Road Trip

Before the snows return, I thought it was time to take a few days off and see some more of this incredible state. I turned off my computer last Tuesday and drove down to the southwest part of Colorado to see some places I had heard about.

Silverton is a tiny old mining town; you’d expect to see a picture of it in the dictionary under “quaint.”

And Ouray: one of the most spectacular small towns I’ve ever been in. An amazing oasis in the middle of impossibly steep mountain slopes. While driving up toward the pass to leave town, we spotted a passenger in an incoming car with a video camera out the window, trying to record the awesome sight unfolding before him. Good luck, buddy!

I almost hated to pull back into the driveway this afternoon and boot up the box again. It was an awesome trip, and I’ll be going back to see more of Ouray as soon as I get a chance. As for Silverton, next time I plan to go in by the narrow gauge railroad from Durango; looks like an exquisite way to travel in that part of the country.

Readers Love It Too

In response to the above in the newsletter, Chelle, who didn’t say where in the U.S. she was from, was one of many who wrote appreciative notes about last week’s description of my vacation trip to Southwest Colorado. She wrote:

I loved your note about Ouray! I got to visit there over Christmas last year and… wow!! It was even amazing at night, as the layer of steam settled over the town, and driving in on the road above, Ouray was just a glowing disc below. My reason for seeking out this tiny town was that my favorite author, Ayn Rand, used it as the setting for ‘Galt’s Gulch’, a hidden place in the mountains, in Atlas Shrugged.

Road Trip
Ouray — “An amazing oasis in the middle of impossibly steep mountain slopes.” See what I mean?! I took this photo much later — from an angle even few locals get to see.

I didn’t know that, Chelle! I had a picture in my mind as I read A.S. of what “Galt’s Gulch” must look like, and I must say, Ouray had that mental picture beat!

But not everyone loved my talking so glowingly about Colorado. Bill writes:

Look, Randy, since I think I live just up the hill from you in Estes Park, would you mind awfully not violating the unwritten Colorado Code? You are supposed to tell everyone that Colorado sucks. Look what is happening to the front range. Like the Indians used to say, ‘Don’t these visitors have a home?’

I know what you mean, Bill. Whenever the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl showed how nice it was in Pasadena in January, I cringed at the thought of all the people in the Northeast, huddled by their TVs for warmth. I could just hear them yelling into the kitchen, “Ethel! Pack everything up! We’re moving to Cal-uh-FORN-yuh!”

So when you’re ready to pack up for Col-uh-RAD-uh, think about our big blizzard last October! I wasn’t kidding when I said I rushed south before the snows came; odds are, it’ll snow here before the month is out. But no, I don’t miss Pasadena….

– – –

I liked the area so much that, five years later, I moved there — to Ouray County. Rather than live in Ouray, which is in a tight valley (not much sun!), I chose a mesa just outside Ridgway with views of the two mountain ranges that create the valley Ouray is in. And fair warning: it’s a fantastic place to vacation, but don’t move here unless you can bring your job with you, like I did!

 

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