Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday photo challenge……no words are necessary….. ūüôāRidgway ColoradoRidgway ColoradoRidgway State ParkBridal Veil Falls

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography

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Over too fast!

Our time near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, was over before we knew it and unfortunately obligations had us moving on.  We could have easily stayed another week or two….. or even three and been quite content.  My view every evening……ahhhh!sunset in Colorado

Alas, we needed to return to Grand Junction for some appointments.  Let’s check out our new antenna flying proud as we mosey on down the road.  Although we don’t need to raise and lower this new antenna, it is a good idea to have the pointy end of the boomerang design pointed forward for aerodynamic reasons.RV travel in Colorado

With all the fixes on the RV complete, we scheduled some normal maintenance in Grand Junction for the F-250, the Tacoma, and hubby.  In early April when Al initially contacted the VA for his yearly physical, he was told they couldn’t get him in until September and then low and behold an end of May opening became available.  I’m sure this whole VA investigation stuff had something to do with the timely opening.

Regardless, Al is in tip top shape.  The trucks are in tip top shape.  The RV is hopefully in tip top shape and we’re antsy to embrace our summer travels.  Fingers crossed all the mishaps are behind us because I’d like to go back to feeling excited on moving day instead of feeling fear or dread….. “Will Murphy get us today?”RV cartoonThat said and appointments behind us, we find ourselves back in one of our favorite spots; Ridgway State Park.  The San Juan Mountains are still covered in a deep layer of snow making for a beautiful sight.Ridgway State ParkWe have some hiking planned and social get togethers scheduled.  Should be a fun week….Ridgway State Park

Silver By theTon

AspenWith all the hiking hubby and I have been doing¬†around the Ridgway, Colorado area lately, Al and I opt to give our feet a much needed break. We plan on hopping in the little red truck in search of some Colorado gold‚Ķ.gold as in leaves…..those beautiful Aspen leaves.

The feel of fall¬†is in the air.¬† The nights are cooler and we’re waking up to temps inside the RV in the low 50’s.¬† With cooler temps and frequent rains, we’re¬†thinking the trees in the high country¬†might start showing signs of fall.

Last night rained bucket loads making for a restless night‚Äôs sleep. When one lives in a tin can, a well appointed can I might add, there‚Äôs always a hint of concern in the rear of one‚Äôs mind. Will we wake up with a puddle in the middle of our RV? Will the RV be submerged in water, mud, or rather a nasty combination of the two? Oh, and then there‚Äôs that oh so lovely mountain lightning. Will our metal¬†RV attract one of those magnificent bolts?¬† Yikes, and let’s not begin to talk about wind.

As I compose this post, I am sitting in Grand Junction, Colorado. It’s a beautiful day; temps in the 70’s, blue skies scattered with big, white cumulous clouds. The destructive Colorado flooding that occurred a little over a week ago seems like a bad dream. Although we encountered our fair share of torrential rain in Ridgway, it in no way caused the devastation that the Front Range endured.Million Dollar Highway

FYI‚Ķ.a little Colorado lingo; The state of Colorado is divided in half by the Rocky Mountains. The area east of the continental divide is referred to as¬†the Front Range. So if you reside in a city or town east of the divide like Denver, Colorado Springs, or Fort Collins, then it is said ‚Äúyou live on the Front Range‚ÄĚ. Cities or towns located west of the continental divide like Vail, Durango, or Grand Junction are located on the western slope.¬† So these folks are said to¬†“live on the western slope”.

Ok back to searching for Colorado gold…… With the onslaught of cold and rain on the western slope, Al and I are wondering if the leaves have started turning in the high country. Our time at Ridgway State Park is coming to an end and we have one more area we want to explore before moving on.

Silverton

Silverton, Colorado – loaded with history

Silver by the ton ‚Äď Silverton, Colorado. Prospectors first started showing up to the San Juan Mountain range in 1860 in search of wealth. Deposits of gold and silver were soon discovered. In 1874, Silverton‚Äôs town site was laid out and it became the center of numerous mining camps.

Silverton

Silverton, Colorado….only the main road going through town is paved. This popular side road has quaint shops awaiting shopping tourists. Feels a little like the old west!

