Once we got to Placerville we turned south for a few miles to go to Telluride, another former mining town (and country song), now a VERY popular ski resort and holiday town. Prounounced Un-com-pa-grey. The place was packed! There is paid parking on every street in Telluride. There are only a few free parking lots on the outer edges of town. Every street on every side on every block was packed with cars. As is the case in most American towns they has a very wide Main street. Telluride has wisely allowed short term/drop off/delivery parking in the middle of Main because the delivery and drop-off vehicles would never be able to find a parking space otherwise. The city must make a fortune on parking. The draw for me, other than going to the place of the song, was to ride the free gondola to the top of the ski hill and see the view. We eventually found a place to park and walked up to where the restored Galloping Goose train/truck hybrid is parked. There was a virtual cache set up there so we had to take our photos to prove we were there.
We went to a bakery/sandwich shop for some lunch and then walked around a few blocks. There were many people with dogs on the streets. Telluride is obviously a dog-friendly town, although they were not allowed in many businesses. These cute little houses were part of the Popcorn Alley Complex. According to an historical sign, they were formerly brothels. We found a cache in the old jail at the marshall’s office. Then we set off in the truck to find the gondola. We drove around several blocks without locating it and finally asked for directions from some street workers. We were several blocks in the wrong direction and there were absolutely no places to park so we just gave up and left town. Another time maybe.
We drove back the way we had come until we reached the junction and then continued west to go to Utah.
We climbed through Norwood Hill. The landscape flattened out again as we got nearer the Colorado/Utah border. We passed a large solar farm.
It didn’t take too long to see the red bluffs again though.
This big red bluff was the backdrop for Red Rock Ranch. There was a geocache hidden just outside the gate. We thought there was cache at this nice lookout over the valley but it was on the other side of the road up a rock column! Look for John in the photo on the left. I think we were being mooned by these rocks. The only reason we went into Utah was to continue John’s quest of finding geocaches in 16 different states on this road trip. I didn’t object because I love Utah.
Not too far south of Moab there is a tourist trap called Hole n’ the Rock. There is actually a 5,000 sq. ft. house carved into this large rock. Over the years they have added a General Store, Souvenier Shop, a Zoo, and lots of eclectic ‘treasures’ and sculptures. We wandered around and located the spot for a virtual cache, had some ice cream, and got back in the truck to enjoy all Utah’s splendid red rocks. You can see the entrance doors and windows in front of the vehicles. They usually give tours but there were chains across the access. I didn’t want to tour it anyway so no worries for me. This jeep (and the big bull) were amazing sculptures. There were quirky things too. Like: Bigfoot And a political statement on employment heirarcy.And a jeep way up on top of the ‘house.’ We turned semi-easterly and by-passed Arches National Park (I loved Arches and would be happy to go through it again but we did not have the time this trip.) and took a lesser road that paralelled the Colorado River. There was some spectacular scenery and rock formations.
This little – or not so little – leaning rock does not look too secure up there. I wanted to go see Fisher Towers so we took a 2 mile gravel road to the trailhead. Unfortunately it was too late to do the hike (3-4 hour roundtrip) to the base of the largest tower but it was impressive to be as close as we were. There was another virtual cache at the old Dewey Bridge. Apparently it had been restored in 2000 but they must have just re-done the supporting towers as there was no span, just loose cables. We were just about to leave and two does walked past. The red rocks petered out and were replaced with little brown hillocks. My only comment was, “Don’t you dare.”
And then we were back in Colorado again and the sun was setting as we drove into Grand Junction for the next two nights. Our plan for the next day was to tour the Colorado National Monument which is located just southwest of Grand Junction. Be prepared for lots of photos of red rock formations.