Steve got addicted to home made Quiche that he gets it every Saturday. The peaches are so sweet!

  4. The new look is terrific. Clean, and a great color scheme. I’m curious about where you camped besides James Robb State Park (as I think they have a 14-day limit)?

    • Thank you, glad you like our new refreshed look. Oh no you are right we can’t stay for more than 14 days. After our first 14 days we moved to another RV park in Grand Junction then came back to the state park after a week to take another 14 day limit.

  5. One of my favorite color combos, but I will reserve final judgement until I can view this properly on something other than this tiny phone screen! As always, though, your pictures and content are spectacular, and I get so excited when a new email notification pops up. Fruita is a lovely place, no question it would keep you happy for as long as you could want. So glad all your health news is good news and you can keep “jammin’ on down” that road!

  6. Looks great MonaLiza! I’m so happy you and Steve have enjoyed your stay in Fruita. There are tons of things to do and having Grand Junction so close is an added bonus. Love the pictures from the Farmer’s Market. We are fortunate enough to get the Olathe corn and Palisade peaches here in Moab…both soooo yummy and sweet!

    • Our stay here flew quickly by but not until we hiked as much as we want. I actually heard/seen about the Palisade peaches first in Vernal. There were already fruit stands while we were there.

  7. Terrific job with the new look! Love it! Fruita is a great area. We had so much fun during our two weeks there. We liked that Grand Junction was near by and had a lot to offer. The winters are little too chilly for us. You and Steve can do some snow shoe hiking in the higher elevations in the winter months. I’ve wanted to give it a try. John, not so much!! I guess growing up in snow bound Erie, PA was enough for a life time. Haha! It was great fun rehiking some of the places through your photos. Beautiful photos.

    • Thank you Pam, for now Fruita seemed a possibility, and yes the winters may be another story 😦 we may have to be here during winter just to check out how cold its going to be. Snow hiking? hmm not my cup of tea either, but who knows!

  8. Really great job of showing us a 5 week stay. Love that gorgeous lizard and the picture of you two. So glad Steve got such a perfect health report. How did you keep Betsy 5 weeks at a state park? They must have different rules than in the east. We only visited the Colorado National Monument although we stayed in the park 2 weeks. Clearly we missed a lot. Thanks for showing me.

    • Oh, no we did not overstay at the state park, we stayed within the 14 day limit and got out of there after our first two weeks and returned for the next 14 days. There are so much to do here and we left a few for a return visit.

  9. Great new look. We once, in our working days, thought about moving there and look forward to one day exploring the area again. Glad the CO wildfires didn’t affect your visit. From your FB posts and this post your enjoyment of the area was evident. Sorry we won’t see you in CO but hopefully somewhere south and east this winter we’ll catch up.

    • Thank you Faye, glad you like our new refresh look. I like this one too, its playful bright and simple. I hope we cross paths as you head south to Texas and we crossed highway 40 heading east.

  10. I really like the new look! Bright, airy and playful…just like you! Glad you are enjoying life (as usual). Looks like we are dropping anchor in The Foothills (Arizona) for a while. We are headed out of the PNW about October 15, plan to be there about Oct 20 or so. Drop by if you are in the area, we have plenty of room.

    • We still have one more unknown to consider, and that is how cold it gets in winter. So far we like what we see and that there is so much to do here in a small little town.

  11. Nice new look guys! We enjoyed Fruita and Grand Junction also, your pictures are wonderful. I have to second Pam’s sentiments about the winters there though. We’ve had enough of cold and snow for the rest of our lives but I suppose you haven’t yet!

    • Yes, the cold winter is still the unknown and that is taken into account, maybe we have to stay here during winter time so we can experience the cold. So far we got good vibes from the locals. Glad you like our new look.

  12. Love your new look MonaLiza! I can see why Fruita is high on your short list of places to settle down. A couple of years ago we visited Colorado National Monument but didn’t have the time to do it justice, so it stays on our travel list to return to some day. Your photos are spectacular!

  13. We stayed in Fruita for a few days in August. Nice little town. Weren’t impressed with their farmers market, though. Only three or four booths when we were there. Not much fruit or vegetables. Several places to buy boxes of peaches on street corners. Hard to beat the farmers market in Pleasanton, California.

  14. Love your refreshed blog. Curious to hear more about your Fruita journey. What other areas/towns are on your short list? We are developing one as well – it is just not so ‘short’ anymore.

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