The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad rolled in to Silverton from Durango in 1882.  A year later, Silverton boasted of having a population of 2,000 people with 400 buildings; 2 banks, 5 laundries, 29 saloons, several hotels and a bawdy red light district known as Notorious Blair Street. Although mining in Silverton closed down in the early 1990’s, it is said there is still gold and silver in those mountains.

Engineer Pass

Alpine Loop – Engineer Pass….one of many 4×4 roads taking you into the high country

It appears tourism has replaced mining. All the old mining roads are perfect for Jeeping, ATVing, and OHVing. High in the mountains via some of the best four-wheel drive roads in the country, are ghost towns, remnants of old mines, and some of the most spectacular scenery just waiting to be explored.

highway 550

Highway 550, approaching Ouray, Colorado on a rainy morning

Ouray

Ouray, Colorado

Million Dollar HighwayOur 35 mile journey from Ridgway State Park to Silverton¬†requires us to travel the Million Dollar Highway.¬† Our last time traveling this part of Highway 550 was over seven years ago.¬†¬†We’d like to refresh our memories and determine¬†if it’s the white knuckle drive we thought it was all those years ago.¬† The Million Dollar Highway is a challenging and potentially hazardous drive; steep cliffs, narrow lanes, lack of guardrails, and hairpin curves¬†necessary to gain in elevation.¬† Although trucks and RV’s do travel this route regularly, alternate routes are recommended.

So where did the tag “Million Dollar Highway” come from?¬† The origin¬†is disputed.¬† Some say it cost a million dollars a mile to build in the 1920’s and others say it’s the fill dirt that contains¬†a million dollars in gold ore.¬† I say, “It’s the million dollar views”.¬† Although on this rainy, overcast day the views aren’t nearly as spectacular as I know they can be.¬† And yes, the knuckles did turn white with an on coming semi…..and me in the outer lane.¬† This road is literally carved into the side of the mountains.

million dollar highway

Million Dollar Highway….rain on my windshield

Highway 550

million dollar highway

There’s some great hiking in the area and Al and I make notes of various trail heads¬†that we pass along our way to Silverton.¬† If Al and I continue working on our hiking endurance, we should be ready next summer to tackle some of these trails and maybe even accomplish a fourteener (mountain 14,000 feet in elevation).

Narrow Gauge Rail

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

We arrived in Silverton just as the trains whistle was blowing, alerting it’s arrival.¬† The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a historic, coal-fired, steam-powered train that makes daily trips through the remote and very scenic mountains between Durango and Silverton.¬† This is a popular excursion with tourists from around the world.

SilvertonAl and I grab a bite to eat at one of the small restaurants and find ourselves duly entertained by a waitress frustrated with some European customers.  As the waitress walks past us, the roll of her eyes and shaking of the head is evidence the language barrier is more than this young, mountain gal has patience for.  Another one of her customers is complaining about the ice their Pepsi.   Yes, we Americans sure do like our ice.

After lunch Al and I walk around town. The overcast sky and rain have stuck around all day, which is rather unusual for Colorado standards.  Weather around here has a tendency to move in and out and can change rapidly.  Al and I were hoping the weather front would have moved out by the time we drove back to Ridgway, allowing for some scenic mountain views.  No luck today.

Silverton

The little town of Silverton has numerous churches.  After an evening on Notorious Blair Street Рthe red light district Рjust might call for a little forgiveness.

Although the weather wasn’t the greatest, we made the best of the day and we’re already looking forward to the hiking and four-wheeling next summer.¬† Oh, and as for that Colorado gold…..¬†¬†¬†¬† September 12th, it was just starting to show up at the higher elevations.¬† A little touch of gold here and there.

Aspen leaves

The leaves are just beginning to turn 9/12/13

Silverton

Silverton, Colorado

Feeling Great!

Al turns onto my brother‚Äôs circular driveway with ease and plenty of room to spare.¬† Within minutes we‚Äôre plugged in and have the RV set up.¬† It‚Äôs lunch time.¬† While I whip us up a couple of sandwiches, Al raises the blinds and opens some windows.¬† He comments, ‚ÄúWow, Ingrid.¬† Check out¬†these views‚ÄĚ.¬† We have some pretty darn good views of Grand Junction‚Äôs Bookcliff mountains.¬† Great views, great price, great company‚Ķ..brother and sister-in-law may regret extending the invitation for us to stay in their driveway¬†for the¬†week.

