Saturday, September 15, 2012

Notes from Colorado

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today is our last full day in Colorado. We have enjoyed our stay here. There's so much we like about this area.

The views are beautiful. We enjoy watching how the mountains change their appearance and color depending on the time of day and how the sun hits them. The sky is usually clear and a rich blue, and when clouds do appear, they seem to decorate the mountain tops.

I especially love the beautiful mountain streams as they wind their way down from the mountains. They run free and clear, usually over shallow, rocky beds, and they usually pioneer the way for any roads in the area.

People have been very friendly, and service in restaurants and grocery stores (about the only "shopping" we do) has been great.

The towns we have visited -- Cortez, Durango, Telluride, Dolores, and Manco -- have all been clean and tidy. Lawns are usually lush and green. Downtown areas are clean and well maintained. Coffee houses and microbreweries are very popular up here. Cortez, a town of about 8,500 people, has 2 microbreweries, and we sampled them both. Nearby Durango, with almost 17,000 people, has 4 microbreweries. In fact, I read somewhere that Colorado has more microbreweries than any other state.

Tourism is a big deal here. Shops and services for the tourist abound in all the towns we have visited. You can always find a good meal or whatever you crave as a tourist. Lodging opportunities are varied and plentiful, including numerous RV parks.

Having said all this, though, we are ready to move on down the road. Since our arrival here 2 weeks ago, temperatures have steadily dropped. Today, we awoke to a temperature of 41 degrees. That's just 9 degrees above freezing, and it is only the middle of September. We'll drop about 2,000 feet when we go to Moab, Utah, and gain about 10 degrees on average.

Prices here are a bit high. I filled up with gas yesterday and paid $3.75 a gallon for regular; it was $3.69 when we arrived. Meals in modest restaurants are usually 10% to 25% higher than what we would pay for a comparable meal in Texas.

And I'm tired of driving mountain roads. Yeah, the scenery is spectacular, but I really get tired of driving on a narrow road along the side of a mountain with a drop off of hundreds of feet on one side. And even though the places we visit are all beautiful, after a while, they all begin to look the same. Telluride and Durango, for example, both have historic downtown areas that cater to tourism. The streets are dominated by eateries, coffee shops, bars, and boutiques selling various clothing items and trinkets. It's hard to tell one place from another.

And it is so busy up here. Everywhere we go, cars and people fill the street. We are amazed at the volume of traffic that passes the RV park where we are staying. We can't figure out who these folks are. Are they locals going about their business? Are they tourists? From sun up to sun down, traffic is steady and brisk. And drivers here are a bit aggressive. Texas drivers can be aggressive, too, especially in metropolitan areas, but smaller towns seem to be more laid back. That isn't the case here.

But we like it here. It's a good place to pass a few weeks during the summer. Time for us to pack up, though, and head to Moab, Utah, for a week of exploring some national parks.

We'll see you down the road.

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