<< Day 8: Moab | Day 10: Silverton >>
Moab to Silverton, Colorado
As Ben and I packed up this morning, the children ran off to play—they found the perfect setting for “adventure” in the area behind the playground.
They couldn’t wait to show me their discoveries. First, Sebastian had accumulated a stash of small seeds.
Genevieve had found a claw of some sort.
This bridge just had to lead somewhere exciting . . .
Yes, it did! They had found a small dam across a stream and, with the careful eye of an engineer, Genevieve had directed Sebastian in laying new stones on top and in open patches.
(They later dismantled their additions when they were finished).
On the way out of Moab, these two motorcyclists (male and female) passed us.
Ben and I have talked seriously about an around-the-world trip on bikes after the children are grown. In the meantime, I love the shorter motorcycle adventures that we share.
Heading south through Moab Valley, the steep and rocky “Moab Rim” was on our right:
In contrast, on our left were green fields with small scatterings of housing developments.
The red rocks and green bushes were a nice combination:
The curvy road ahead held the promise of a fun time:
Twelve miles south of Moab, we stopped at the “Hole in the Rock”:
“Hole in the Rock” is a roadside attraction centered around a 5000 square foot home carved into a gigantic rock. The home was created by Albert and Gladys Christensen, who moved into the cave dwelling in 1952. They operated a diner in the front until Albert died in 1957. Gladys continued to run a small café and gift shop until her death in 1974. Today there is a gift shop, trading post, and small market.
We took the “12 minute” interior tour, but photographs were not allowed. I did, however, snap this photo at the entrance to the tour—you can see the kitchen with its green ceiling through the swinging doors:
The interior of the cave dwelling was quite charming and an amazing feat of engineering. Albert also had dabbled in taxidermy, and there were two stuffed donkeys in the interior, as well as Albert’s pet donkey “Harry”--which I thought was pretty freaky looking and reflected Albert’s lack of fine-tuned skills in preserving dead animals.
Albert had also carved this head of Franklin D. Roosevelt into the outside upper wall of the home:
Albert and Gladys were both laid to rest a short walk from the front door:
The exterior of the property contained an eclectic array of sculptures and other quirky objects.
The items that I enjoyed the most were the amazing sculptures of Lyle Nichols. He creates artworks out of scrap metal. He has said, “The only thing I want to be known for is to... make someone smile." Well, my smile was BIG as I looked at all of the exquisite details of his work.
This one is called “Organized Chaos”:
“A Lot of Bull”:
“It Landed Where”:
I don’t know what this jeep is called, but we all loved it:
Detail of a jeep wheel:
We turned west on Highway 46, a narrow winding 2-lane road (our favorite kind!). We passed various styles of homes along this road:
We wound our way through the Manti-LaSal National Forest.
We reached a section where the road began a steep descent, with tight switchbacks that were sometimes back to back.
I had never seen one of these signs before—and there were several of them on this short section. (Ooh-wee!)
We crept along, going much slower than we would have done on our motorcycles. (The “fun factor” wasn’t quite as high in a cumbersome RV.)
Some determined soul had built a house, along with what appeared to be a mine entrance, in the middle of this steep mountainside:
“Welcome to Colorful Colorado!”
The rocks on the hillsides sometimes looked like they were getting ready to crash down any minute.
Up ahead was a wide, beautiful valley:
We dropped down the mountain, with one sharp curve after another. We could see our road stretching out into the distance along the valley floor.
Although the town of Paradox looked like a pleasant place to stop, we passed it by--we had a lot of twisty roads to cover today.
We looked for a place to pull over and eat lunch, but there were no shoulders on the road. We finally came to the tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it town of Bedrock.
We were excited to see a large patch of gravel in front of a small store—a perfect lunch spot! I took the kids into the store to buy a small treat to eat after lunch.
We met the store owner, Rose Griffen.
Rose had moved here 10 years ago from Moab, but she was originally from Iowa. Her store is the oldest, continually operating store in Colorado. She said that she was written up in a European guidebook, and that she gets a lot of repeat customers from the Netherlands who are excited to visit her. They tell her: “I was here two years ago!” “We always stop at your market!” “You are in our guidebook; do you want to see your picture?!”
