Another Day in Ouray, Colorado.

I stayed another day in Ouray, I wanted to go into the mountains.  I gave Bertha a break and took a 1/2 day trip with a local tour company.  We departed at 8:00 AM and returned to town at 12:00.  The trip was great and it was nice to have someone else driving so I could look at the wonderful scenery and relax.

Below,  a few pictures of the mountains around Ouray, Colorado.


Spend a Day in Ouray, Colorado.

North of Silverton about 25 miles is another gem of a former mining town, Ouray, Colorado.  Named after a Ute Indian Chief.  The town is also know as the “Switzerland of America” and the “Jeep” capital of the world.  It seems every 3rd vehicle is a Jeep.  The town is truly picturesque, I’m almost embarrassed to admit I have never heard mention of Ouray before!

Above, a bust of Chief Ouray in front of the Ouray Historical Society Museum.  The Museum houses a great collection of historical information of the town from its early mining days up to the present.  A visit to the Museum is a must!

Below, a plaque with more information about Chief Ouray in front of the site where his home once stood.

Above, Bertha takes a break on Main Street in Ouray, Colorado.

Above,  a view looking South on Main Street Ouray, Colorado.

Below,  a series of pictures from Box Canyon Falls in Ouray, Colorado.

Above, a shot of the beautiful turn of the century architecture in Ouray, Colorado.

Below, the Ouray County Courthouse, Ouray, Colorado.

Above, the Beaumont Hotel, Ouray, Colorado.  The Beaumont (French for Beautiful Mountain) is celebrating its 125 year anniversary this year.  The Hotel originally built in 1886, was re-opened in 2003 after a 5 year, 23 million dollar renovation.  It is truly a work of art.  It was restored to it’s original beauty after 35 years of neglect from the 1960s to the late 1990s.  At 1:00 PM daily, the Hotel offers a guided tour for 1 dollar.  I recommend you get to the Hotel in the morning and sign up for the tour.  It last about 30 mins and gives you some very interesting facts about the Hotel and some of its famous guests.

Below, a picture of the Grand Staircase in the beautiful Beaumont Hotel, Ouray, Colorado.

Above, the Front Desk at the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray, Colorado.

Below, a reminder of the importance mining played in the history of Ouray, Colorado.  Look carefully at the center of the picture and see the mine shaft building holding tight to the side of the mountain.


Silverton, Colorado

After an awesome 2 day visit to Durango (need to spend some more time there in the future), I drove North along HW 550 to Silverton.  The 50 mile dive took me about an hour and a 1/2.  The scenery was spectacular.  Pine and aspen covered mountains, waterfalls and beautiful meadows line the highway.  I stopped in Silverton for a  2 hour visit to see the numerous shops and the Silverton Muesum and Mining Heritage Center.  The Museum is extremely well done and well worth the $5.00 admission fee!  Silverton is a former silver mining town, it is now a federally designated National Landmark District.  Population is about 530 and it sits at 9,305 ft elevation.

Above, the scenery along HW 550 from Durango to Silverton, Colorado.
Below, the Durango-Silverton Train lets off passengers in Downtown Silverton, Colorado.

Above, a 19th Century Hotel in Silverton, Colorado.
Below, some of the many shops in Silverton, Colorado.

Below, 3 pictures are from the Silverton Museum, located next to the County Court House.
The old Jail at the Silverton Museum, imagine lugging that ball and chain around, even a few feet would be a challenge!
Above, a small sample of the extensive Mining Display in Silverton, Colorado

Above, a fixer-upper in Silverton, Colorado for sale!

Well it on to Ouray, Colorado…. clouds are setting in…….


A Day on the Animas River, Durango, Colorado.

Today I got out the “Innova Safari” inflatable kayak and spent about 4 hours on the Animas River here in Durango, Colorado.  I started about 4 miles North of Downtown Durango and paddled with the current toward downtown.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and I only encountered a few other paddlers.  After all the hard work I decided it was time for a late lunch!

Above,  The “Innova Safari” inflatable Kayak.  The great thing about the “Safari” model is that it is rated for Class 5 Rapids.  Now I am not skilled enough to do class 5 in it, but someone is!  Set up takes about 20 mins and the blue backpack carries all the equipment I need for a day on the river. It carries the kayak, pump, life vest, survival kit, paddle… etc.

Below, the “Innova Safari” set up and ready for the river.

Above, a view down river.

Below, few things beat a day on the river!


South West Colorado

I spent the night in the Four Corners desert… just next to a bush and a large rock.  It was quiet and the stars were out.  My improvised campsite was at the foot of a small mountain.  A rancher passed as the sun was setting and didn’t even blink an eye at my campsite, I’m sure he has seen it before.  He did offered up some advice.  He said there was at least one Mountain Lion in the area and it was best to hike in a small group and make noise?  Ok, the night hike to the top of the mountain (probably where “mountain” lions live) will be postponed until I can get a “group” together!
I got a great night’s rest and started my day early.  I continued into South West Colorado, Cortez to be exact.  Really neat little town.  It appears to be the jumping off point for Mesa Verde National Park.  I saw the park before with my family in 1976 and imagine that the cliff dwellings, long since abandoned, haven’t changed much in the last 35 years, so I didn’t visit the Park this trip.  I did visit the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colorado (10 miles North of Cortez).  What an exceptional Museum.  It is a must see for anyone interested in the Puebloan Indian Cultures.

