September 25 Ouray to Durango
We were toasty warm with our heater and sleeping bags – temperature was down in the 30’s but not the 25 of our coldest night! Cooked and ate breakfast in no rush as we had less than 100 miles to go and wanted to be sure to give any snow on the mountain passes time to melt. The locals here said if it rained here in Ouray then it would snow in the mountains (ha – we were in what we considered mountains!) if no rain then no more snow. There was no rain here and the sun was shining so we were quite hopeful for a nice day. We were in for a treat!
We drove through Ouray and started up towards Red Mountain Pass (11,075) on Rt 555 better known as the Million Dollar Highway – both for the views and the cost of construction. Information told us there were no guiderails as the snowplows would be unable to clear the road. Ahead was a formidable mountain known as the Matterhorn – and Ouray is known as the Switzerland of the Rockies…it was a neat little touristy mountain town.
Leaving Ouray the road was switchback after switchback. The Sprinter and Ben love driving in mountains – Jane not so much. The views quickly became as outstanding as promised. The aspen trees contrasted with the dark green fir trees and the mountain tops were snow covered. There had been maybe an inch or two of snow the previous day but from the looks of the side of the road – they had quickly plowed it off. There was no snow on the roads at all but some along the roadside and in the woods. There were two tunnels and fantastic views just went on and on forever.
We reached Red Mountain Pass and then descended into Silverton.
We stopped in Silverton for more coffee and a short break but did not go into the town as we had plans to ride the train to Silverton from Durango one of the next two days. We then continued on from Silverton on switchbacks again up and down as we crested 2 more 10,000+ foot peaks. The views were still outstanding but we felt the views from Ouray to Silverton were the most dramatic.
Our selected RV Park – Alpen Rose – was about 2 miles out of Durango on Rt 550 so we pulled in about 3:00 and texted our friends that we were meeting in Durango. They were in Silverton and would stop by as they came back to Durango. Ben took a nap and Jane caught up on the blog. The campground was very nice with a courtyard where the internet was excellent. This campground was completely full – we got one of the last spots because we are short – 21 feet. They were expecting 52 units to arrive today – two different touring groups. Wish I had taken a photo at 3 when we arrived and then again about 5!
Our friends from North Carolina on almost the exact trip backwards from us – came by the campground about 5:30. We visited a while and then headed into downtown Durango for dinner at the Season’s Restaurant. The tenderloin was excellent and we had a great time visiting with our friends from Ben’s college days at NC State. The next day they would head east and we would head west in a couple days. Lucky we could plan this mini-reunion!