Saying good-bye to the Hill Country in Texas, we set our sights for Durango, Colorado. Along the way we visited Fort Stockton, TX (depicted in the header of this blog), Roswell, New Mexico of UFO fame and Albuquerque, New Mexico, home of the famous Hot Air Balloon Festival. Ft. Stockton was our first experience with a rugged, desert town. From our location at the Hill Top RV Park, we were able to see an awesome view and desert sunset. Roswell was a charming small town celebrating the Cinco de Mayo along with the Kentucky Derby and very proud of its UFO notoriety. In fact, as we were following our GPS, we became ensconced in a traffic jam due to roads being closed for the Cinco de Mayo festival- John with help from some locals had to move barricades in order to get the Silver Manatee to our home for the night! Later, relaxing at the restuarant at the Roswell Elks Lodge, we were informed that a former Kentucky Derby winner was from Roswell, No Bird of Mine and that a local jockey was riding one of the contenders! So, needless to say, we had a great time watching the Derby. We found Albuquerque to be a vibrant city as we did some of our necessary shopping and treated ourselves to dinner at Pappadeux’s restaurant that had been suggested by Mike Treworgy. The crawfish bisque was just as delicious as Mike described, the ambience was casually elegant and we left feeling very pampered. On another journey to the West, we hope to return to Albuquerque inorder to experience the Hot Air Balloon festival which takes place in the Fall.
The historic town of Durango , perched at 6512′ above sea level, was founded back in 1880 with the development of the narrow gauge railroad to Silverton. Consequently, Durango became the hub of the mining towns in the San Juan Mountains. To this day, the railroad plays an important role in Durango. One day during our stay, we drove over the 10,910′ pass to Silverton only to see snow still on the ground and warnings of snow that very afternoon. Being flatlanders, we explored Silverton, had a wonderful lunch at a former turn of the century saloon and made sure to head back to Durango before the snow fall! On another day, we decided to take a hike that had been described as “Easy” from the downtown area inorder to see a vista of the town with the mountains; however, once we were at the trailhead we only saw this rocky incline ahead of us. So, we proceeded to hike thinking it was going to level out- wrong. The trail only continued to climb and after going about 2 miles up and finally coming to a trail map, we decided this was definitely not the “Easy” trail and hiked back down the mountain. Once arriving at the base,we saw the other trail to our right and there was not a rock to be seen on that path! The third highlight of Durango for us was our meeting of the photographer and author of the book Colorado’s Wild Horses, Claude Steelman. Mr. Steelman was a delightful, humble man who shared many interesting insights about the wild horses with us. We found Durango to be a fascinating combination of outdoor recreation with its many hiking and biking trails and culture with its public art collection, numerous galleries and Ft. Lewis College. With its southwest location in Colorado near the four corners area, Durango is a true destination.