Silverton, Colorado

Hey there, my fiends! We're back in cell signal land! Yahoo! Did you miss me? Man, I sure missed you guys. Holy smokes, we have a lot of catching up to do. Would it surprise you to know that all the time we've been offline, I've been thinking about how to catch y'all up? I think I have it figured out, but you'll have to bear with me for a couple of days. As the title would indicate, we're in Silverton now.

When last I wrote, we were still in Green River, Utah. So, let's just back up to last Monday, and go from there, shall we? I'll tell you about our time on the road between Green River and Silverton. Over the next few days we'll travel through time, and I'll tell you about three days of ATV riding and a visit to a quilt shop in Montrose, Colorado.

Just before leaving Green River, I snapped this picture of the toys we picked up in the morning. Sadie pulled out all these toys for her playing pleasure. She does this every night. Smitty plays with them too, but Sadie is the real instigator.

And remember the escarpment I told you about? It followed us all the way to Grand Junction, Colorado, where we turned south and lost sight of it.

From Green River, we didn't have to drive far to cross the state line into Colorado. 

We'd lost sight of the black-eyed Susans while we were in Utah, but found them growing along both sides of the road when we reached Colorado.

We crossed over the Gunnison River just before reaching Grand Junction. This is the river responsible for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park...a place we visited last time we were in Colorado. You can read my old blog post right here. We'd already planned to stop at the Wal-Mart in Grand Junction to pick up a few things. There was a quilt shop practically right next door to the Wal-Mart, but there was so much road construction, we were discouraged from stopping. No worries, I knew we'd find another one in Montrose.

We saw quite a few barns along the way.

It wasn't a long day of driving, and we reached our final destination of Ridgway State Park early in the afternoon. The park has at least three sections.

We were staying in the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk section. As the sign indicates, that translates into "Cow Creek."

And that was pretty much all I had to tell you about our day of driving. We were chagrined to find out that US Hwy 550 (the Million Dollar Highway) had a major road closure between Ouray, Colorado (more about that in a future post), and where the staging areas were for our ATV riding. A large road crew was involved in wildfire mitigation efforts. When we learned of this, we planned our first day of riding on the Ouray side of the closure. We'd been given some information about when the road was open during certain times of the day, and for our second day, we read up and planned our outing. 

Supposedly the road was closed starting at 8:30 a.m. on week days. Then it was open during the noon hour. Then closed again between 1:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. (On Friday it opened at 4:00 p.m.) Also, it was open all day on Saturday and Sunday. The printed information we were given also said that vehicles returning to Ouray could pass through at any time. That last part is where things went awry. 

So, on our second day of riding, we flew out early to get through before the road closed at 8:30 a.m. We had a marvelous day of riding. (Rest assured, I will tell you all about it in a future post.) On our return trip, we reached the area of closure at 1:06 p.m., believing the printed sheet we had with us that said we could return at any time. And wouldn't you know it? Of course, there was a flagger there. The road was closed until 5:30 p.m. We registered a protest...loudly, but politely. I even used my social worker voice. No dice. Despite the fact that we showed them the printed sheet with the insignias of both the Colorado Department of Transportation and the utility company they worked for, the San Miguel Power Association, they were unmoved. We were stuck there until 5:30 p.m. Major bummer.

Oh well. We decided to drive into Silverton and pass the time there. So, I'm going to tell you about Silverton now, but know that these pictures were taken last Wednesday...not that it matters, but details, my friends. And Silverton...whoa. It reminded me a lot of Tombstone without all the carnival barkers trying to separate us from our money. Everything here is very old...even the homes. You can read about Silverton's history right here. It's very interesting. The entire area is designated as a National Historic Landmark District. It's my understanding the designation conveys certain benefits, and in exchange, nothing can be changed without applying for permission.

We walked both sides of the street. It was a windows and walls kind of day. I loved all the old structures. We had some lunch, and then just wandered around. 

I don't have a lot to say about these pictures, and so I'll just let you see what we saw.

I took this picture for the year it was built...amazing.

And this was kind of fun. This image and the one that follows go together. It makes sense when you think about it. This whole area is filled with abandoned mines. It's history is all about mining, and so imagine those miners getting off work and coming to Silverton to spend their hard-earned wages. What amazed me was that it was still operating as a bordello into the 1950's.

