acres bordered on one side by National Forest Service land and on the other
by the Rio Grande River: $28,000. I was one Hail Mary away
from purchasing said land until I reminded myself it is located in the
middle of Colorado whereas I live in the Northern climes of California.
My anemic Cañon
City hotel room air conditioner began to struggle around 8:00 AM when
the outside temperature moved past ninety degrees. The desk clerk/bell
hop/elevator operator downstairs was streaming sweat when I reach the lobby
at 9:00 AM. He looked longingly at the functional temperature controlled
interior of the MINI as I drove away.
learned a great many things on this cross country road trip, but one of
the most important is this: The worst drivers are generally those
(a) in SUVs or motor homes, (b) driving cars marked by Jesus fish or (c)
adorned with American flag stickers or, (d) all of the above. These
drivers are best known for (a) driving extremely slowly when located to
the front of my car, (b) tailgating when located behind my car, (c) slowing
down one mile before a turn they neglect to signal, (d) pulling to the
left so as to make it impossible to determine whether or not it is safe
to pass, or (e) swerving from lane to lane while gesturing to their passengers.
If I weren't a Quaker my middle finger might have repetitive motion injuries
after today. As it were, I beamed love as I broke the speed limit
to speed around or away from the yahoos.
requires three, two-lane highways to reach Durango: Highway
Day 1 for the other end of Highway 50] climbs steadily from 7,500 feet
at Cañon City to nearly 9,000 feet at Salida, curving through steep
canyons and snaking around the Arkansas River. Highway
285 runs straight south from Salida to Monta Vista across the center
of Colorado, rarely dipping below 8,000 feet. Highway 160 twists
and turns westward to Durango and crosses Wolf Creek Pass at nearly 11,000
Running ahead of schedule, I make a detour and
drive north to Creede,
a small mining town. I stop by the museum and find this [click
here] poster of the 1992 Colorado State Mining Championship hidden
far in the back. The
hunky miner won the competition and the
rock he drilled is located in a park just two blocks away. The
mines in Creede are closed and the hunky miners are unemployed or gone
elsewhere. Main Street is filled with tourists like myself looking
at each other and contemplating a time when the average American man could
still wear size 34 jeans.
are many oddities in the United States. One from today: The
Western Movie Manor - a hotel built to face a drive-in theatre so the
guests can watch films from their rooms. I don't know if they have
to pay for the movie or if it is included in the room price.
Unrelated to any other thought in this entry:
Colorado has the hottest road workers of any state I've visited.
Unfortunately, I'm too busy driving to snap a decent photograph of any
I cross the Continental Divide at Wolf
Creek Pass. The GPS unit reads 10,861 feet. In a short
series of steep hairpin turns, the elevation drops three thousand feet
and the road turns toward Pagosa Springs (best known for the pervasive
smell of sulfur arising from the natural hot springs). Fifty miles
later I arrive in Durango.
people sent me notes about the Cañon City red, white and blue fever.
[The wedding dress photo is now repaired, go
back one day for more about the dress.] The mountains seem to
have stemmed the flow of flag related colors to Durango, but the city hasn't
completely avoided outrageous displays of misplaced patriotism.
My favorite is a dress
maker's mannequin in a tight corset with a red, white and blue neck
tie displayed outside a photography studio.
I walk to Durango's old Main Street in time to
catch the engine crew of the Durango
Railroad passing through the McDonald's Drive-In. After a brief tour
of the town, I retire to my hotel room with its balcony above the Animas
Now, the balcony door is open, the light fading
on the hills, a sliver of moon above the trees and a warm breath of breeze
blows across the evening. In a few minutes MUNI Guy will ring and
say goodnight. Tomorrow:
the Durango and Silverton Railroad and Silverton, Colorado.