With lunch complete, Al’s off to run some errands while I contemplate a blog post…..

Ouray

San Juan Mountains, Ouray, CO

As I sit in my comfy chair in the RV staring out the window…..actually admiring the view. I have my laptop on my lap. ¬†I think about the past week.¬† We enjoyed plenty of hiking and exploring.¬† The weather wasn’t always agreeable but we managed. I review our time spent camped at Ridgway State Park.¬† What exactly is it about this place that we’re drawn to?¬†¬†Probably the¬†location….the location¬†is awesome;Ouray Colorado

Ouray, Colorado

Ouray, Colorado  (pronounced Рyour ray)

  • The town of Montrose is only twenty minutes to the north providing us with a large grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, and more.¬† To the south are the towns of Ridgway five minutes away and lovely Ouray just another 10.
  • Plenty of hiking trails out our front door with plenty more a short drive away
  • Views‚Ķ..beautiful Colorado scenery in all directions
  • Exploring‚Ķ..abundant amount of ghost towns, old mines, and 4×4 roads
  • A lake for kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and more

    Ridgway Lake

    Ridgway State Park. You can see the RV’s beyond the water. We’re camped on that hill.

As I compose this list, the word ‚Äėhiking‚Äô jumps off the page‚Ķ.it makes me smile.¬† It feels great to be back out hiking again.¬† For about a three year period, hubby and I were confronted with some difficult times that left us physically and emotionally exhausted.¬† Perhaps one day I‚Äôll share.¬†¬†For now, let me just say, exercising took a back seat.

Our first two months on the road, hubby and I focused on recovering.¬† Recovering not only from the events of the past 3 years but the physical move from a sticks n bricks house into a RV.¬†¬†Our decision to go full-time wasn’t planned over a long period of time.¬† It just kind of evolved naturally over a few months and on a whim.¬† And¬†then the¬†house sold in 48 hours.¬† Yikes,¬†we went into overdrive.¬† Exhausting to say the least.

I can honestly say, hubby and I are feeling more like ourselves than we have in a very long time.¬† We’re back in hiking mode and feeling better for it.¬† We started our hiking endeavor off slow by taking the “nature trail” at Ridgway State Park.¬† It’s more of an interpretative trail with plaques¬†describing plants, geological items, and¬†an authentic tee pee.Nature Trail

And from there…..¬†as Emeril¬†would say, we took it up a notch.¬† The hiking got longer and more challenging.¬† Sometimes we would hike an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening or we’d hike two hours in the morning,¬†aware weather was approaching later in the day.¬† One way or the other, we found ourselves out on the trails every day.¬† Yep, the paws have been hurting, but in a good way.

Telluride

Hiking the 4×4 road to Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, Colorado

TellurideWe hiked every trail at Ridgway State Park; some easier than others.  However, our real push was tackled in Telluride when we hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls.

From the Pandora Mill to the falls is a 1.8 mile distance with a 1200 foot elevation gain.¬† At the top of the falls is a restored house/power plant that provides 25 percent of Telluride’s demand for electricity.¬† Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free falling¬†fallings in the state of Colorado; 365 feet in length.

The hike took Al and me approximately two hours round trip.  Elevation around 10,000 feet.

Telluride

The Pandora Mill is near the bottom by the Mill’s runoff pools. That’s where we parked the truck. The town of Telluride off in the distance.

Al and I felt great after completing this hike.  It had been the longest and most challenging to that point.

Telluride

Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, Colorado

We drive back into the town of Telluride, park the car, and walk the main street looking for a place for lunch.¬† We enjoyed a great burger at Flora Dora’s Saloon.¬† Always on the lookout for cute T-shirts, after lunch Al asks if I’d like to browse the shops a bit.¬† “Sure I’d like to, but these paws are telling me otherwise”.¬† Time to head back to camp and tackle another hike tomorrow.Telluride

Telluride

Telluride

Hiking the road back down.

Telluride

Stunning scenery all around

Telluride

We drive through a residential area in Telluride on our way to Bridal Veil Falls. Such cute houses!

