The Grand County portion of the road could best be described as one continuous long stretch of switchbacks. The road on down to river level is quite steep, and it seems like every time you complete a switch back and drop a little in elevation, you get a completely different view of the river, and it isn't very long until both the river and the Union Pacific railroad tracks are both in view. And of course, that being the main line of the railroad, there's lots of traffic, and on this trip before we got down to the railroad tracks, we had already watched three trains making the journey along the tracks that follow right alongside the river. There are lots of places to stop along the route and, naturally, we took advantage of every stopping place.
That stretch of the Colorado River is famous for rafting and boating, and even this late in the season, we saw lots of both. It seems that the human voice carries for a great distance when it is going in an upward plane. Gosh, some of the rafts appeared to be a half mile or more away but yet standing there on a switchback, looking down upon them, it seems you could hear every word the people said!
Quite awhile before we got to the river and just about the time things leveled out and the switchbacks ended, we came to Grand County Road 14. This road turns off and goes wandering off in a downward direction that leads towards the river. The sign says there is no river access, but we wanted to check it out anyhow, and found the road eventually gets down close to the railroad tracks, follows along the tracks going upriver and eventually ends at a private property gate. I'm glad we took that route because we got to see several little patches of very beautiful golden-leafed cottonwood. If I had to make up my mind which is the most beautiful in autumn, the aspen or the cottonwood, I would be very hard pressed to make a rightful decision because they're both absolutely beautiful! We were wishing that Nathaniel was along with us because working on the railroad was a big crane, and every since Nathaniel was big enough to crawl, he has been absolutely enthusiastic about any kind of machinery; the bigger the machinery, the more enthusiastic he becomes. However, Nathaniel had other plans and wasn't on our camping trip.
After making the tour of 14 we got back on 11 and continued our journey, and we found a lot of those very beautiful cottonwood stands. It seemed the closer we got to the level of the river, the more beautiful the trees became. As we were traveling along on 11, it gradually kept getting lower in elevation, and looking ahead, we could see another road that was transversing the mountain real steep, in a direction opposite of that which we were going. When we got to the road the sign said "dead end." We decided to take it anyhow, and it proved to be a beautiful drive. Most of the road was cut along a limestone hillside, so here we had this nearly white road we were on. Looking way down below us, we could see a lot of the road we had been on. Of course, there were some of those colorful cottonwoods along this road also. The road dead-ended at private property where there was a large turnaround area and a beautiful view of the old farmhouse on the private property. I got out taking pictures, and Alberta got out looking over the country. When I got through taking pictures, Alberta was nowhere in sight. I soon found her pigging out on pinion nuts. She had found this pinion tree absolutely loaded with large cones and the cones bulging with their burden of pinion nuts. I had to threaten to drive off and leave her right there before she finally reluctantly continued the journey. Needless to say, from then on, every time I stopped to take a picture, Alberta got out to find a pinion tree.
After the side trip, we continued on 11 and were soon going through a state wildlife area and soon came to the headquarters, and we found an old log barn and log cabin to take pictures of. It wasn't long after that until we came to the tiny little town of Radium, and there we found a couple of side roads. Everywhere we looked there were the colorful cottonwoods and those bright green pinion trees.