Sunday, July 11, 2010


It was time to move little camper in the woods. We were off to Silverton-Durango; looking forward to a hot running water shower. Since the Black Canyon of the Gunnison has to haul there water in from Montrose we didn't get the usual comfort stations where you could deposit your gray water as we have in other national parks. We used our gray water from doing dishes to put out campfires at night. Which means washing hair was out of the question. Two days of dusty hair was hidden under hats and a scrubbing was in order. As beautiful as the drive was it was also a bit stressful pulling the camper up the steep, sometimes no guard railed highway; with the swagger wagon towing ever slowly up the mountain. Only a panoramic camera would have served justice in snapping a photo of remembrance of the Switzerland of America. The vision of that drive is stored in my memory as a happy place to go when I need it. Unbelievable beauty of peace and tranquility.

When we got to Silverton, a cute little western gold mine town with a mountain top cool temperature, full of folk getting off the narrow gauge train-- we talked to a local who recommended The Bent Elbow to us for lunch. Yummy. Great home cooked meals of hearty helpings at pocket change prices. The bread pudding with whiskey sauce we shared for dessert was delectable! King Ralph took a taste and said "grandma likes her whiskey". You could almost cop a buzz off that bread pudding. Oh-my-gosh thinking about it makes me hungry for it. We were so preoccupied with the thought of showers we forgot to do the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour we intended while passing through. Oh well.

We headed down to Durango to a campground that had no Woodall's listing, no Internet site for was the only campground with Fourth of July availability between Silverton and Durango. When I made the reservation with the old broad I told her I was rolling in there on a wing and prayer. Cottonwood Camper Park needs lots of prayers. WHAT A DUMP! I admit I am a campground snob. I want all the amenities of a hotel with the beauty of nature's surrounds. King Ralph seriously sat there and said "this place is a resort--a last resort". Once we managed to maneuver around the ruts in the dirt ground of our site that resembled four-wheeling tracks we set up our home on wheels and headed to the showers. Suitable shower house...that is my only compliment, because it was then that we realized that our site backed to a dog kennel. Dogs barking 24/7 with the fresh aroma of warm Colorado dog crap in the air. I immediately took the laptop to the bathroom (b/c that was only place you could get Internet reception in the dive) and got numbers of area campgrounds hoping for a cancellation and an open, available spot. Jesus loves me because I found one and the next morning we packed up in record time. Happiness was restored.

After checking in and setting up camp at the charming campground with the Silverton-Durango Narrow Gauge running through it, we decided to rent inner tubes and float the Animas River for the day. If D could handle a bounce into a Class V rapid we figured we were game for tubes in Class II rapids. Water was like an ice bath. Once we finished the float the barefoot-dreadlocks- facial-pierced-crazy-eyed-hippie at the rafting joint told us to take the trolley back to the location of our car. We wanted to wait while King Ralph took the trolley since the girls were in their bikini's but he convinced us that the trolley stop was just "right there". Right there was not "right there". The girls traipsed some near mile down a busy road with boys howling and whistling at them, me laughing so hard I was peeing my pants only to have the trolley conductor tell us "no bikinis on the trolley". Dam that hippie and King Ralph for doing that to us. The thing about family vacations is that it forever imprints moments of great laughter on us--and this was one of those.

Once we got cleaned up we headed into the historic area of Durango for the Fourth of July parade of promoting politicians (thank you Tiffany Lee for the vote for me chapstick), listened to the band playing for the street dance and ate at a fun Mexican restaurant with great salsa and strong margaritas. We bought candy treats from a chocolate shop for dessert before finding a curb to perch upon for the firework display. Great fireworks Durango! Some of the biggest fireworks I have ever seen and several that shot all the way to Mars before blasting an umbrella of colors that engulfed the sky.
(See the American flags in the hands of M & Princess A?...the say "Made in China". What the heck is our country come to when we can't even wave our flag produced in our own country when celebrating our independence?)

Thanks Silverton & Durango for your hospitality we had a great time.

Next stop Mesa Verde.


Lin said...

I love the comments Ralph makes. He sounds like my kinda guy to travel with.

Hate those crappy campgrounds. There is NOTHING worse. I mean, you are already camping....can it get more rustic??? Yep.

Margie M. said...

Thanks for the nice comments you left on my blog...which then brought me to your wonderful posts.

OMG...did you guys drive on Hwy. 550? We heard that it was treacherous and very scary. We loved our time in Colorado in May when we were there. Didn't make it to Silverton-Durango yet, that will be on our next trip.

Safe travels to you!

JODI said...

Lin- Kevin's comments and actions is exactly what earned him the nickname "King Ralph". THe girls kept a journal of all the crazy things he said those two weeks on the road.

Margie- Yep, we drove Hwy 550. There were lots and lots of big rigs driving it too. Treacherous is a good word for the drive. As the shot gun passenger I felt stressed even driving 25mph. It, is, however, a sight worth seeing. Best scenic drive I have ever taken.

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