First Visit to Colorado
Our first stop in Colorado was in Durango and that stop turned out to be a lot of fun. On our first full day there we explored the historic downtown area which still has that old western look to it. We spent the following day taking a planned train ride aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to Silverton and back. Silverton was (and still looks like) an old mining town while Durango was the place that all the ore was brought to by train. The train ride took 3 ½ hours each way but we rode in a car that had live narration during the entire trip by people who portrayed real life characters from the era when the train was in its heyday and entertained us with some great stories. We were able to spend a couple of hours in Silverton where we did a bit of shopping and had a great home cooked meal at the Shady Lady, an authentic real life bar and restaurant that used to also entertain men in the rooms upstairs. The train ride itself had some great views and at times some scary ones as we rode along the edge of cliff faces. It was definitely worth the price of the tickets. It was a long day so Stella enjoyed a bit of pampering from one of the work campers at our campground although we understand that she didn’t want to stray very far from the RV. I guess she worried that if we came back and she wasn’t there we’d leave her behind. The following day we started off with an all you can eat country breakfast served at the campground. That afternoon we headed back into Durango for dinner and a show. For dinner we chose the Diamond Belle, an authentic saloon located in the Strater Hotel built in 1887 and preserved to look as it did back then. We both enjoyed a couple of homemade chicken pies while listening to some live ragtime piano music. After dinner we strolled around a bit before arriving at our table in the Strater Theatre where we ordered drinks before our show. The show was titled “Guitar Strings, a Cowboy & a Lost Peacock”. This was a somewhat hokey skit that involved time travel between a 1915 cowboy and a 2015 guitar player who bump into each other right here at the Strater Hotel. It included a bit of music, poetry and comedy intermingled with a bit of local history. Like I said, hokey but still a great night out and we did enjoy the show. On our final day in Durango we took a ride out to Mesa Verde National Park where we saw just enough of it to know that we’ll be coming back. We did get to visit one of the many pueblo ruins that exist there but the park just had too much to see in one day. Before heading out of Durango and after reviewing our mountain guide we discovered that our planned route to Glenwood Springs would take us north up route 550 which we learned had switchbacks, cliffs with no guard rails and steep grades exceeding 8%. Everyone who has driven that route told us the same thing… Don’t’ do it!! We listened of course so we headed all the way back through Moab to get back on the interstate. It was a longer drive but a lot less stressful and from what we’ve heard since then, route 550 may not have even been possible considering the length of our motor home. We weren’t crazy about the campground we stayed at in Glenwood Springs but made the most of our time there by getting some chores taken care of and some errands done. We did end our visit there on a high note by taking an excellent raft trip down the Colorado River. The river was running high and fast and gave us quite the ride. The rapids we rode were rated as class 2 and 3. We were both apprehensive but enjoyed the ride even more than we hoped and are now ready to try some class 4’s. We hit the road for our next stop in Colorado Springs and although we took the interstate most of the way, it was quite the ride. We crossed the Rocky Mountains, over the continental divide and through the Eisenhower Tunnel. The highest elevation we reached was 11,088 feet. The grades were tough and at times we were traveling at 20 miles per hour as we climbed. It was nice to arrive at our campsite knowing that the toughest part of our trip was over . We enjoyed our final Colorado stop in Colorado Springs as much as possible even though we experienced a lot of rain and thunderstorms while we were there. We did get to explore Garden of the Gods a couple of times and found it to be beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, we never made it to Pikes Peak. That visit will have to wait until another trip. We knew we weren’t going to be able to see a whole lot of Colorado this year but we saw enough of it to know that we’ll definitely be back. It really is a beautiful part of our country.
Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.