Saturday, September 22, 2018

Last Dollar And Cute Shoes

[Sept 10th]

We head west to drive the Alpine Loop Rd through Cinnamon Mt pass (12,640 ft elevation).

At the top another traveler comments, “You made this drive in a van?” - as if we deserve to slip off the top all the way to the canyon bottom for being so naive. Perhaps it is selective attention and she sees only Q’s big white side. 

In my imagination any of the other many Q admirers comes along at that moment and says, “What an amazing vehicle! It’s lifted? Four-wheel drive and low range too? Big tires - and it must turn on a dime. And you brought your bikes, too? Where’s the boat? Oh - it’s up there with the solar panels?”
After moving on, in my mind as well, we re-inflate the tires and unlock the hubs, and enjoy the ride to Silverton on the scenic paved road. The scenic nature is sometimes interrupted with remnants of mining, like this gondola across the deep canyon.

Our route takes us back north to Ouray and then Ridgway so that we can drive the Last Dollar Road and find a peaceful and beautiful back country camp site.

Last Dollar Rd below Ridgway, CO

View from our campsite (Telluride to the southeast)
Last Dollar Rd ends near Telluride - a city that looks just great after the big film festival last week. Breakfast here is surprisingly yummy, quick, and inexpensive. The little restaurant is eat-here-or-take-out. 

The sign in the restroom seems appropriate for this land of tolerance and understanding. Instead of asking that we not flush any trash... it suggests that “an overflow might ruin those cute shoes you’re wearing.” 

And these cute shoes are quickly on the way towards Cortez and Mesa Verde.

We stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center to re-center our focus on petroglyphs, pictographs, and ancient ruins. 

The Escalante Ruins are right on the museum site. Helpful signs along the walk describe native plants and the uses made by the people. Skunk Sumac, Gamble Oak, Mountain Mahogany, Pinyon Pine, Sage Brush, Juniper, Fenderbrush, and Yucca all have generous descriptions of medicinal or nutritional uses. The Service Berry sign has only a pie recipe, leaving us a bit uncertain if the recipe originated with ancient Puebloans or if the sign-maker just loves pie.


  1. Your photos are great. Campsite view almost looks like a watercolor painting on full screen. (I am borrowing it for my computer desktop for a while)

    1. Thx! I'll send you the high resolution version if you like.

    2. Oh yes, high resolution version please! (and maybe one of the Last Dollar Road birches too?)