Forum Friends Ride the Rockies (2 of 2)


A stop just south of Ouray. (I have some video of this stretch, stay tuned…)

A stop to see the old mines

Lots of mines close together

The Silverton & Durango railroad terminates here in Silverton. Todd wanted to find something to celebrate their 15th anniversary, so we spent some time wandering the shops.

While wandering a jewelry store, the owner came in just chortling about playing a trick on the shop owner next door. Boy, he really had her going! He’d made a pair of earrings with cheap colored paperclips yesterday and she said no one would buy those. Now he told her he had a customer who wanted some but they had to be green, but he only had one, and did she have a green paperclip? After a disgruntled chase she found one for him. So he whipped up these earrings and enrolled me in wandering over there to tell her how excited I was to find green ones, and on a Thursday at that! Such fun to play into his simple amusement!

Shady characters

Here comes the train!

Then back on the road and down to Durango. Here we had awesome hot dogs for lunch

Todd and I started north around the San Juan Parkway, but saw almost none of it. It rained for the next 4 hours. I’d ridden in rain once before, in CA where such things happen. Luckily Todd mentioned to stay out of the ruts to avoid hydroplaning. After the first couple hours, my visor was so fogged, that was about all I could see – lines and varying shades of gray for water depth. Or blood red where the mud washed over or down the road.

It took us several small towns to find anyplace to stay at all, and by Naturita I was soaked and shaking. Mom & Pop met us in the motel lobby. Pop asked what I’d do if he had no rooms? Continue on. Sometimes the only way out is through. But he was clearly just foolin’. So we pulled in next to the road construction workers and holed up for the night. It was simple, dated, and clean, with a heater and hot water. Enoughness.


By morning the rain clouds had lifted, although some still draped lingeringly around the cliffs, like lover’s arms.

Todd asked for recommendations at the gas station and we backtracked a little to the Gateway Canyon Resort for breakfast. Condos, golf, car museum, restaurants, desert landscaping, and helicopter tours… it seemed so out of place after all the not-quite-towns we’d come through.

Great conversation about the cultural differences on and off the rez, and how people make their choices based on the past or the future.

In Grand Junction Todd topped off his oil (watching him boogie in the aisle at Auto Zone was worth the whole trip!) and we caught I-70 back to Frisco to regroup and assess the weather.

Nice enough here.

But looking north…

OK, scrap plans to head up the back side of the mountains and across the north part of the state. Time to just beat it to Denver, where Todd would stay with his sister, and I’d head on up I-25 to home.

Overall trip, 1248 miles and at least as many smiles!

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