A Celebration

After our four-day visit at Blue Mesa Reservoir, we somewhat reluctantly pulled out of camp.  Our stay was definitely too short.  However, I’m not complaining since our destination is another favorite of mine; Ridgway State Park.Rocky Mountains

We discovered this gem of a State Park this past July.¬† We reserved the same site ‚Äď site 18 and a few days later my brother and his wife joined us in the same site they had previously and next to us¬†‚Äď site 15.¬† Sister-in-law and I share birthdays within weeks of one another and we decided we should celebrate.¬† This was¬†the perfect¬†weekend to pick for the occasion.¬† And we both turned 39 again‚Ķ.go figure!Ridgway Lake

Ben & Jerry'sOver the years, time and distance had left very little opportunity for family get togethers.¬† As parents pass on, the realization time is precious has taken hold.¬† This activity we call ‚ÄúRVing‚ÄĚ is contagious and also forms bonds with like minded folks.¬† Add the bond of siblings to the RV adventure¬†and you have a recipe for one hell of a good time.¬† And what¬†a great way to rekindle relationships.

It was a week of hiking, campfires, great food, fun drinks, yummy deserts and rainbows….. rainbows almost every night, sometimes double rainbows.

Rainbow

Oh, and we can’t forget the laughter, laughter that brought tears and stomach stitches, the kind of laughter that’s good for the soul.

It’s been wonderful rekindling a relationship with my brother, but it’s been even more fun with the addition of our spouses.  Since sister-in-law and I were referring to this trip as our birthday weekend, the guys pretty much rolled with whatever the ladies wanted.  Smart guys!Rainbow

One afternoon the girls decided to head into town for a little shopping. The guys remained back at camp cooking hotdogs over an open fire and drinking beer.  Every once in awhile they would jump up and yell as if they were watching a football game.  Since we don’t have satellite TV just yet and the antenna won’t pick up even one channel, we’re left to our own devises and imaginations.  And boy, did those guys have an imagination.  How many beers was that?Hot Dogs

The weather wasn’t always agreeable.  We were usually able to see the storms approaching and plan accordingly.  Some of the storms were pretty intense complete with thunder, lightning, and downpour.  During a couple of the storms, we were still able to enjoy a campfire sitting under the extended awning.  It was the storms with high winds that pushed us indoors.

One evening in particular caused us more excitement than we cared to experience.  The thunder and lightning got close, real close and brother and his wife retreated to their trailer while Al and I remained under the awning waiting for the fire to die down so it could be put out.  Lightning in Colorado is not to be taken lightly.  Plenty of folks each year get hit by lightning…..we know several.  The damage inflicted can be mild to debilitating to fatal.Ridgway

RidgwayAl and¬†I were antsy to head indoors as well.¬† We weren’t comfortable and kept an eye on the sky.¬† We happened to look in the distance at the very time a huge lightning bolt struck the hill on the other side of highway 550.¬† Some pine trees¬†started burning.¬† The flames flared then subsided then flared again.¬† We watched intently as images of this past summer‚Äôs wildfires flashed in our minds.¬† When it seemed to flare again and spread, we hopped in the vehicle to pay a visit to the camp host we befriended to inform him.¬† He was able to radio the ranger.¬† We felt the more eyes on this potential fire, the better.

Fortunately, the nightly rains with occasional downpours have left the forest saturated… thank goodness.  Mother Nature put the fire out within fifteen minutes, but it was watched for any possible flare up.

Emergency averted, the next day we were back in party mode, but we sure kept looking off in the distance for any signs of smoke, just to be sure.Colorado

With the consistent storms and cooler temperatures, fall is fast approaching in Colorado’s high country.¬† I think we’ll need to tour the area in search of some Colorado gold…..gold as in leaves!

Oh and by the way, all you fellow RVer’s…..what kind of satellite situation do you have and why?¬† Hubby had to watch replays of the Broncos on his laptop¬† ūüė¶¬†¬† I guess that just won’t do….. he’d appreciate any recommendations!Colorado fall colors

A Favorite Spot

With a light morning breeze blowing through the RV, I glance out the window toward a view of the Colorado National Monument….well, kind of a view….as I peek around, up,¬†and over other RV’s there sits the Monument in the distance.¬† Ah, the RV experience; it is what we make of it.¬† Unfortunately for now, I don’t have the views or space I have become accustomed to.

