We waited until late morning to take off on yesterday's ride. It has been much cooler here in Silverton than it was in Ouray. The elevation probably has a lot to do with it, since we are at least 2,000 feet higher. When we left, the kitties were all wrapped up in quilts and ready for their morning naps. As I mentioned, the kitties are always up before the sun rises, and so morning naps are a welcome respite from their hard work as furry alarm clocks.
Sadie is not interested in discussing this. Please do not disturb.
As we headed out, I snapped this picture of Kendall Mountain, the trail we road the previous day. It's hard to get a good picture of it because of the bright sunshine in the morning. On the other hand, when I waited until afternoon, it was cast in shadow. This is the best I could do. I messed with color and contrast to try to bring it out. The Durango-Silverton railroad runs right at the bottom, and there are some box cars lined up there that probably have nothing to do with the D-S railroad. I'm only showing you because we rode to the tippy-top of the mountain on our first ride, zig-zagging back and forth to reach it.
Below, and alongside the railroad tracks, is this wheel. It appears to have nothing to do with the railroad. My friend Carol asked her Colorado peeps what its function might be. The consensus is that it probably held a cable for a tramway that transported ore from the mine to the railroad below. Makes sense to me.
So, off we went, riding through town on our ATV's and sharing the road with cars. The speed limit is 15 mph through town and then just 20 mph to reach the Mayflower Gold Mill. There are self-guiding tours here, but we didn't do it. I have an idea there was a price tag attached, and we had other destinations in mind. Still, it was interesting to see it. I'd always thought of "mills" as places where grain was ground into flour or meal of some kind. Apparently mined ore is also processed at a mill.
If you're interested, you can read the sign that follows. For these images, I broke it up into four sections for readability. You can make the images larger by clicking on them, so read if you like. Or, if you don't like, then you can just look at the pictures.
Here's how the town once looked. We rode alongside the Animas River for much of the day.
In this next image, you can see the tramway and buckets that transported mined ore to the mill.
They stretch all the way across the valley and to the hillside where the mining operations took place.
Just a little farther on was Howardsville. It was the first attempted settlement of the Western Slope of the Colorado Territory. What I learned on yesterday's journey is that the towns associated with the mills are mostly completely gone, and the mining operations consist mainly of ruins. You'll see as we go. The signs are included so you can see pictures of the area as it once looked. So here's some information about Howardsville:
I thought this might have served as a privy at one time, but looking inside, there was nothing to indicate that.
Here is all that's left of it. I tried to get some more information about it and found this interesting link about the history of the town and the mine. If this sort of thing interests you, it's worth clicking there to find out more. This was once a thriving community, but it is all gone now. At least one structure has been renovated, but the rest has been turned into a campground.
Across the valley was a pile of tailings from the mine. We saw a lot of this. Those are our ATV's on the left.
It was a pretty view from here. Unbelievably there were some other folks there and one woman was picking up stuff from the ground and loading it into a bag for removal. This is a violation of the Antiquities Act. When Mike informed her it was illegal, she apologized and put it back. Sheesh. What are people thinking?
We paused here to get our bearings, check the map, and decide where to go next. Then we rode back the way we came.
We decided to take the Minnie Gulch trail. We were amused to find some snow boots at the bottom of the sign.
Riding on, we came to the remains of the Caledonia Mill. I could find almost no information about this, but I did find this one link with a few basic facts. They were mining for zinc, copper, lead, and silver. It was a pretty site, nestled in among the aspen grove.
You can read a little more about it right here. I'm not sure what that structure is on the right in the image above. In modern times, I might think it was a hot tub, but my guess is that it was a sistern.
Walking around to the other side...I've seen pictures online taken before the windows and doors were boarded up. It now holds a "no trespassing" sign, and the wood appears unstable and rotten.
Above and at the end of our ride was the Kitty Mack Mine. I could find almost no information at all about this.
We were at the end of the trail here, and we marveled at the work that went into these mines when there was no railroad nor, indeed, any roads at all. We weren't sure about electricity. This was the early 20th century, and so we think there probably was electricity for industrial purposes, most homes were still without it. There was one tower with what might have carried electrical wires, but they were disconnected now. It's the sort of thing that could cause a wildfire in this warming-planet era.
It appears to have been someone's home, but I don't know any more about it. I set one foot on the rickety front porch to take a flash picture of the interior.
This structure was to the right. Perhaps a place for smoking meats? Or storing canned goods? Hard to know.
We have one more day in Silverton before moving on to Bloomfield, New Mexico, tomorrow. We've decided to take a break from ATVing for the time being. Riding over the rocks on these trails takes its toll on one's body. I've been whining about my neck, although my shoulder and thumb have held up well. Mike was complaining about his back yesterday. It seems as if our age is catching up with our capacity for adventure. We'll do some more riding in Oracle, Arizona, but that stop is more than a week away. By then, we probably will have forgotten how old we are.
