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2nd August 2003 - Road Trip - day 2 - Carbondale, Crystal River Valley, Marble, Crystal City, Sheep Mountain Mill, Lizard Lake, Aspen, Grand Junction.

After a really bad nights sleep, due to hard ground and inadequate things to make it softer, we resolved to sort that out for the next time the tent came out. So we did a tour of Wal Mart, Gart Sports, K-Mart and other to check out what was available. All the blow up mattresses were too big for the octagonal 2 man tent that we had brought with us, but in the end we found a mattress pad that would do the job fine. (We never did use the tent again on this trip – I was unwell for most of the trip with the back end of a cough and cold, and Judi was feeling a little under the weather on the trailing end of the trip.)

Then it was south on the 82 and 133 through Carbondale and following the beautiful Crystal River Valley to arrive at a small town called Marble.

Marble gets it name for the marble that is mined up a short 4x4 trail at the Yule Marble Quarry. Marble from here has been used for the Lincoln Memorial and the biggest piece mined was for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that weighed in at an unbelievable 100 tons!

The strangest sight for me was that the mined pieces were just piled up down the side of the mine and into the river and waterfall below, like they’d just been thrown down to make room.

marble quary

Back down the road there was a lot of noise coming from behind some trees. Wandering down to investigate, there were many small open tents with people drilling, sanding, carving and polishing the most amazing things out of the raw marble from the mine.

Afterwards we decided to take the five-mile 4x4 track to the ghost town of Crystal City called the Schofield Pass. After 1.5 hours of difficult terrain of large rocks, narrow roads and steep long drop-offs we reached the most photographed place in Colorado – the Sheep Mountain Mill. It was well worth the drive to see this most picturesque of places, and worth all the reversing when coming across other vehicles when going downhill to pass. Along the way Lizard Lake was also one of the prettiest scenes I’ve seen in a long time.

sheep mountain mill

After that a short couple of hundred yards up a hill and we were in Crystal City. Not really looking like a ghost town as such, some of the homes looked like they were used as vacation homes – oh well.

We went to Aspen for dinner, but I personally couldn’t wait to leave as the place had an atmosphere of pretentiousness about it. Everything was overpriced and the place just had a false atmosphere about it.

We decided to drive to Grand Junction and found a small motel to have a good nights sleep after the uncomfortable night before.