Fruita Colorado

Colorado National Monument photographed from James Robb State Park Fruita

The month of August finds us parked in a full-fledged RV Park in Grand Junction, Colorado.¬† We normally gravitate toward State or Regional Parks.¬† For now, we have no fantastic views or hiking trails out¬†our front door….bummer.¬† I think I’ve become a little spoiled.¬† The Junction West RV Park in Grand Junction is an ok place to call home while Al and I do a little organizing and repairing on the RV.¬†¬†¬†¬†The Junction West RV Park is¬†conveniently located to shopping, restaurants,¬†AND my brother’s house.¬† It also offers¬†nice spacing between rigs, showers, laundry, and free WiFi.¬† Yep, this will do while we tend to the business at hand.

Junction West RV Park

Junction West RV Park, Grand Junction, CO

San Juan MountainsI’ll admit, I sure wasn’t ready to leave Ridgway State Park¬†or the views southwest Colorado has to offer.¬† I’m always hesitant to make a recommendation on a location or campground.¬† I’ve come to realize, the personal¬†element quite often plays a major role in ones overall experience, as does weather.

For example; let’s say the weather is nasty for your entire stay or you and your partner aren’t getting along or you¬†become ill,¬†the best scenery in the world cannot compensate for¬†any of these examples¬†or a combination of negative factors.¬†Thus, your experience might be one you wouldn’t care to repeat or recommend.

On the other hand, when the stars are aligned, all is well in your little world, your¬†life is filled with joy, you and your partner are in harmony….¬†the most¬†mediocre view,¬†so-so weather, and an ok location can conjure up the most pleasant of memories;¬†such fond memories, that it becomes a place you hope to return to as well as recommend to your friends.¬† Then your friends go and can’t figure out whatever were you talking about.

When we first pulled into Ridgway State Park I wasn’t overly impressed.¬† I couldn’t figure out why everyone talked so highly of the place.¬† However after my eight day stay, I would put this place at the top of my list of favorite places.¬† What made MY stay so enjoyable that I would call it a favorite and even recommend it?¬† Well, I’m pretty sure the stars were aligned and hubby and I were in harmony,¬†so that helped….LOL, but the real reasons why I fell in love with Ouray County;

  • The views….the photos say it all…..talk about beautiful country!San Juan Mountains
  • Location;¬†lovely Ouray, Ridgway, and¬†Telluride are nearby

    Ridgway

    Ridgway, Colorado

  • hiking and biking trails out our front door and beyond are abundantRidgway
  • beautiful lakes; enjoy water activities¬†or sit lakeside and ponder lifeRidgway
  • family and friends; my brother and his wife joined us¬†plus we met up with fellow RVer’s / bloggers

    Ridgway

    Al on the left, sister-in-law middle, my brother on the right…..good food, good company

  • weather; cool nights for sleeping – comfortable daytime temps for hiking – the occasional storm to add drama

    Ridgway

    mountain storms can be scary and pretty at the same time!

  • excellent spacing between campers; campsites are well spaced

    Ridgway

    Plenty of room around camp for everyone to warm their toes

  • plenty of interesting history;¬† the movie “True Grit” staring John Wayne was filmed around Ridgway.¬† Ghost towns and remnants of old mines are readily found¬†in the backcountry.Ridgway
  • nature……nature aboundsGrand Junction
  • A 4-wheelers paradise; exploring the backcountry via a jeep or ATV, miles and miles of gravel and dirt roads take you up and over mountain passesRidgway

I’m sure I’m missing something, but I think you get the idea of why this area has become a favorite spot of mine.¬† Yes, I’d say there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this southwest part of Colorado.¬† I think it’s one of those places worth visiting at different times of the year.¬† I know I’m hooked.¬† I foresee a revisit¬†in my near future!

