Sunday, June 21, 2009

Road Trip - Day 11

Total Mileage: 143 miles
Total pubs James visited without getting a beer: 1
Total times we drove on dirt roads: 3
Total number of books completed: 1
Total times James closed his eyes on the mountain trip: lots

We started out the day in Ouray, CO. My dad, who lives in the Denver area, drove 300+ miles to hang out with us today. Dad left at 4:00 in the morning to meet us for the day. Before he arrived, James and Austin decided to toss around the football at the hotel.

Grandpa arrived and we started out our day with a small hike up to Box Canyon Waterfall.

After the hike, the kids needed some ice cream! We walked around this cute little town, nestled between the Rockies, about an hour or so.

The drive from Ouray to Silverton on Hwy. 550 is one of the top 10 scenic drives in the country. I totally believe it. At times, it was scarier than Pikes Peak. Really steep dropoffs. We stopped several places along the way to take in the beauty. According to James, sometimes beauty equals terror.

Austin, Abby and Grandpa.

Here's Austin at about 11,000 feet.

A family portrait.

Here is a quick history lesson. This was the town of Chattanooga, CO. It was a small mining town from 1883-1889. In '89, an avalanche took away most of the town. There is so much history in this area. Lots of dreams buried here.

We arrived in Durango around 4ish. Dad took us to dinner to a nice steak/seafood/Mexican place. Yes, it did have all of those things on the menu! Then we went shopping around town. The kids got a few gifts from Grandpa, and we had to say goodbye to him. He had a long drive ahead of him and we needed to head to our next pitstop (gosh, sometimes I feel like I am on the Amazing Race... my favorite show EVER!), Mancos.

We arrived shortly before 8:00 and fell in love with our cabin. If you are ever in the area, please check this place out... it is so incredibly nice. The in-keepers are awesome, full of knowledge in this area - the home is on 80 acres and very cozy, somewhat isolated, and full of beautiful sites everywhere. A fact for those readers out there - our host told us that the area where we were staying was mentioned on page 6 of Passin' Through by Louis L'Amour. Interesting.

The cabin is actually quite large. In fact, James asked the hosts for a key and he laughed. "We haven't locked our doors in 12 years." Coming from Houston, it's pretty strange not locking your doors at night. We did end up locking them from the inside tonight. So far so good. We asked about wildlife here and he mentioned that they have seen one mountain lion and a few bears over the last decade, but overall it's pretty safe. We'll take his word for it.

Their 2 dogs greeted us and the kids played with them until the sun went down. Oreo and Chester are great dogs. At least the girls did not have their dress up clothes with them - they might not have liked that too much.

Our cabin.

A beautiful SW Colorado sunset.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! We enjoyed spending the day with you in Colorado!