ESTES PARK, COLORADO

Wow, what a fabulous little town.  All the National and public campgrounds were packed so we stayed at Spruce Lake RV park.  We were disappointed at first not staying in one of the campgrounds but this RV Park is nice and very convenient to everything.  There are a several restaurants, a grocery store, and the free public shuttle all within a very short walking distance.  If you are traveling in an RV you can find parking downtown at the visitor center and also at the Library.  They do allow overnight camping but the parking spots are very limited.

We enjoyed sightseeing and walking around this beautiful town.  The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival was going on celebrating the summer solstice with music, dancing, Scandinavian culture education, food, and various vendors.  We also rented a jeep from Backbone Adventures to drive the very rough off-road trails on the edge of the Roosevelt Forest.  Lonnie very much enjoyed driving this challenging road.  The jeep literally went over boulders, sideways along the road wash-out areas and straight up and straight down — very bumpy ride — yet worth the trip.  The scenery was also divine.

We have been enjoying the temperatures, highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s with very low humidity.  This climate just makes one feel energized and want to spend as much time outside as possible.  Considering our hometown, Austin, Texas temperatures in the 100’s.  No wonder so many Texan’s travel to Colorado.

Million Dollar Highway

We began our day by driving the Million Dollar Highway from Ridgeway to Silverton Colorado.  This is one of America’s most spectacular drives with jaw-dropping vistas, it is about 25 miles long and was built in the 1880’s.  You can forget about any standard safety measures like guardrails or shoulders because there aren’t any.   It is a very narrow two lane road with a cliff on one side and shear steep drop off on the other, the grade is 8% with switchback turns that have a maximum speed of 15 mph, and just to make it more interesting there is an occasional bicyclist or two that appears directly in front of you as you round the turn.   Thankful we made the drive with no problems and stopped in Silverton for breakfast.  We found a small café, Kendall’s café on Main Street.  The breakfast was one of the best we have ever had and that’s saying a lot because we have consumed many a breakfasts.  Then off to the Silverton Miners Museum that was next door.  It was originally a jail built in 1902, additional houses have been built around the jail to create a fascinating museum featuring not only the restoration of the jail, but with exhibits of mining life, mining technology of its day, tools, equipment and so much more.  The building is 3 stories tall and with an underground tunnel.  One of the more interesting museums we have experienced.  Their goal is to give you a mining experience and they did that very well.

The Million Dollar Highway is part of the San Juan Skyway, so we completed our scenic loop of the Skyway back in Durango where we made a short stop at the 24 acre dog park for Vegas to get some needed exercise before our long drive to Red River New Mexico.