Saturday, May 10, 2014

On the Road to Telluride

We hung around Durango probably longer than we should have, and then headed off for Glenwood Springs via Silverton and the "million dollar highway."

The road to Silverton was amazingly beautiful, though the fact that there were no guardrails on one side, and tons of falling rock on the other, terrified Carolyn.

Oddly, we passed at least three dozen bicyclists going up the unending steep grade to Silverton. I had visited two bike shops in Durango and looked over the rides that ranged from $2,500 to $6,000. These were serious cyclists, and I remembered that high altitude training was one way folks improved their cardio for competition.

We had coffee in Silverton, but only made it a mile outside of town before we were turned back. Rock slide. Blasting.  Road closed. We would have to go all the way back to Durango. No, there had been no sign.  They are not big on signage in Colorado.

Back down the mountain we had just climbed; four hours chewed out of the day.  

We stopped at a Dairy Queen in Durango and regrouped. Carolyn called the hotel in Glenwood Springs to cancel the reservation made that morning, and I plotted a course to Telluride through Mancos and Cortez.  

On the road again, though we were rolling much faster now as we did not stop for pictures, and we had traded twisty mountain road for flatter and straighter, at least for the first two hours.

This was a very different drive, but equally impressive, with high desert set against the backdrop of snowy peaks.  

We climbed up a broad valley with the beautiful clear-running Delores River running through the bottom.  Eventually we were surrounded by the snow-covered peaks that had seemed so distant an hour and a half earlier. Truly spectacular scenery.

We went up and up, and then took a left into the box canyon where Telluride is nestled at the base of the mountains that rise steeply on three sides.  This is ski country, and Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey have places up here. It's the off season now, however -- too cold for most of the summer bicyclists and hikers, but too warm for skiing.

We quickly found an excellent little hotel, aptly named the Telluride Hotel, and walked downtown to the Steamed Bean for coffee, just as the first edge of dusk descended on the town. A very good day despite the unplanned detour.

The weatherman on TV says Denver is going to be hit with up to 10 inches of snow on Sunday. He said it was already starting somewhere in the mountains.  He was clearly hyping the storm for ratings, but just as clearly a real storm was coming. We had had a little snow in Silverton, but we may wake up tomorrow morning with a snow squall to drive through. We shall see. As always, we make plans while God laughs. Mother Nature is always the clean up batter, and I will set the alarm to start rolling early.  It may be a long day.

1 comment:

Rick said...

It's been years since I travelled these roads. Thanks for letting me see them again through your eyes.