We stopped at Nature’s Oasis, in Durango before heading north. It is a Whole Foods type of place, with the Aspen crowd thing happening. Get some munchies and water. 1123 Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO, (970) 247-1988
After all the travel, we checked the old AAA TourBook and found an idea for Carbondale, Colorado. Why not. We pulled into Restaurant SIX89, an old house on the main drag, looking very empty. Snuck around front, walked in. Deserted. Found a dude behind the bar. Can we get an early dinner? Sure, he said, we are just not quite open yet. Turns out he is the owner, sets us up with a glass of wine, and we set a spell at the bar chatting until the waitress comes out and seats us.
Good service. Good food. Good stuff. Recommended.
RESTAURANT SIX89, 689 Main Street Carbondale, CO 970 963 6890
Another 12 mile drive up and down and left and right. Slow going (book said allow 45 mins). Boy I wish I had a manual transmission — why did Volvo not supply a 2nd gear?
Arrived to see the ranger shed next to the parking lot, and trams lined up. We had the last tour at 5PM, and the ranger offered us the earlier trip, but we declined and chose to walk down the XXXXX path to see XXXXX.
If you go here, bring lots of water. I filled up 3 times. Go for the Nalgene 32 oz bottle too — the 16 oz is too small.
Then we took the tram ride tour to the Long House. Way cool, Bette’s favorite.
We took the morning bus tour. It was part of the AAA Rails to Trails package, and I was concerned it would be a waste of time. Not to worry. We had a great driver. She took us around the loop drive, talking about things we might not have picked up
She also recommended the XXXXX as a side trip, as it was close to the Visitor Center. We did that after the Weatherill Mesa jaunt in the afternoon.
It is a 15 mile drive into the park. Pay toll at entrance. Drive up and down and back and forth etc. etc. Get used to it here.
Arrived, checked in. The babe we got at the counter was a jerk — thanks Aramark.
But the view from our balcony was worth it. Had some wine and munchies for dinner. No TV. No cellphone reception. Nice.
Nice trip. The website has a lot of info. I got some neat pictures that I am using for wallpaper of rocks.
If we did it again, we would copy from the Grandparents and their 5 grandkids we met on the trip. They rode up, and rented a SUV trip on the way down to see some of the passes. Great idea. The downward trip is nice, but how many rocks can you look at? Plus, locomotives don’t have low gear — you just use brakes. So it smells like hot brakes all the way down for 3 hours.
We got back to Durango station at 5:30P. Off to Mesa Verde!
Arrived in Durango, and found that the Hampton Inn had our reservation screwed up. Must have been when I shifted our package one day earlier.
RULE: Always call the hotel directly to confirm reservations when in a package deal.
Bette was able to rough up the help enough to let us stay (the ladies at the desk were very helpful, and bumped another guy who had not arrived yet.)
We asked the desk people about restaurants, and the one brewpub fan (in Colorado, brewery capital of the US) recommended one of two places. I picked Steamworks.
Four words: Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing. YUM!!!! ok, five words. And good burgers. Lovely seating on the balcony. And a college geology trip with lots of interesting characters to eavesdrop on.
Then took a walk toward the train station to scope out parking. The waiter told us to park in the lot next to McDonald’s. We found McD and the parking lot, and were ready for the next day.
We drove for 20 minutes up a steep winding gravel road. As we got out of the car in the parking lot, I noticed hissing. Opening the hood, I saw no split hoses, but all the coolant had come out of the reservoir.
No cell phone reception, so might as well hike. Worry about the car later.
Followed by the Boy Scout troop from the Dunes, we hiked 20 minutes up a steep rocky trail. Then along a COLD running stream with some tricky boulders for 500 yards. The falls were up a shelf, and dumped into a pool. Looked neat, but we decided against risking certain damage.
On the way down, the reservoir warning light went on. Back down the road to the general store, where they wanted $15 for a gallon of antifreeze. No thanks. Got an ice cream bar and we are off, back West through Alamosa on our way to Durango.
Highlight of Bette’s Trip. (Park website) Big Sand Dunes in the middle of nowhere. Emily’s stepdad recommended we try sliding down the dunes on cardboard. We climbed up halfway and tried to slide down on pices of the cut up Jeopardy board. The coefficient of friction makes for slow going, especially for a fat-ass like me.
- Make the pieces bigger or bring a saucer. I don’t think that would work anyway. Big sheets might, to distribute the weight.
- Go early in the day (gets real hot out there) (good advice, Emily’s stepdad).
- Bring a hang glider. Much better dunes than Outer Banks.
We hiked about a bit to get an look over the dunes from 400 feet up, then back along the river. Which was dry. Hot Hot Hot.
Stayed at the Inn of the Rio Grande. Kind of an interesting place. 50’s ish — but had a waterpark. Nobody there. Room was basic and clean. Restaurant was good basic breakfast (included). Dusty plastic plants.
We were in Denver for Rob and Emilie’s wedding.
Rehearsal Dinner was at Bob’s Steak and Chop House, 121 Clayton Lane, Denver. Great place — old school steak house.