Above, the Cortez Cultural Center.

East Main Street Bank, Cortez, Colorado.

A small storefront in Cortez, Colorado.  A plaque on the facade stated that the second floor of the building was the town’s first movie theater in the 1920s and that Jack Dempsey boxed there in the 1930s!

Above, a turn of the century building in Dolores, Colorado.
Below, the Dolores River running through Dolores, Colorado.

Below, another building facade in Dolores, Colorado with the mountains in the background.

Above, The Anasazi Heritage Center in Delores, Colorado.
Below, the Chuska Puma greets visitors to the Center, Dolores, Colorado.


Bertha Does Monument Valley, Utah.

At about 9:00 this morning I departed Flagstaff, Arizona after 4 great days.  I headed North on HW 89 in the direction of Monument Valley, Utah.  I by-passed the Grand Canyon as I have already seen it a few times and had never seen Monument Valley until today!  It doesn’t take long heading North out of Flagstaff to only see the Ponderosa Pines in your rear view mirror.  As I descended out of the mountains the terrain quickly became flatter, more arid and of course hotter, maybe mountains are not bad after all.

I stopped at the Cameron Trading Post (see picture below) and traded some glass beads for gold.  One can never have too much gold in today’s economy!

Above and Below, The Cameron Trading Post, founded in 1916, is 54 miles North of Flagstaff, Arizona along HW 89.
Above, the bridge next to the trading post along HW 89, no longer in use.
Above and Below, shots of the view along the beginning of the Monument Valley Loop Drive. 
Above, the Three Sisters in Monument Valley, Utah.
Below,  Bertha grabs the spotlight again!
Above, Bertha takes a break from the washboard road condition on the 17 mile loop through Monument Valley, while I look for a bush to hydrate!
Below, a parting shot of Monument Valley.
Above, A new Lance Camper is stranded near the entrance to Monument Valley, maybe I should pull it out?
Below, the ground marker at the 4 Corners Monument.
Late in the day I stopped at the 4 Corners Monument.  Yes I did, I stood on the marker and tried to have my legs and arms in all 4 states at once.  Well everyone was doing it!
Great day today!  New sights, new people, new places….. Now it’s time to find some place to sleep….. I have 4 states to choose from…. let me see…


Honest Disclosure…. Because Honesty is the Best Policy!

I enjoy getting questions and comments from my Blog Readers!  I want to be honest in my postings.  Since May of 2011, I have been living in my Truck Camper.  I have traveled from Kentucky to California and now I am kinda on my way back to Kentucky.  Along the way I have stayed in the camper most of the time.  As I have visited friends along the way, I have spent some nights in their homes.  While on the road, 75% of the time I have spent boon-docking in the camper, and 25% in campgrounds.  I like people and it’s nice to meet new people from all over the globe in campgrounds.  So you will see postings of me in both campgrounds and boon-docking!  I sold my brick house in Aug of 2010 and put most of my worldly possessions in storage.  What I need to live from day to day is with me in my “Bigfoot” truck camper affectionately named Big-Bertha!  I welcome all questions!


Day Hike Essential Gear

Today I took another hike.  I didn’t go very far, about 3 miles, but I still took a small kit with me that contains essential gear for even a short hike (See picture below).

List of Items;
– “Camelback” Hydration System, holds 3 liters of water and other essential gear listed below.
– First Aid Kit (I attach it to the bottom of the camelback backpack with small snap links).
-Ace Bandage / sling bandage.
-“Steripen” water purifier.
-Water purification tablets.
-Folding Knife.
-Latex Gloves, 2 pairs.
-Head Lamp.
-Signal Mirror.
-Signal Whistle

Not Shown in picture but carried in my pockets or on my person;
-MRE toilet paper (always welcome, even on the shortest hikes especially after eating burritos).
-550 para-cord, 20 ft.
-Energy Bar or two.
-Cell phone.

All gear fits into the “Camelback” backpack or the First Aid Kit that attaches to the backpack.

Water is life and I believe that some way to purify water is essential.  The “Steripen” unit I have comes with a solar case that charges it and can also charge my cell phone when necessary.
Why a headlamp instead of a flashlight?  Because a headlamp allows you to keep your hands free to work with or break your fall.  Why a big First Aid Kit, I just like it!


Kelty “Car-Port” a Good Piece of Gear!

Today I decided to put up some shade at my camp site.  It was getting hot and my camper doesn’t have an awning so I broke out the “Kelty Car-Port.”  I have not used it in a few years but luckily I saved the directions and set up was pretty easy.  “The Car-Port” is light-weight, easy to assemble and very versatile.  It can be set up with the forward edge on the ground, as I have done today (see picture below).  You can also set it up with the long two front legs that give it sufficient room for a 6 ft tall person to easily stand under.  When in the low position, you can deploy the side flaps giving you protection from the sun in all directions.  In the future I will try to post information about equipment I use that I think is “a good piece of gear.”

 I give the Kelty Car-Port 4 Big-Feet out of a possible 5

Above,  Instant (well almost instant) SHADE.  The “Kelty Car-Port” deployed next to Bertha to add shade to the campsite!