Ah, but first……those RV repairs…..¬† ūüė•

Mt. Sneffels

Ridgway

Curiosity Piqued

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying¬†a most spectacular view during our week at Ridgway State Park.¬† There’s a curiosity that stirs within me as I watch the mountain range to the east change with the light of the sun or better yet an impending storm.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain in the far background.  San Juan Mountains, Colorado.  Us to the left in the Laredo.  My brother and sister-in-law in the trailer behind my red truck.  Some shy folks from Minnesota on the right.    Ridgway State Park

Courthouse Mountain

Another storm rolling in over Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain

Before departing this little slice of heaven I’ve been privileged to call “home” for a week, I must explore.¬† I’m torn between wildflowers or Chimney Rock.¬† Fellow blogger, Mark over at Box Canyon Blog says the wildflowers are still¬†plentiful up Yankee Boy Basin but are starting to wane….not much longer before they’re gone for the season.¬† Ah, but the pull of Chimney Rock strengthens with each glance her way.

Uncompahgre National ForestUpon further research, my map indicates a lake on the other side of Owl Creel Pass¬†which is near Chimney Rock.¬† Perhaps I can see Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain up close as well as a mountain lake surrounded by wildflowers.¬† Now that’s a win win!¬† The road is classified as easy and should be gravel the entire distance.¬† No¬†4-wheel drive necessary.

The Yankee Boy Basin Road is classified as moderate and 4-wheel drive is recommended.¬† Mark says we shouldn’t have any trouble¬†driving Yankee Boy Basin with the Tacoma, but it will be a¬†rougher drive than Owl Creek Pass.

Hubby’s been recovering from an injury incurred during the move and although he’s feeling tons better, he’s hesitant about a rough ride.¬† With that in mind, we opt for the easier drive and I’ll just have to return next summer¬†to satisfy my quest¬†for mountain wildflowers.¬† No arm twisting necessary.

San Juan Mountains

Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain

We catch County Road 10 just a couple minutes south of our camp and head east toward Chimney Rock.¬† We pass some of the most beautiful ranches with unbelievable views.¬† Somewhere along this stretch is the field where they filmed John Wayne taking on the bad guys in the movie “True Grit”…..reins in teeth and guns a-blazing.Courthouse Mountain

We pull over at the scenic vista for me to stand and stare in awe.¬† It truly is a sight to behold and my photos don’t come close to doing her justice.¬† If you have an interest in hiking this beauty, head on over to Mark’s post…..click here.¬† The hike he and Bobbie took, looks awesome.

Owl Creek PassWe continue our trek up and over Owl Creek Pass toward Silver Jack Reservoir.¬† The road is gravel and in great shape.¬† However, I’m disappointed once we started descending.¬† That means the lake will be at a lower elevation.¬† I was hoping for a high, mountain lake…. perhaps above tree line.

This is a great day trip for anyone who has a problem with altitude, because it doesn’t go much above 10,000 feet.¬† Although initially disappointed, the disappointment was quick to fade.¬† I even managed to see a fair amount of wildflowers.

Uncompahgre National Forest

Silver Jack Reservoir and Campground is about a 21 mile drive from the main road of Highway 550.  The easier route to take for campers would be from the town of Cimarron and Highway 50. Silver Jack Reservoir

Uncompahgre National Forest

lovely place to hike and wildflowers to boot!

The Silver Jack Campground sits in a forest of Aspen and Pine trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest.¬† Some of the sites are large enough to accommodate our 31′ Fifth Wheel, but don’t plan on internet service.¬† We couldn’t even get one bar on our phones ūüė¶

The reservoir does not appear¬†to be easily assessable.¬† We found only one road leading down to the water’s edge.¬† There were, however, numerous hiking trails.

All this driving and exploring has us working up an appetite.¬† We find the perfect place to pull over for lunch.¬† While sitting on the truck’s tailgate, Al and I eat our lunch in silence¬†as we¬†admire the view.¬† It wasn’t long before I find myself unable to sit still.¬† In between bites of my sandwich, I wander off.¬† Photo-op here, photo-op there.

Uncompahgre National Forest

lunch with a view!

Chimney RockDuring one of my short jaunts, I become giggly and giddy like a school girl being noticed by a boy for the first time.¬† Al, who has remained by the vehicle and thus several yards away, wants to know if I’m ok.¬† With gleeful laughter, I exclaim, “I’m being buzzed by a hummingbird”.¬† No further explanation needed as Al had a similar¬†experience while visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson.¬†I find these little birds adorable and to have one hover inches from my face was entertaining beyond words.