Here's how it looks today. Be sure and notice the antique bicycles parked out front.

Here's the old Silverton jail from 1883.

This hardware holding it together was interesting.

Here's how it looked from the side. Sorry about the lens flare.

Directly across from the jail was this structure.

Some of the sidewalks were lined with hitching posts, and I liked the horseshoes embedded in this boardwalk.

The cats are well represented in Silverton. 

We saw these pretty blooming things.

And by then, we decided enough time had passed that we could head back. There's an area along the way where an old mining operation is being restored. These two homes were in one of the hairpin turns.

On one structure was this sign, and you can read about The Trust for Land Restoration right here.

In this next image, you can see a part of the old railroad trestle and a mining building beyond. The canyon is so narrow here that the railroad required a turntable where the locomotive was loaded on, then turned to go back in the other direction.

Here is an informational sign about the area.

Eventually, we made our way back to the southern end of the road closure. We had to wait about 45 minutes. While we watched, a helicopter was picking up huge trees, seemingly by the roots, although I think they were already cut. He lifted them out of the forest, and then deposited them by the side of the road where a crane loaded them onto a log truck.

As we sat, I noticed this "dugout" in the hillside to my right.

After a long day of riding, followed by walking, and waiting, and killing time, we were pretty happy to get back to the state park. I'll have more to say about Silverton, no doubt, but this might whet your appetite for what is to come. We are here for the next four nights.

Since last we talked, I finished two more thimbles. These haven't been pressed, nor is the Sticky-Fabri-Solvy rinsed from them, but I think you can still get the idea. There's a whole lotta stitching in these two.

This next one was just finished this morning.

This RV park where we are staying is as rustic as the rest of Silverton, and the Silverton-Durango Railroad runs right behind us. Just after we arrived, it rolled past, blowing it's VERY LOUD WHISTLE. Sadie didn't like that and retreated to her safe harbor in the cubby.

Okay, and that's all I have for today. If I'm terribly energetic, I may write another before the day's end. There's going to be more riding here, and I'll be accumulating more and more things to tell you. It'll be good to get caught up.

I hope y'all have been behaving yourselves while we've been out of touch. Here's hoping nobody got sick, nobody broke any bones, nobody encountered any mayhem, and all the rest. Just be safe and healthy, my friends. We've been enjoying some spectacular scenery here in Colorful Colorado. There is much more to come.


Barbara said...

But if I could go back in time, I wouldn't do a single thing differently. What if all those things I did were the things that got me here? ~ Cheryl Strayed.

Mary C said...

Great to hear from you! Nice to know you're just a couple of hours from my home base in Denver. I look forward to hearing about Montrose.

Quilting Babcia said...

So fun seeing your photos. I was in Silverton and Ouray, a long-long time ago, probably 50 years or so, camping out in a little two-person tent. Beautiful country.

Tilly said...

Love the pictures,like wandering into a western movie.
Have a nice time, greetings.

Christine said...

Super post. There's me been working all hours just to kill time while you're gadding about....lol
Thanks again for sharing.
BTW I think I'm falling in love with barns....a couple of great ones today.

Teresa said...

Great pictures and information about the places. Thanks for sharing.

Cherie in St Louis said...

I enjoy your postings taking us along for the ride. As a teenager, I traveled with my family during the summers and remember riding the Durango-Silverton train. So sorry it scared Miss Sadie.

Kate said...

Silverton was really cool. We only stayed for a day. Sorry about the road closures. We had to deal with that on our way back to Denver. I guess they can't do road work in the winter. Even in May there were places along the Million Dollar Highway that still had snow. Looking forward to hearing more about your Ouray part of the visit.

piecefulwendy said...

We took that train up to Silverton when we visited several years ago. I'm trying to recall where we ate in Silverton, but I do remember all the old buildings. I'm sure that whistle in your backyard wasn't too pleasant for the kitties, or you!

Anonymous said...

We visited the Oasis Bordello Museum in Wallace, Idaho. It was supposedly open until 1988 ... hard to believe! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Gosh, I love travel through the lens of your camera! Closest I'll ever get to seeing any of it for myself. Just think, if you had gotten through around 1 as you had planned, you would have missed seeing those amazing buildings!