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September 25, 2010 / jslipschultz

Day 14: Cortez to Durango, CO (9/25/10)

A rolling recovery (short) day with some long 8% grade climbs mixed in for some variety.  Beautiful area, as expected.  Green.  Alpine.  Clean.  Colorado is definitely one of our best states.  This is the only region of CO I had not seen, so it’s great to finally get here.  We actually slowed down for the day.  Took the climbs at an easy pace and had a few fun descents.  We got here early so I got to spend a lot of time exploring Durango with Margo and Dick (Margo is my father-in-law’s cousin–they are a hoot).

We passed through Mesa Verde–a national park area which is the settlement of a wide range of Native Americans dating back to 600 AD.  The mountains along the way were the San Juan Mountains.

Pics:  Bike Rack outside the espresso shop in Mancos (great quote: “Recycle: ride your bike again and again”); one of our climbs towards the peak altitude for the entire trip so far: 7,950 feet–this one even wrapped around that corner some more).  Durango is at 6,150 ft. 

bike rack in Mancos   climb

Adventures with Dick and Margo:

Margo and Dick picked me up at the hotel and the adventures in Durango commenced!  Keep in mind, Dick was born here and lived here for a while.  So, of course, Dick wanted me to see where he lived, his schools, and the alley where….well nevermind that.  We hit Main St. (there’s Margo and Dick in front of the Strater Hotel and me at the Oktoberfest on Main St).  They are actually dog-sitting a pooch named Whiskey who was with us everywhere including The Palace Restaurant for lunch (Dick’s in front of it).

Margo and Dick on Main St.   Octoberfest in Durango   lunch

Then we went on a quest to find the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage Train coming to town.  After driving along the tracks, we opted for the sure-fire way to catch it: at the train station (arrival 5:30 PM and 6:15 PM daily til late Oct).  During our travels in town, Dick spotted a solar powered trash compacter (formal name: Big Belly Solar Trash Smasher) and insisted that it be added to the blog.  He thinks it may be one-of-a-kind perhaps…he’s very excited to have a starring role in today’s blog (heck, who wouldn’t, right?)  Then we had dinner at a great pizza place, Beau Jo’s.  Mountain style pizza—mmmmm.  Saved a slice for Karl–gotta keep the wrench (bike mechanic) happy!

train station train arrived   me and the train Big Belly Solar Trash Smasher

Helmet-cam footage: (Austin, friend of Joseph–Vic, and I having fun finally descending after some climbing); ; (Dave taking pictures); (a bunch of us regrouping at the top of a good climb)

By the numbers:  43.5 miles, 2:40:26 riding time (smelling the roses today!), 16.3 mph (around 40 max), 2,881 feet of climbing.  Totals so far:  1,052 miles, 41,325 feet of climbing.

Video recap:



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  1. douglas ritter / Sep 25 2010 9:57 pm

    I really liked Durango, despite having flatted right in front of the Restaurant on Main Street — where I had a great burger and then went in search of a new tire and it had a hole in it. We stayed at a condo in the ski resort and watched the wild fires that year across the highway that June. Silverton was wonderful and I think featured two climbs as there was a decent in between. ANother year we went through Pagosa Springs, where my closest friend lives — and then did Wolfe Creek pass.

    • jslipschultz / Sep 25 2010 10:06 pm

      Durango is a nice little town. Very pretty. And you gotta love the train–a lot like our Tarantula. Heading for Pagosa Springs next!

      • Erin Brumleve / Sep 26 2010 11:49 am

        LOVE Pagosa Springs! Have fun, Jeff! I recommend checking out the Ancient Pueblo site of Chimney Rock, right before the Springs if you are coming from Durango. Also, the hot springs would probably feel great after all of the miles you are putting in!

      • jslipschultz / Sep 26 2010 10:30 pm

        Hah, Erin. You act like I’m driving a car. No sight seeing for us. We visit whatever is walking distance to the hotel. No extra miles, no unnecessary walking around. No detours. The Springs were great as you’ll see in Day 15’s update. Thanks for checking in! Oh, and when you’re back in Pagosa Springs, be sure to eat at Alley House. Got to go with Joseph to dinner with his Durango friends and guests and had great food/beer/wine and dinner conversation. Highly recommend it.

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