Monday, July 27, 2009

Colorado Day 4

Monday, July 27, 2009: We got an early start today, waking up at 7:00am. We made sure we were driving out of the hotel parking lot (after a small continental breakfast) by 8:15. We went back to the alpine slide this morning and got there when they opened at 9:00am. We did have to wait a little while because the slides were still wet from yesterday but by 9:30, they were open. So the 4 of us all rode halfway up the mountain on a ski lift and then got off to ride down the alpine slide. Although B2 has rode one in the past (in Gatlinburg in 2005), I really don’t think she remembered it all that well and she really liked it today! B1 does remember the last one and she too enjoyed this one. Bruce and I both thought this slide was longer than the ones we have been on in the past. It was a lot of fun! We left there in plenty of time to drive back to Durango (25 miles) and then headed to the train depot/bus stop. We chose to ride a bus to Silverton, CO and the bus left at 11:00am. It was a very interesting drive. The driver was full of knowledge and talked nonstop the entire way there. Once we saw the town of Silverton (from atop a mountain), it was as if someone dropped a handful of buildings in the middle of a bunch of mountains….. seriously, it was really cool! Our bus dropped us off at the Silverton train depot and we had 2 hours to eat and look around. There is only one paved road in Silverton; the rest are dirt/gravel. We ate lunch at Natalia’s restaurant and it was quick and good. Then we walked around and looked in several of the shops. After speaking to some of the townspeople, we found out that Silverton is an old mining town and they are trying to preserve it and not let it become too commercialized. When people who live there want to go to the grocery store, it is over an hour drive, through the mountains, to Durango. I think the nearest mall is in Durango as well. Therefore, when they do go grocery shopping, they stock up big time! The school has about 80 students in it and last year, there was ONE high school graduate! Amazing. It was a very neat little town. I would have liked to have been able to spend more time there. At 2:30, we boarded the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train to ride back to Durango. We were booked in an open air gondola, which meant that we did have a roof over our heads but the sides of the car were open to the air. We liked this better than we would have the closed sides. The scenery on the ride back was beautiful. We all took lots of pictures! At one point, the train was hugging the side of the mountain with the river and a gorge far below! Very neat! We managed to visit the concession car a couple of times during the 3.5 hour trip. We returned to Durango at 6:20pm, headed to the car, and began driving east. Our hotel for tonight is in Pagosa Springs, CO and is called the Oakridge Lodge. It is about 60 miles from Durango. On the way to the hotel, we stopped about halfway at a Long John Silver’s / A&W Root Beer for supper. Once we checked in (about 8:30), we all went to the indoor heated pool to swim. We also spent a little time in the hot tub, which felt really good. Now we are headed to bed and will get up early again tomorrow.

B2 at the end of the alpine slide

B1 at the end of the alpine slide

Silverton.....surrounded by mountains on every side!

Our family at lunch

A sign in the window of the place where we ate lunch!

Looking down the one paved street in Silverton.....
Our family ready to ride the train!

View on the way back to Durango

Part of the Arkansas River

This was taken from high atop a cliff while the train was moving. That's the river below!

Here is the train, winding through the mountaing!

This is a pretty cool picture.....see the train track on the left side, winding around the bend; see the river below; see the mountain in the background.

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