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Published: April 2nd 2011
After the usual routine of breakfast and packing up and trying to leave on time, we headed into Ouray for a quick look around, only to find that everything was closed! The town is surrounded by the San Juan Mountains of the Rockies that helps make this small town seem picturesque
Kyle, Zoe, Scott and I walked at our (or Zoë’s) pace along the main street, and come across the beautifully restored Beaumont hotel, which dates back to 1886.
We were not interrupted as we made our way into the hotel, and took pictures of the reception area and the grand stair case that is opposite. In the corner of the lobby is the door that leads to the dining area where guests were currently having breakfast, but this didn’t stop Kylie from sticking her head in and taking a picture.
Still uninterrupted, we left the hotel and back into the view of the mountains, and carried on down the street. As I said before, the town was closed, so there wasn’t anything else to look at, and we soon found ourselves at the other end of the town, where the van was waiting. There was a fence that surrounded a
field by the roadside, which I struggled to lift myself onto and keep myself there. It didn’t help when the volleyball kept being thrown in my direction – at one point, rolling down the road.
When everyone arrived back at the van, we loaded up and head on to another nearby town, Ridgeway, where Todd dropped us off, whilst he took Becca to another town to get some medication. Like Ouray, it offers the mountains as backdrops, but they are a little further away now, and is an even smaller town, which today was having an annual town event down by the river. We didn’t have long before Todd returned, but that didn’t stop Mark and me heading along the road into town, where we came across a book shop-cum-café. There was seating outside, where half a dozen people were already standing around. As I headed to the shop door, one of them asked me if I would like to meet the Colorado State Treasurer, not realising that I was from out of town. Just to keep them happy I said yes, but wanted to go into the shop first.
When I got in there, there is a small
counter with frozen desserts on display, and to the left is a very small area full of books, both old and new for sale.
In the end Mark and I decided on a smoothie each and a muffin, and as we headed out of the shop again, we forgot about the gathering outside, and quickly got collared to meet Carey Kennedy, the Democratic Representative of Colorado.
Once we quickly told her that we were from out of town and just passing through Ridgeway, she forgot all about why she is there and askd about our Tour and where we had all come from. She turned out to be a real down to earth, nice, friendly politician, who has no plans to leave Colorado for Washington, she loves it so much. I agree with her on that point.
Sadly we had to break up our lovely chat as Todd was soon to arrive again, and we quickly headed back to the pick up point, before heading on to our next site destination – Telluride.
Todd kept pointing out to us that this campsite is right on the edge of town and has no bookings, which made it different and better
than the other campsites, and we soon saw why when we arrived. We drove through the town, and almost suddenly, the main street ended and the campsite started. Once more the town was surrounded by more mountains, which bask in the sunshine.
Once we had secured 4 sites the rest of the Group unloaded, whilst Todd, Graham and I looked at possible sites. Sadly they're not all together, but weren't too far apart either. There were two sites next to each other by the van, whilst Graham found another one the other side of a small area of trees, and I found one more in the other side of the main track that winds itself through the site.
This turned out to be my site, and I was soon joined by Kylie and Scott.
Once the tents were up, everyone apart from Graham, Zoe and Sarah headed off through the town to a nearby ski resort, which involved going up the cable cars. Fortunately these cable cars were modern and secure, so I could relax as we were lifted further and further up one of the mountains.
When we ‘landed’ we struggled to find where we had to go
for the mountain biking, but eventually found it, and after registering and getting our necessary equipment, especially the bikes, we soon loaded up and headed for a spot out of Telluride. On the way we got showing the runway for the town’s airport and some massive looking celebrity homes hidden in the mountainside.
The route of the bike ride followed an old railway line that was constructed along the cliff sides of the mountains, and offered some amazing views all the way. There were 3 or 4 scheduled stops, but I managed to pick up a puncture, just before we were hitting a descent, and just after it started chucking it down. Mike, our bike guide, struggled to change the tyre, but when he finally did, we set off once again. Mike is in his fifties and regularly takes people on these tours and actually lives on the campsite we are staying on. He was full of some interesting stories and hilarious jokes, and didn’t mind some of us heading off ahead of him, especially when it went downhill.
At this point Sumi, who got persuaded by Jess to take part, pulled up, slightly out of breath and proceeded
to tell Jess “You said I could trust you!” to which everyone laughed. The best part of the ride was that it was mainly flat or downhill so it was easy and more enjoyable to look at the surrounding views.
Although at one tight spot over halfway, the track went downhill quite quickly and then went round to the right across a small waterfall, so we all had to be extra careful. Single filed everyone got of their bikes and walked across the water fall, but instead of waiting for the other side to be clear, I tried to cross the river, but slipped in doing so, but still made it to the other side and waited for the rest of the group to appear and guide them round the bend.
A little further up on a clear flat stretch, Mike told us there were one or two logs that had fallen across the path, so we could either stop and dismount to get over them, or be more adventurous and attempt to jump the logs on our bikes. If we choose the latter, Mike suggested to get a clear run of speed at it and to jump when he said so.
Jess was first to try this, but jumped to early, and ended up going head first over her handlebars, giving a loud scream out at the same time, and seeming to land on her head.
What sounded like crying turned out to be laughter as she was alright, and got up with a small black object in her hand. Turned out she broke the brake handle as she went flying. Todd, who was bringing up the rear on the ride, admitted to being very worried when she went flying.
Fortunately, she escaped with only a gash on one of her knees, and after everyone passed, we carried on to the finish. Jess wasn’t the only one to pick up an injury, G managed to whack on his shin by a peddle, and a huge bump appeared soon after. At the finish, Jess and G took their shoes and socks off and stood in the nearby freezing river to try and stop some of the swelling.
After having our lunch of a soda drink, a piece of fruit and cake, the bikes were loaded up again and we headed back to the shop and then made our way back through the resort to the cable cars and headed back to the town.
We casually strolled back to camp, and as we passed the park right by the site, there was a public concert just getting started. We all talked about checking it out a bit later and then got ready for dinner in town that evening, not before taking cover in our tents from another downpour that suddenly hit!
As we walked back into town, we hit the main street and quickly checked out a shop of fine leather and Western clothing called Appaloosa Trading Company. Not only did I see more fantastic cowboy boots and hats, but it is also the site where Robert L. Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy, carried out his first bank robbery, robbing the San Miguel Valley Bank of £20,750.00. At the front of the building is a plague showing this fact off. In fact one of the shop employees lives in the apartment above and after striking up a conversation with Graham, took him and Neal through her front door which was next to the shop entrance.
With the rest of us now on the pavement outside guessing what they were actually doing, they finally appeared on the rooftop, waving and showing off. When they reappeared down below, we said goodbye and carried on along the street.
We quickly passed one of the many restaurants in Telluride, and Mark had to call me back to point out that Carey Kennedy and her family were sitting at the front of the restaurant waving back at us. I forgot that she said she would be in Telluride as well and quickly got a wave in as well before carrying on once more.
Not for the first time Todd had a restaurant in mind, but couldn’t quite seem to locate it, even with his i-phone, but we eventually found a BBQ restaurant, called Fat Alley, where Mark and I pigged out and ordered some buffalo wing starters followed up with some baby back ribs. I was determined to make up for the disaster that was Santa Fe, and was proud to say that I had no trouble finishing it all off. I even had room for some of Zoe’s dinner! A few Tim Taylor man grunts were let out during the course of the evening!
Graham and Neal were staying out to enjoy the nightlife of Telluride, but after that excellent meal, I decided not to join them and crashed back at site. By the time we reached camp again, the concert had stopped so there was little else to stay up for.
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