Colorado Dreamin’ – Silverton, Durango and more.
The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles (40 km) in western Colorado and follows the route of U.S. 550 between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado. It is part of the San Juan Skyway. Between Durangoand Silverton the Skyway loosely parallels the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The road climbs up to 3 very high mountain passes. Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft /3,240 m); Molas Pass (10,970 ft /3,340 m) and Red Mountain Pass (11,018 ft /3,358 m).
The road is fine as long as you don’t drive too fast for conditions. But if you do, the consequences are severe. (Taken from Dangerousroads.org)
We started the day off in heated gear as the temps hovered around 50, but we knew that we would be doing some serious elevation changes. Our first stop was Silverton Co. We enjoyed a great breakfast and then walked around town for a little while.
Breakfast was very good at the Brown Bear Cafe. I would have linked to them, but could not find a website for them. We did some shopping before hitting the road again.
I love these little places, where you can walk up and down the street, shop at local shops and just enjoy a nice little jaunt after a good meal. The temps were perfect. It was a beautiful day. Sure beats working.
Our next stop would be around Durango. The plan was not to stop in downtown as the traffic can be very bad. We did have some miscommunication on this leg of the trip. Some of the group stopped to take pictures, others went back to look for them and before we knew it, everyone was a little discombobulated. Things like this happen from time to time. Looking back on it there were some things we could have done to avoid some of this frustration. Part of that is the old adage
“Ride your own ride”
If you want to stop, then stop. If you don’t feel comfortable stopping then don’t. We all knew the final destination.
I also look at things this way. Anytime you have a group of friends together for this long of time, something is bound to happen. Its like family. You have words, then you get over it. I would not have changed a thing about traveling with this great group of friends. It will be a trip I remember for a long time. Now back to the cool scenery.
I have never ridden this pass when there was so much snow present. I have done this pass 10-15 times on a bike and today, it was the most beautiful I have ever seen it. The blue skies, the snow on the ground and just the over all magnificence of it all. I was so glad, we were here and we were able to experience this in all of its wonder.
We stopped in Durango and we were correct. the traffic was crazy and we did not spend any time there. Bob broke off to visit a friend in Farmington NM, while Jamie and I headed to Pagosa Springs. The rest of the gang went on to Mesa Verde State Park. Jamie and I have visited the park a number of times. I will try and get some pictures from the rest of the gang to add to the blog.
We enjoyed a little snack and then decided to run up Wolf Creek pass and see how much snow was up at the Continental Divide. What a nice little ride.
We stayed at the Alpine Inn in Pagosa Springs and lets just say our stay was very disappointing. We did not have water the entire stay and what made it worse was the management NEVER even came to check on anyone. They did however take the FULL payment for the room without question. I thought we might have heard from them, when we returned home, but have not heard a word. I would not recommend the Alpine Inn in Pagosa Springs for anyone’s stay.
We did have dinner at the Coyote Moon Bar & Grill and it was a great experience.
They were dealing with the lack of water, like the Alpine Inn, but they went above and beyond to take care of us, They even left the kitchen open later than usual to take care of our group.
I would eat here again and would recommend you stop by and give it a try if in the area.
Just another day on our adventure. Tomorrow we will be heading back into New Mexico. Until then stay tuned.