Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Priest Gulch Campground and A Day in Telluride

At Priest Gulch Campground, Dolores, Colorado...

It was a little less than a hundred miles from our spot near Durango to Priest Gulch Campground near Dolores, Colorado. The drive here was beautiful, the last 30 miles or so being along the highway 145 portion of the San Juan Skyway, a scenic loop that includes Cortez, Telluride, Ouray, Silverton and Durango. 

Priest Gulch is a medium-sized RV park with spaces and cabins along both sides of the Dolores River. There are mountains all around, and the small river valley park is certainly among the most scenic I've ever seen. Our RV site backs up to the crystal clear stream, and it's very peaceful to sit on the riverbank and listen to the sound of the water spilling over the rocks in the riverbed.

The park is situated on both sides of the river, and coaches must cross this bridge to get to the other side.

Here's a photo of Phannie crossing the bridge over the Dolores River.
Bubba and his family pulled into the park a bit later after a 900-mile drive from Fort Worth. Parking side-by-side, we had our own grassy area to sit and visit while we enjoyed the cool mountain air.

We fixed a fajita dinner for Bubba and his bunch, knowing they would be tired on arrival and not in the mood to prepare anything.

After a day of resting up from our respective journeys, we decided to go to nearby Telluride and check it out, as neither Sandy nor I had been there before. We woke up on this morning and noticed 49 degrees on the outside air temperature. This must have something to do with the chill in the coach, I thought, still being unaccustomed to summer in the San Juan mountains. I turned around and flipped on the heater, not fully appreciating how absurd such a low temperature must seem to someone in, say, Texas this morning. Phannie's lounge (fancy term for the main living area) warmed up quickly, and I sat at the computer to see what was going on in the world.

Before long, Sandy wandered in and, as we had breakfast, we decided on some warmer clothes, based on what we were seeing on the temperature gauge. The forecast high for today was 71.

The drive up highway 145 became ever more scenic with every curve, like in this photo of Priest Lake, which is the headwater for the Dolores River.

We parked at a wealthy enclave named Mountain Village just across a ridge from Telluride, which was accessed by way of an aerial tramway. We all piled on, but Sandy stumbled a little trying to catch the gondola opening. (The tramway doesn't stop unless there is an emergency.) Her awkward flop into the car was the subject of a good bit of merriment among us, as was her reaction to the gondola ride itself (she suffers from acrophobia). I think this will be evident among the photos published below:

 Bubba and LouAnn give Sandy a hand in jumping aboard the moving gondola.

The expression on her face says it all...

Bless her heart! It was hard to make fun of her, but we were able to rise to the occasion.
Safely on the ground in Telluride, we paused for a photo, showing her much more relieved:

Notice that we're wearing long sleeves, and I was regretting that I hadn't brought my jacket. Telluride is a marvelously scenic old mining town that has been discovered by the rich and famous, so everything is quaint but modern and, oh yes, expensive. The median price of a house here is $1,100,000.00.

Since the gondola ride made us hungry, we stopped at Brown Dog Pizza for some really good pizzas, then the girls went shopping. Bubba and I walked around a bit, but mostly held down some chairs at an outdoor cafe. By this time, I was kicking myself for not bringing a jacket.

As you know, I love finding and photographing odd stuff and curiosities that I see, and as Bubba and I wandered around, I happened to notice this sign outside a small downtown store:

If it's hard to read in this photo, the sign says, "Please, No Peeing. Thanks." Now the idle mind being the devil's workshop, as it were, I began to wonder how significant this problem must be for the proprietor to have hung out this sign? And for what species is the admonishment intended? Surely not humans; the well-heeled denizens of this mountain resort can't be that liberal! (Maybe they can.) Assuming I'm right about this, then the culprit must be a dog, I guess, even though the sign doesn't say that. Given the placement of the sign near the sidewalk, are we to assume that dogs in Telluride are smart enough actually to read the sign and, thereby inspired, be civic-minded enough to hold their bladders? We may never know. 

It wasn't long until the shopping trip was over, and we headed back to the tramway. Sandy did much better on this trip up and over the mountain, although we did hear a few yelps as the gondola jerked upon entering the stations.

LouAnn and Sandy, whose countenance is much more at ease on departure from Telluride, which you can see behind them.
As we leave the tramway station and return to our car, we see this decorated lampost--further evidence that Telluride is a beautiful place and kept that way for the enjoyment of all. Don't miss it, but don't forget your wallet.

What a fun day! It's hard to imagine how anyone could get tired of traveling and seeing new and wonderful things as we did today.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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