Quite a few years ago, my sister and I started an annual adventure in celebration of our birthdays which are 5 days apart. This year we decided to go to southwest Colorado; we left home on October 8th and returned on October 16th. The trip to Colorado was uneventful and we took Highways 71 & 24 off of I-80 to avoid Denver. As we approached Colorado Springs, we decided to take Highways 115/50 heading to Gunnison and encountered some beautiful scenes full of fall colors.
We arrived at Gunnison around 5:00 P.M. on the 9th and stayed at a Comfort Inn. On the 10th, our goal was to drive to Durango because we had reservations to take the train from Durango to Silverton on Friday, the 11th. It was raining when we arrived at Montrose, CO so we decided not to stop for shopping but kept going. I wanted to see the Black Canyon at Gunnison National Park but it was closed because of the federal government shutdown.
When we got to Ridgeway, CO the rain had turned to snow so we decided to take a route that did not have as many passes as Red Mountain. After going about 5 miles out of Ridgeway, weather was really bad and a county sheriff recommended we not try to get to Durango that day so we turned around and headed back to Montrose where we found a room at a Best Western. We shopped Montrose; had late lunch at El Jimador, a local Mexican restaurant. I called the Durango Railway and got our reservation changed from the 11th to the 12th; the evening was spent reading in our room.
The next morning we left Montrose with good weather; at Ridgeway, we decided to go the outer route instead of over Red Mountain because a local had told us that the passes over Red Mountain were still getting snow with ice underneath. And our drive to Durango was beautiful with wonderful views of snow, color, rocks, creeks, and lakes.
Lunch was ate at Millwood Junction which is located in Mancos, CO; it had very good food. We arrived in Durango mid-afternoon; after checking into the BW Durango Inn, we picked up our train tickets for the next day, did some shopping, and ate dinner at the Carver Brewing Co.
After a good night’s sleep and breakfast, we headed to the train station where we found out the car we were scheduled to be in broke down. We agreed to the proposal of taking a bus to Silverton and riding the first class car on the way back; this turned out to be a good decision on our part.
It did not take long to reach Silverton by bus so we had time to explore the town, have lunch, and shop.
We boarded the train for the trip back to Durango at 2:30; the train moved slow and we did not arrive back to our car until 6:00. However, it was a fun ride with some beautiful scenery. The reason we were glad that we took the bus one way and train the other is because we got a different perspective of the scenery and the slowness of the train would of made the day quite long if ridden both directions.
After arriving at the train depot in Durango, we went back to our hotel and ate in our suite. We made some preparation for our departure the next day; we will be heading to Colorado Springs.