As we ate eggs and turkey bacon the little dog came over to visit. He was expecting more snacks after he was lucky enough to get some graham crackers. This morning he wasn't as lucky since we were hungry! I caved and he was able to beg a piece of a blueberry muffin off me.
We headed down the hill. From 11,000 down to 7500 in just a few minutes. We headed towards Cortez a bit so we could take a road we'd never been on.
This road took us by, according to the map, Stoner Ski area. We saw a Stoner Ranch which was where this old, now closed, ski resort was. Funny name. (sorry, didn't get a pic as there was no where to pull over and the motor cycles wouldn't have appreciated an emergency braking maneuver) You could see the old runs with small trees starting to grow up in the middle of them. You could also see the old lift equipment still there. For the record I want to live on an old ski resort. I can see it now. "Come on over for a BBQ and all the free skiing you can handle!"
Nice piece of tarmac.
As we approached Dunton Hot Springs we saw some amazing homes. This is clearly a high dollar area. Homes are boring so I took a pic of this classic truck in someones yard instead.
You may have seen a show about vacation get aways including these hot springs. They are private and VERY expensive. Nice looking place. Not remote enough for me. :-)
The resort is comprised of restored historic old mine related buildings. The resort is supposedly an entire old town. I actually like it. Here is a link to the duntonhotsprings.com site.
As we crested the peak a few miles past Dunton the views were spectacular. Definitely worth the side trip.
Eventually we dropped down to the highway below.
Then on to Ophir!
Heading into Ophir.
Not a bad place to live! I love this little town. I'd prefer it over Telluride which is just up the road. I've never seen so many Sportsmobiles in any place besides the Overland Expo!! That's just a sign of a good town right there.
It's cheap as compared to Telluride, but expensive when you try to figure out where you're going to work! If I ever figure it out we will be quietly moving to Ophir, Ouray or Durango.
After town you head up a little strip of dirt trail to the pass.
As we drove up the trail in low range, for added torque up the steep trail, we see a person running up it! Yes, running! We're back up at 11,000 feet. Wow! My lungs hurt watching him.
As we pulled up behind him he finally turned around surprised. I guess we had snuck up on him. The 4runner does that a lot.
After talking to him for a while we learned he had graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango and moved to Telluride. He got stuck on the top of Ophir Pass the night before due to the road being washed out.
Sure enough we had seen a tractor coming down the hill just a bit back down the hill. We offered to give him a ride, but with the interior filled with our bed I offered him a ride on the slider while holding onto the roof rack. I've used this technique before to shuttle 4-6 people a short distance. Sketchy looking, but it works.
In this photo you can see one of two sections that gave way and were cleaned up by the tractor.
Looking back towards Ophir.
Wow, just looking at this shot makes me want to be back there. You can see the road we just ascended on the right.
All of these shelf roads seem to hang onto the mountain as if they pegged in place by some invisible rigging and cables. They just don't seem possible... Clearly after coming across several land slides on this trip they all need a lot of maintenance to stay intact.
1 lift ticket, GOING UP!
We stopped at the pass. I decided to take a little hike up to one of the peaks.
Some pretty growths on the rocks up here. There isn't much else growing at this elevation.
Up at the top.
Looking toward Silverton.
Silverton. We made it! Another one of our favorite towns. Such a great place.
Just a quick note. It's not a motorcycle. Sorry.
I had to get a picture of this underground house. Well, partially underground. I love it.
We sat in the town park and ate our turkey and jalapeno jack cheese sandwiches. It is such a picturesque and peaceful place. No a single person around. ahhhhh! It was one of those spots you could just sit all day. Alas, there is too much I am dying to see!
We then headed over to the local museum.
Part of the museum is inside the old jail.
I love manufacturer plates. Often it brings to the forefront of your mind the effort and extreme hard work necessary to bring these newly manufactured items to the remote mountains of Colorado long ago. Think about it. To get this giant here today would be an undertaking. Now make all the roads here dirt, take away gasoline engine trucks and replace them with horses and trains.
Enough telephone lines for the whole town.
And old drill. Looks like a heavy and beastly thing to wield.
Great shot of a prospector, back in the day.
The museum had just about every era of equipment from the beginning until the local mines shut down in the 60's.
They had some of the most beautiful old wood stoves I've ever seen. A whole collection of them. Here is just one of the many.
A little mining city gambling. You have to get rid of that paycheck before you go back deep into the mountains for more!
Better than walking up the hill to work. These guys had nerves of steel.
Main Street, Silverton.
Not a sign you see often in Arizona.
City Hall was gorgeous. Really, most of the town had been restored with the utmost care.
Some yahoo walking around town. ;-)
Each bar or restaurant has it's own car. It's a bit hokey, but some of the vehicles are nice like this one.
Others not so much.
I can respect it though. Tourism is the towns main draw and there are only a few snow-free months each year to cash in.
Ural riding. I'd love to do this trip on one!
After enjoying the town we quickly start to dislike all of the tourists. Everyone was nice, but it was a little too much. We decided to head for Clear Lake. The turn off was not too far up the highway. As we turned off on it we saw people all over.
Motorhomes, 5th wheel trailers, tent campers etc. Uh oh! There has to be a road or a place up here that is rough and remote enough to keep them out.
Beautiful views along the road in though.
The further we went up the quieter it got. Finally the road was rough enough to keep out any normal motorhome or car. Then it got worse. We only saw one 4x4 truck who was fly fishing up here. This was more like it.
There was a side road that was more rough and thin than the rest. It led up to a small stream and a mine entrance. Perfect!
We found our spot. Now time to use that stream to wash all of my riding gear! Only in Colorado can you have a private stream that comes out of the rock face a couple feet away all to yourself.
D is fantastic. :-) She helped me clean all of my dirt gear.
Pasquale was happy.
The tailings were pretty large and the minerals in it had tinted the water a rusted red.
On this trip we had evening rains almost every day. Setting up the awning was done just in case. In most cases it was just.
Then I took the bike for a little cleansing ride. I wanted to get some of the mud off of it.
Okay, I couldn't let it marinate any longer...
Carne Asada night!!!!
First rule of Carne Asada. ALWAYS cook too much. Makes great sandwiches later.
As we ate the rains came. Not a bad view from camp.
It dumped. We even got hail.
Just as soon as the rains came, they left.
An eerie fog moved in.
Plants growing where the tire treads would drive. A good sign of a lightly used road.
What a great day. We slept well, until "it" attacked...
In the night we heard something walking around the truck. I grabbed my surefire flashlight and popped open the door and saw it. Standing there with it's evil eyes looking back at me. BAMBI!
This deer had no fear. I yelled at it and it just stood there. Hmmm. Finally it sort of walked away with little care.
A couple minutes later I heard something nudging the locked metal trash can on the back of my truck. This time I got out and sure enough it was back. It only ran back about 10 feet and just stared at me. I had to feign running at it to make it move back further.
This repeated another 2 times and then when I heard it again I just didn't care. Off to sleep I went...