We'll spend most of the day doing "life" things. We have a pile of dirty clothes that need laundering. First, we'll make a stop at the bank for a roll of quarters. Everywhere we've been, we've found the price of a washing machine at $2 for the wash and $2 for the dry. You can go through a roll of quarters pretty quickly at that price. We want to spend a little more time in the town of Silverton. There are a couple of gift shops I want to revisit, and we'll get one more funnel cake for our dessert tonight. There is a small grocery store in town, and we'll pick up a few things there too. A day of rest is always welcome, but it doesn't mean we won't find ways to fill our time.
There are too many woofies and people here, and so Smitty hasn't been out for a walk. We're hoping he'll find greener pastures at the next stop in New Mexico.
After our road closure debacle near Ouray last Wednesday, we decided to wait until Friday for our final ride. The crew knocked off early on Fridays, and so the road reopened earlier. Thursday seemed like a good day to head into the nearest town of any size, Montrose, to take care of some "life" stuff. We needed groceries, and Mike needed some batteries for his weather station. It was a birthday gift from me some years ago. He wears it on a lanyard around his neck. He can measure all sorts of things with it: wind speed, elevation, temperature...I don't know what all. But as I've said before, if a thing can be measured, we will measure it. And that was just fine with me because I knew there were a couple of quilt shops in Montrose, not to mention a Kroger grocery store. We shop at a Kroger store back home, and every Kroger store in the country honors our electronic coupons and any points we've earned on our "loyal customer" cards.
First stop was the quilt shop, however, and it was very cute. Here's how it looks from the parking strip out front. Sorry for the sun glare.
Passing through the front door, it looked like this.
Just to the right of the image above was this display of digitally printed fabric. I'm seeing more and more of this in my visits to quilt shops, and I really like it. I'm not sure how this process works or how they can get those vibrant colors. These were so pretty. I really loved that one on the right, and I told myself I'd come back for it. I was only just getting started, but then I forgot until my purchases were already rung up. Oh well. It might have been divine intervention, because I seriously don't need any more fabric at the moment.
The quilt shop is in a residential area and in an actual house. You can find its web presence right here. To the right of the front door was a long arm machine. There were also "bedrooms" coming off the main shop with more long arm machines. I had the feeling they could be rented, but I also believe the owner probably does professional quilting. The woman working in the store that day was an employee, and the owner wasn't present. She was very friendly, and kept telling me she was going to get fired for this, that, or the other thing.
Oh yes, and there was candy. I didn't have any. On this day, just looking at it was enough to satisfy the urges of my inner sugar fiend.
When we made our USA tour, we sometimes spent a night in a Wal-Mart parking lot. After one of those nights, we went into the store and bought the tackiest thing you've ever seen to hang on the wall for Christmas. Just now I went looking through old blog posts to see if I could find it, and I did. Please feel free to revel in its tacky splendor. The best part about it was that we simply threw it in a dumpster when Christmas was over.
After that, I purchased a pattern for a wall-hanging Christmas tree quilt. I have yet to make it. I might have bought the one above except for the unmade one at home.
But getting back to the quilt shop, she already had her holiday fabrics out. I don't suppose it's too early if one is trying to get something made before Christmas. Just looking at them gave me the heebie-jeebies. Christmas always comes around too fast each year for me. I have a few of these at home already.
There was a nice row of landscape prints. I was tempted to buy one of the aspen prints for my Shop Hop quilt, but I already picked up one on our last trip to Colorado, and it's already been made into a quilt block. I needed something different.
This wasn't a small store, but it wasn't large either. Fabrics seemed to be shelved by color, mostly. Note the vintage sewing machine in the image below.
They had a nice supply. I was looking for fabrics to use in my Vintage Linen quilt. I'm trying to keep the fabrics for that quilt on the vintage looking side of things, and my stash is woefully short on those.
I made my selections, and I was only in the market for fat quarters on this day. I picked a couple of bolts off the shelf, and she was happy to cut them into fat quarters for me. I picked up a few that were already cut as well.
As she was cutting my fabrics, I noticed this bin. It was a fun idea, but at that price, I was paying $5 per yard for the fabrics. I wanted to be able to see what I was getting, and so I was not enticed by this "mystery" bundle.
So, what did I get? Well, thanks for asking. I picked up these fat quarters. She was kind enough to charge me regular price for two of them, and then a bundled price for the rest. It saved me about $6.
For my regional print, I chose this one. It made me think of the fritillary butterflies we've seen on our rides, and it will work in my Vintage Linen quilt too.
There will be a few more quilt shops in our travels ahead, no doubt. Mike has learned to be patient with these outings, and he naps in the truck while I shop. On this particular day, he was happy to be in a place where he had a good cell signal, and he could catch up on the things we were missing online.
Okay, so with that, I'm all caught up on my posts. The sun is just starting to rise, and it's time for me to relax with my coffee and catch up on email and social media. I'm hoping I'll be able to tell you about a ghost town when I write again. I just love a good ghost town, and I suspect there are plenty around here.