4/18 to 4/26
I was SO looking forward to Colorado’s landscapes. But I got sick. Just enough to knock me out for a bit so we stopped at Navajo Lake State Park in northwestern New Mexico for a 3 day laundry (by hand—zero laundromats close!), work and convalescence period. Tight, awkward campground, but pretty views.
Then we crossed into one of the prettiest states we’d seen so far. Ahhh. And it was mah BIRFDAY while we were there. We stayed just outside Durango, CO at Alpen Rose RV Park. They had JUST opened for the season and the staff was busy getting everything cleaned up post-winter. Not the cheapest campground, but lovely views, kind staff, crazy-clean laundry, free coffee and popcorn and close to one of my favorite towns so far. Good enough for me!
My birthday wish was to take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, an 1881 railway/train constructed to carry silver and gold ore from the San Juan Mountains (but that has mostly been used for passengers to enjoy the view). The coal-fired steam locomotive was stunning and the historic passenger cars were so fun! The full trip to Silverton wasn’t available yet as it was still too early in the season. So, we took the trip to Cascade Canyon and had a picnic riverside before heading back. It was a gorgeous ride on a crisp spring day and made me realize why so many people love this state.
We thought it would be fun to make the drive to Ouray. Have you ever driven on the edge of a cliff in an Army-tank sized truck with zero shoulder or room for error and no guardrails and certain death just to your right? Yeah. It was that. My anxiety was on overload and we ended up turning around before we made it. We DID, however, go in to Silverton, the town that hadn’t opened yet. It was an almost ghost town, eerie and fascinating. Out of 20 or so cafes/restaurants, only 2 were open. We had lunch at the Pickle Barrel and the owner was our server. It was very cool talking to him about this town that’s completely cut off from civilization when the heaviest snows come (the roads have gates that close it off!) and how the town re-populates once the train starts running all the way to Silverton again.
We were also lucky enough to get some wonderful neighbors at the RV Park. Paul and Nancy (@oursomedayisnow) and their 2 corgis Jake and Maci (who the boys adore) parked next door and we had a wonderful time hanging out with them. Nancy and I even got a wee little girl’s time in town. Much needed. We’ve met some really wonderful human beings on this trip. Of course, I have no pictures. But it happened, I swear.