I guess it doesn’t take much to entertain us these days.¬† And of course,¬†the little Hummingbird¬†wouldn’t hold still long enough for a photo.¬† Perhaps I’ll douse myself in sugar next time.¬† Interesting image!San Juan Mountains

Silver Jack ReservoirWith lunch and laughter coming to an end, we meander our way back to camp at Ridgway State Park.  Our stay in the area has quickly come to an end.

We’ll spend the month of August in an RV Park in Grand Junction doing some repairs and reorganization.

We’ll be¬†formulating a plan and schedule for the next six months…..

Cimarron Ridge

Chimney Rock

Ridgway

The Back Road to Telluride

Telluride, Colorado has been on my radar for quite sometime.¬† Although I’ve called Colorado’s¬†Front Range¬†home for nearly eighteen years, between work and children there never seemed to be enough time to explore Colorado’s Western Slope until now.

Lost Dollar

Last Dollar Road on the way to Telluride, CO

Al and I review the¬†atlas and peruse all the info we picked up at the¬†Ridgway State Park¬†Visitor center.¬† From Ridgway State Park to the mountain ski town of Telluride should¬†be about an hours drive¬†if we stick to the main roads.¬† Hmm, we have all day.¬† What’s the hurry?

TellurideThis southwest part of the state of Colorado was a buzz of mining activity in the 1800’s.¬† Even Telluride’s logo is that of a miner’s pick.¬†¬† This mining activity created a multitude of back roads throughout the¬†picturesque San Juan Mountains.¬† Today these back roads are available for jeeps and¬†OHV (off highway vehicles).

Some of these back roads are assessable by regular automobiles, but most require high clearance, and others demand 4 wheel drive capabilities.  The roads might be gravel, dirt, rock or any combination of the three.

Last Dollar Road

Last Dollar Road – this road is classified as “easy”

My little red 4 wheel drive Toyota Tacoma should be able to handle most of the roads we researched.¬† However, Al and I err on the side of caution and pick a couple of “easy” roads to explore this week.¬† One of which is called the “Last Dollar Road”.¬† As far as mileage goes, this should be a shorter traveling distance to Telluride than taking the main roads.¬† However, time wise…..double.¬† Obviously, I won’t be taking this puppy at¬†60 miles per hour.

Last Dollar Road

some ruts were a little deep, but no problem for us.

For the most part, it was an easy drive even though we veered to the left at a fork in the road.¬† The publication informed us a left at the fork would be a little more challenging.¬† Some of the ruts, mud, and water would definitely present a problem for a vehicle without a high clearance.¬† For us, it wasn’t a problem and the drive presented some amazing scenery complete with wildflowers.Telluride

Telluride

Telluride

It’s the end of July and the wildflowers are starting to wane, but I’m still thrilled with the tuffs of color here and there.¬† All the more reason for us to return to this area next July¬†during the¬†peak of wildflower season.Telluride

The drive from Ridgway State Park to Telluride took us about two hours and that included all the stops for photo ops.  Not bad, and it sure was pretty.

TellurideOnce in Telluride, we stop at the visitor center.  Al always likes to ask locals where they enjoy eating.  We find ourselves at a kind of sports bar  housed in an old house off a side street.  It appears to be a favorite among locals.  Lunch was delish!

After lunch we head over to the Gondola station for a free Gondola ride up and over the summit¬†to¬†Mountain Village.¬† On our walk to the Gondola, we encountered a farmer’s market and quickly took notes as to some potential purchases on our return to the vehicle.¬† No sense in carrying stuff for the next hour.

GondolaThe Gondola operates year round free of charge and is a common form of transportation for workers, school children, mountain bikers, and hikers….and then of course there’s folks like¬†Al and me¬†– tourists.¬† Oh, and it’s pooch friendly as well.

