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To Durango, CO

Posted 09-11-2018 at 05:07 PM by mbubbaca

Weak WiFi so Im writing this not certain when Ill get enough signal to get it out.
Today was a travel day. It was the most windshield time weve had since Gaile and I made our almost mad dash from NC to ABQ.
This was a day that showed us the most diverse geography so far. We started our day in the hot New Mexico desert and now sit in a tree filled RV park in Durango CO.
Last night we had a humdinger of a thunderstorm. Im not sure what time it started. When I went to bed there was thunder and lighting off to the west, way off and pretty to watch. There was a distinct line between the clear sky and a bank of black clouds.
Those clouds marched towards us, relentless and growing darker.
I watched the lightning flash around the blinds and blackout curtains. Like a kid, I started to count from the flash to the boom. The interval grew shorter as the wind and rain picked up. The trailer started to rock and I could hear the howl of the wind along the aerodynamic body of the Airstream. The wind pushed us back and forth more and more as the storm passed over. It never rocked enough to be concerned it was just a gentle reminder of how little we are when we get in the middle of a pretty good blow of wind and rain.
The storm moved off to the east and all was quiet.
Quiet except that we were less than fifty yards from a pretty busy highway. On a gravel lot. With no trees. Nuts to butts and side by side.

Ive read someplace that at the end of WWII, Harry Truman had the Emperor of Japan travel to Washington DC from California by train. The reason he chose to host the defeated emperor by train and not fly him was very deliberate. He wanted him to see the vastness of the USA. He needed to travel through the mountains, deserts, wheat fields. and big cities along the way to have an appreciation of the USA. As if the devastation of the atomic bomb wasnt enough! He wanted the emperor to know, should he think of rearming, what he was up against. There is a feeling for this county that is only appreciated when you spend time on the ground. You can get part of the way there from 30,000 feet but when you see the USA from the ground level and go through the massiveness of the land, you get humbled.

We were in Taos NM walking from our parking place to the square. There was a guy who needed to express himself. He needed to make sure everyone knew how he felt about the political situation. Handmade signs and four-letter words. He really seemed happy that he could intrude on a pretty nice day. It was his right to express himself, just as it was my right to ignore him. This trip has been a great relief from the ear banging 24-hour news cycle.

Enough of that stuff.

We took a side trip to visit some cave dwellings. It is amazing how humans will do whatever it takes to survive. They looked at the cliffs and said, Hey, we can, with just a little effort, make those caves just a little bigger and live in them. We can be safe. We can plant in that flat area and make a pretty good life for ourselves.
The park was so well maintained. It was stared as a CCC project. Were reaping the benefits of their work. There were paved paths, descriptive markers, and handrails. There was no physical barrier for anyone to put themselves right there. In real time, real life not on a screen.
It did me good to see kids running down the path unencumbered by electronic devices and putting their hands on the rocks and ladders.

We visited the oldest winery in NM. Pretty good wines both white and red and all the grapes were grown in NM. The winery was at the far end of a little town. There was a parade in honor of the patron saint of the town church. What a kick to stumble upon this.

All of this on our way to a mine at the end of a dirt road. When we got out of our truck the silence was as pure as the breeze in our faces. All the smoke from the California fires has been washed out and the air is very different as it pushes across the hot sand and clay and up the rocky plateaus. We hiked in about a mile to a mine owned by the local university. We picked up enough rocks to rival Lucys collection in The Long Long Trailer movie. A must see for anyone interested in Airstreaming.

There was a group trip on a narrow gauge railroad from Durango to Silverton today. There was a way too early wakeup to be at the train station by 7:15 AM.

The train ride up was awesome. I really hope that Ive had a chance to add photos by the time this posts.

This railway is cut into sheer rock cliffs. The train had what looked like a few inches of clearance on one side with a sheer drop off on the other.

A couple of things about this steam locomotive trip,

I now understand how horses could catch up to trains to let the robbers jump from horse to train. Im pretty sure I could just about catch this train just running alongside for most of the way up.

Coal-fired engines put out a lot of cinders that fly right back into the cars following.

You can only come down the mountain as fast as you go up the mountain.
Silverton is a very small and pretty little town. It looks like you could move the cars off the streets and shoot a western movie. The elevation is pretty high and I was glad we had a few days to get used to the thinner air.

We only spent a couple of hours in town. Just enough time to walk around and get some lunch. I chose a place way off the beaten path. Not too hard since there is not much of a path to get off of. The Bended Elbow was our lunch choice. The story was that this was a bordello that was connected by an underground tunnel to the boarding house across the street.

We were serenaded by an upright piano player. Having a honky-tonk piano player was cool enough but when he broke into Free Bird, we came to a whole new level.

OK, thats the best I can do for now. Updates later and maybe some pictures.
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