We continued driving:
Some passing scenery—I thought that many of the buildings had a lot of character:
We soon popped out onto a high plateau.
Some homes along the way (always intriguing to me):
In the small town of Norwood, we stopped at “Lola’s Lemonade” stand. The boys said that business had been slow today—we were the second customer, and it was mid-afternoon. All of the boys were very sweet, and the boy on the right (thumbs up!) seemed to be in charge. The boy on the far left said that his dad had traveled across the country as a child.
We planned to stop in the town of Telluride, which has the reputation for being a “chic” ski resort town. We had heard that it was very beautiful, and Ben and I were hoping to find a good coffee shop.
The road to Telluride snaked along next to a river for miles and miles and miles.
The surrounding mountains were very beautiful, with red rocks and tall trees:
Telluride was very quaint, with many beautifully renovated houses.
We took a peek at some real estate advertisements in town, and the prices made even our jaded eyebrows raise a few notches—e.g., $2.4 million for a small Victorian in town. There were some homes for sale that needed lots of TLC, but even those tiny fixer-uppers were priced well over a million.
From downtown, we could see Bridal Veil Falls in the distance.
We took a long walk along the main street, searching for a coffee shop.
Here is the San Miguel County courthouse, built in 1887:
We didn’t find a Starbucks, but we did find the Steaming Bean, a small organic coffee shop. While we were not impressed with the lackadaisical service there (in fact, it was quite a turn-off), we enjoyed our coffee drinks immensely. Yum. Just what Ben and I needed.
On our stroll back to the RV, we passed by the Mahr Building, which was constructed in 1892; its claim to fame is that it sits on the spot of the former San Miguel Valley Bank, which was the first bank that Butch Cassidy ever robbed (on June 24, 1889).
Back on the road, we noticed that the earth tones lean more toward brown in the surrounding hills, instead of the reds that we saw around Moab.
We passed a wide, braided creek area that had some beaver dams across the water. Ben vividly remembered this place from when he was a child and his family drove through the area; he had seen a lot of busy beavers then. We didn’t see any. There weren’t any safe places to pull over and take photos of the creek, but I did manage to capture these two shots of an old beaver lodge (the mound of grey branches) and a current beaver dam across the creek:
We saw this gem from the road; if only its walls could talk . . . .
We headed south to the town of Ouray, at 7706 feet in elevation.
Upon leaving Ouray, we began our drive on the “Million Dollar Highway,” which is considered by many to be one of the most spectacular drives in America. The road was designed by Russian immigrant Otto Mears, and some say that the name reflects the high cost of constructing the road; other say that the name references the million dollar views around every corner.
Portions of it cut through a steep gorge (Uncompahgre Gorge), with steep drops off and no guard rails.
Here is a view back on the narrow road we had just driven:
Here is a protective tunnel with a waterfall flowing over it:
The road wound up and over Red Mountain pass, at 13,008 feet. Red Mountain was truly magnificent and made me gasp when I first saw its crimson tones. I tried very hard to capture its brilliance, but the beauty doesn’t translate completely on film:
Red Mountain is a collapsed volcano cone where gold was discovered in 1860. Portions of old mining buildings and homes were still standing:
The road down from the pass:
Our destination tonight was the town of Silverton, with an elevation of 9,318 feet. Silverton is an old mining town that has about 500 year-round residents. The small downtown area has over 50 historic buildings.
Tonight we dined at a restaurant for the first time on the trip. Here are some photos from our walk to the restaurant.
We ate at Romero’s, a family-owned restaurant that has been serving Mexican food in Silverton for four generations.
Across the street was the old livery:
We took a walk around town after dinner. Here are Genevieve and Sebastian in front of City Hall, constructed in 1908:
We all had a sweet tooth tonight, but the ice cream shops were closed. We discovered absolutely scrumptious desserts (I could rave on and on, but trust me, they were to-die-for delicious) at the Pickle Barrel restaurant.
We found these men playing poker on the walk back to the RV.
Tonight we drifted off to the faint sounds of the nearby waterfall cascading down the mountain.
<< Day 8: Moab | Day 10: Silverton >>
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