Best of the Southwest

Monday, October 24, 2005

So says the write up on the web site of America's scenic byways.

"Craving recreation at high elevation? Travel to the top of the world and back in time on the San Juan Skyway. Discover history and high times in the streets, gold mines, and railway stations of towns like Durango, Silverton, and Telluride...

Enjoy it all on this 236-mile sampler of the best the southwest has to offer."

Now that 236 miles would be the green loop at the top of the map you see below.

But first, from Albuquerque, you do have to drive through the middle of nowhere.

I couldn't believe it was right there on my map.

We set out on our 700 mile weekend jaunt at 4:00 on Friday - arriving in Durango, quite surprised by how close it is, in only 3 and a half hours.

I did take a camera

or two

And yes... if you look, even in the middle of nowhere, there are shots to be had. Granted, I drove past this one and then though about it for a while, turning around after driving a mile or two down the road.

Mrs. took it in stride, she is after all, used to this kind of roadside activity.

Saturday we made our way north through Silverton, stopped at the hot springs in Ouray and ended up in Telluride by nightfall.

On the way back from taking this photo Mrs suggested to me that next year we might camp at this spot. She said that my response was not to be forgotten:

"They make bed and breakfasts for people our age dear."

Mind you, I don't mind camping, but when I do, it's because I had to carry my tent in to some wilderness place or another. Absent that, I'm all about a good B&B.

And even though we missed the "peak color" by a week or two, there was still plenty of color splashed up on the mountain sides and right down near the riverbeds. (larger panorama here)

Even Christmas came early this year as Mrs. discovered a sand painting that was a "must have" in one of the shops that was closing for the winter.

We promised ourselves we would come back next year, especially since there were deals on lodging and meals, just before everyone shuts down, either for the season, or for the month before Thanksgiving.

Now all I have to do is find the time to create some new web pages, one for the drive and the views, another for the recommended eats and sleeps.

Some 200 images later, these are some of the ones I like the best.