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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Priceless Highway

~Tuesday, October 6, 2020~

Day 114

Let’s get out and explore! There always seems to be business to take care of first, like today. Jeff had some follow up calls/emails to Richardson’s and I had some glitches with the website/YouTube stuff, then we finally made it out of here early afternoon. Today’s spot-The Million Dollar Highway.

The Million Dollar Highway is just that. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, its beauty is breathtaking, especially with the Fall colors.

We can’t imagine what this place would look like covered in snow. So we will be back!. We have to take advantage of those Hot Springs...right? As we drove south to the town of Ouray, the scenery became even more stunning. Bustling with tourists and residents, Ouray is known as the Switzerland of America situated in a box canyon. We definitely will spend some time in this quaint little town another day. Our main destination today was the ghost town near Silverton Colorado, in Animas Forks.

We knew something was up when Google Maps tells you the trip is 2 hours to get there from Ridgway, but the mileage is 50 miles. Once you get through the town of Silverton, you come upon a sign that says….”High clearance vehicles only, passenger cars not recommended” because it’s 12 miles of a rugged, dusty, bone-rattling dirt road called the Alpine Loop. There were a few points along the way I didn’t think we’d make it. It probably took us an hour to drive 12 miles. Today would have been the perfect day to rent a Jeep Rubicon, as that seemed to be the vehicle of choice. Situated at just over 11,000 feet, it’s amazing to think what these residents/miners once endured, especially during the winters where temperatures could get as low as -30 below. It was established in 1871, and was a hub for gold and silver mining for nearly 50 years. Amazing how resilient they were to live in such harsh conditions. Many of the buildings/structures that once stood have become victim to fire, vandalism and harsh conditions. Thank goodness the San Juan County Historical Trust saw this area as one they thought deserved its attention in fundraising and building up membership to preserve this national treasure. It was nice to see the results of the work.

Then the road back. Lovely. It’s always strange that when I drive TO somewhere, it seems to take longer than FROM somewhere. Do you ever feel that way? We were going to stop in Ouray for dinner, but we both were exhausted so opted for dinner a la Trader Joe’s frozen dinners. They have a great butter chicken and Fish Korma-lots of flavor and are perfect when you don’t feel like cooking. Looking forward to more sightseeing tomorrow.

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