July 4th Weekend, 2019
July 4 Celebration with Mark & Diann - Durango / Mesa Verde / Jeep tour / Train Ride / Crested Butte road

Do the trek from Fort Collins to Durango. I took the US-286 route southwest from Denver instead of taking either Interstate (I-70 west to Grand Junction then south or I-25 south then west to Durango). Some of the central valley roads, how long they travel with nary a bend in the road, is curious. This was, I think, the second time visiting Wolf Creek Pass. It has some substantial parts.

Today is a guided Mesa Verde tour. The three of us will drive to the north end of town to meet our tour guide. The four of us will be driven to Mesa Verde with information of the place and people. Mesa Verde is an interesting place. For people to think - let's live here and store crops here. Different times.

The three of us drove to the tour shop at the north end of town to jump into their tour bus for the drive to Silverton. At Silverton we split into groups for the 4x4 tour. We went northeast out of town and up Minnie Gulch to where the trail/road was blocked by snow from an avalanche. From there we went down the trail and up to the Eureka townsite for a bit of history. Leaving there we went back to town with enough time to find lunch. A short walk over to the train we started rolling south towards Durango. It was a great day to be outside - for both the jeep trip and the train trip. We found some supper and then set out near the hotel to watch the fireworks show.

I would split apart from Mark and Diann. My goal was to 1) see Telluride via the typical asphalt road in and out of town and 2) travel the road between Crested Butte and the Paonia Reservoir (and somewhat see Crested Butte - didn't much happen - time was lacking). I chuckle as the "big rock" that rolled down the moutainside and wrecked CO-145 between Doloris and Rico would be the road I would travel - and I MISSED SEEING THE BIG ROCK AT THE ROADSIDE. There was one construction zone - and I recall looking at the license plate of the car ahead - I roll my eyes. V-8 head slap anyone? Anyway, the mountain scenery on the way to Telluride was nice. Telluride wasn't too much of a parking lot and I was able to get in and out easily enough - with a few photos of the Black Bear Pass trail that I traveled in 2015 with Ken.

Out from Telluride I helped a couple with a flat tire. They didn't have the security key and were stuck. I gave'm a ride to north of Montrose where I split east towards Gunnison and Crested Butte. I planned to camp somewhere west of Crested Butte but the campgrounds and passenger-car-accessible forest campsites were taken. I looked at the time and the distance and decided I could "freeway it home" and be home by around 1am. The scenery on the road was GREAT and is an area I'd consider visiting again (camping and visiting some local trails).

I had a treat of following a freight train east through Glenwood Canyon and that ended the photos for the day.

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