We landed in Hesperus following a short scouting trip on a Sunday morning after spending a night at Mancos State Park. We weren’t sure that the area’s National Forests would be open to vehicle travel yet, but, surprise! They were.
Apparently Colorado had a pretty light year in terms of snow, which was great for us in April when we wanted to park Dyna on some public lands.
We settled on a spot in the San Juan National Forest on Madden Peak Road. It was a pretty swell spot. Mountain views and dirt roads for miles, which provided great running opportunities. It was also quiet, provided room for Lucy to explore outside, and was pretty close to Durango, CO.
Launching from our spot on Madden Peak Road, we spent an afternoon driving the Jeep down The Million Dollar Highway to see what was up in Silverton and Ouray. And also just to drive The Million Dollar Highway. Because it’s a spectacle in itself. It would have been an even bigger spectacle if we had driven it in Dyna. But we didn’t drive it in Dyna. The highway has very steep grades and very very twisty roads. Driving Dyna down such a route would have been stupid. We decided not to be stupid.
Silverton was pretty sleepy when we walked around the small town early on a Sunday afternoon in April. A shop owner there let us know that not much would be open for another few weeks when tourism kicks up again. It was the kind of town I picture when I think of Colorado towns. It sits in the pit of a valley, surrounded by looming mountains, and watered by orange tinged streams.
Ouray had a bit more going on when we arrived there later that day. And by ‘more going on’ I mean the chocolate store was open. We took advantage of that. We also popped into Maggie’s Kitchen to fill our bellies before the return trek down the Million Dollar Highway. The burgers at Maggies were good – especially the veggie variety. There was a brewery next door to Maggies called Mr Grumpy Pants Brewery. The beer was drinkable. The brewery owner was, in fact, grumpy. Ouray was cool.
Having Dyna parked about 20 minutes outside of Durango, CO let us venture into town a few times after work during the week. We only ended up staying a few days in our sweet Madden Road spot before moving on, so I definetely feel drawn to come back and feel out Durango a bit more. There were some coffee shops that were calling my name.
Also, it’s the kind of place that does cat yoga. And has a fresh juice shop next door to the laundry mat. And homes with signs in the yard that campaign for cattle instead of condos. I guess in Durango you must make a choice.
While we were in Durango we found decent homemade ice cream, drank some beers on the patio of Steamworks Brewing, and had dinner at a Himalayan restaurant which we thought was good, although I wouldn’t deem us ‘Himalayan food connoisseurs.’
Before any of us were really ready, we decided to move along East to check out a new area of Colorado. We’re being pulled East by plans that are a bit out in the future, meaning we couldn’t embrace Durango and its offer of cat yoga as fully as we would have liked.
Speaking of cats…
Warning: Cat gush post incoming….
Look at that face!
I mean, sometimes I’m pretty sure that face was born wherever it is that naughty cats are born. Like when she prances out of the RV when she *knows* she’s not supposed to and won’t come back in or let us catch her until she forgets that she is not supposed to be outside and randomly and suddenly comes galavanting up to us asking to be held again.
She’s a horrible traveler. As soon as we start packing up the rig (she notes when we turn our captains chairs into ‘driving position’) she retreats to her igloo cat house and pouts – pretending to sleep until we pull into our next destination. She knows we’ve arrived when Jake leaves the RV (to check in or direct my parking).
She runs an incessant campaign for food – having to be reminded several times an hour between the hours of 11am and 7pm that ‘no, it is not dinner time yet’.
Lately she has been shedding like a sheep being sheared at a 4-H fair. This means I have to vacuum every day. Vacuuming means Lucy is forced to hiss at me (the vacuum) until the vacuuming is over. Just in case anyone forgot that she hates vacuums.
But damnit, LOOK AT HER!
She is incredibly loving and snuggly. She spends the day strategically sitting in different places in the rig in strange, adorable positions.
And she has that face.
She comes to bed ‘early’ with me, takes a nap there for an hour or at least until I’ve fallen asleep, then returns to the front of the rig to wait with Jake while he finishes work for the night. When he comes to bed she comes to bed for the night and sleeps at our feet.
She gently pats you when she wants to be pet.
If you ignore her gentle pats, you might then get firm head butts, then even firmer ‘taps’. Then she’ll just mount you like you are a horse and purr. She recognizes that sometimes you don’t even know how much you need to be loved by her. But don’t worry, she’ll persist until you realize the errors in your ways.
She doesn’t do any tricks. She thinks her name is the clucking sound Jake makes at her. She has proactively taken the first step in re-upholstering our ottoman (removing the old fabric) without being asked to do so.
But, she’s our girl.