The Telluride side of the mountain is pretty darn steep.¬† The Mountain Village side appears to be more moderate.¬† That’s where these two young boys are headed.¬† They’ll disembark at the summit and¬†ride their bikes¬†back¬†down toward the town of Mountain Village.¬† We also saw quite a few hikers doing this as well.¬† We saw very few heading down on the Telluride side of the mountain.Telluride

Telluride

With our ‘tourist’ day coming to an end, we pick up some goodies at the farmer’s market and promise each other a return trip to this¬†beautiful mountain town.¬† We take the highway back to Ridgway State Park and arrive¬†in about an¬†hour.¬† I’ll admit, even the¬†scenery via the highway was lovely……not quite as beautiful as the Last Dollar Road¬†but lovely just the same.¬† It’ll be tough to top this awesome day!Telluride

Wonderful Company

Since my last post, hubby and I have witnessed some spectacular scenery complete with equally spectacular company.

Grand Junction

Grand Junction, Colorado –¬†with the Colorado National Monument in the background

After a wonderful stay at James Robb State Park accompanied by lots of time hanging out with my brother and his wife at their home, we departed Grand Junction, Colorado, and took a two hour drive south to Ridgway State Park.   My brother and his wife would later join us for the weekend in their new travel trailer.  Since this was a relatively spur of the moment travel decision amongst the four of us, campsite availability at Ridgway State Park was sparse.

Ridgway State Park

Ridgway Lake

Ridgway State ParkMy brother and I sat at his kitchen table reviewing our options.¬† Obviously we’d like to camp next to each other, which further limited our options.¬† Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo…. reservation made…..¬† And score!

When Al and I arrived at Ridgway State Park and settled into our site, we were extremely pleased.¬† There was plenty of spacing between sites and we were surrounded by views.¬† I’ll admit….. brother gets the credit for picking out a couple of great sites.¬† Good job bro!

Ridgway State Park is popular and a favorite among many. ¬†I’m thinking, it just may¬†become one of our favorites as well.¬† Ridgway State Park offers three diverse campgrounds;¬† Pa-Co-Chu-Puk Campground¬†is located¬†in a valley below the damn and¬†provides full hook-ups.¬† It sits along the Uncompahgre River and offers some great fishing opportunities.

Ridgway State ParkThe Elk Ridge Campground sits high on a bluff / mesa among a forest of pine trees.  This is the most popular of the three campgrounds at Ridgway State Park.

The third and least popular and the one we camped at is Dakota Terraces Campground.¬†¬†One downside¬†– it’s located near the highway, but that is offset by¬†beautiful mountain views and excellent lake and trail access.¬† We were sure to take advantage of the easy trail access right outside our front door.

This part of Colorado has plenty to offer. ¬†It is officially known as the “Jeep Capital of the World” and the little town of Ouray located 14 miles south of Ridgway is known as “America’s Switzerland”.¬†¬† We found ourselves staring in awe at the picturesque San Juan Mountains.¬† With so much to see and do, we wondered….what¬†should we explore first?

Who better to answer that question than fellow blogger Mark over at Box Canyon Blog.¬† Mark and wife, Bobbie, call this part of Colorado ‘home’ for the summer months.¬† I shoot Mark an email letting him know we’re in¬†his neck of the woods¬†and hope he’ll share some insider information on the area.

Ouray

sitting above the town of Ouray – the view from Mark’s deck

Much to my surprise, Mark invites Al and me over for a barbeque¬†along with a few¬†fellow RVer’s.¬† Wow…..complete strangers and we’re invited to their home AND what a lovely home it is with the most¬†stunning views.¬† Thank you Mark and Bobbie for the hospitality, delicious meal, spectacular scenery, and¬†wonderful company.¬† We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.Ouray

Ouray

another view from Marks’ deck

Be sure and check out Mark’s stunning photography along with his entertaining story telling.¬† I’m sure after viewing his photos, you too will want to visit this part of Colorado.¬† I know his photos piqued my interest and continue to do so.¬† Our goal over the next year is to get in good enough shape to¬†experience some of the amazing hikes Bobbie and Mark do, because guarantee…. Al and I will be returning to this area of Colorado next summer.¬† I have some mountain lakes and wildflowers to capture after all.¬†Ridway State Park

Although this was just our first full day nestled¬†near the¬†San Juans, I feel myself falling in love.¬† Sorry Golden, Colorado…..you have some pretty stiff competition.¬† Tomorrow we’ll take the little truck into the back country.