Scenery Snobs

Grand Junction was really nice, although we only had a brief stop overnight it felt like a good place.

In the evening I joined Peter as we both went looking for food; after a walk up and down the main street we bumped into Donna and Kevin from our group who recommended we try the Irish Pub just around the corner.

It turned out to be a popular stop with nearly half the group eating in there at some point that evening. I had a meal with Peter, Pauline, Ron & Rita. On the way back to the hotel we stopped briefly to listen to a singer at a Bistro.

Before we left I wanted to get a few shots of the main street and the artwork that was dotted about.
Our journey today would take us by coach from Grand Junction to Silverton and then onto Durango by steam train. It would be a long day.

We were now traveling in cowboy film country and our first stop was at Ridgway, it was a comfort stop with the added bonus of coffee and pastries! There was also a small train museum that I didn’t visit, I had two pastries instead.

Ridgway and the surrounding area was the filming location for a few westerns, the most famous being John Wayne’s True Grit.

On the trip it was always possible to see bikers, the most common bike we saw was the Harley-Davidson. I’m not into bikes but this seemed to be a very nice example.

Continuing our trip we passed through the town of Ouray, a place I’d like to go back to, it looked amazing. A town with it’s own hot springs and in the winter an ice park. Now I’m not saying I’d climb the ice but a dip in the hot springs would be awesome. There’s even a Best Western hotel!

Ouray website

The coach driver/guide stopped above the town so we could take some pictures. This area is called the Switzerland of America.

Throughout our trip into The Rockies and beyond the scenery has been brightened by the appearance of a tree; the Aspen tree. I say brightened because it’s leaves at this time of year turn a golden colour.We reached our first destination, Silverton, in time for lunch.Later in the afternoon we would be taking the train to Durango, the train for an earlier departure was already at the station, so we took advantage and got pictures in front of it. I wasn’t quite ready (although you’d not really notice) but I didn’t ask for a retake.

We had lunch at Grumpy’s located in the Grand Hotel. I had a buffalo burger, which could have been any kind of meat if I’m honest. The Grand Hotel is the red building on the left.As we made our way into the Grand, I could hear music being played on a piano, at first I thought it was a CD but no it was an actual live person playing the piano, just like you see in the movies. His name was Dale, and I paid him a dollar to play My Bonnie.This is the notorious Blair Street; where the brothels used to be. Although I’ve not seen too many of them, quite a few films have been filmed in the town, on the railway and in the surrounding area.

57 years ago James Cagney rode his horse up the street in Run for Cover.Other films include:
A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950) featuring Marilyn Monroe
Denver & Rio Grande (1952) featuring Sterling Hayden
Run for Cover (1955) featuring James Cagney
The Maverick Queen (1956) featuring Barbara Stanwyck

and perhaps the most famous; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid featuring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The scene where they jump off the cliff into the river was filmed just south of Silverton, and the “Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?” was filmed not too far from Durango. The museum in Durango has one of the train cars used in the film.

This is very much Mitt Romney country. My pal Peter bought a souvenir and handed over a $50 bill, to be told “we call them Obama $5 bills around here”, I’m guessing he’s not a fan. If you look real hard (or click on it) you can see a Romney poster in the window of the pink buildingOur time was up and we had a near 3 hour train ride to come. Here’s me very nearly posing at the carriage.The Gang’s All Here…The trip started off quite well, we were all enthused and the scenery was good to look at.However the scenery didn’t change much from the picture above; nothing wrong with that I hear you cry and no you are quite right, there is nothing wrong with sitting in a train looking at that wonderful scenery. But it didn’t exceed what we had already seen on our way to this point and we had become dulled to magnificent scenery. As Peter put it we had become ‘Scenery Snobs’ and he had a valid point.

By hour two, I had resorted to putting my head out of the window trying to find something to see (completely missing the point of all the scenery laid out in front of me), some had nodded off, others were reading books, pamphlets, anything they could do, to not look at all the scenery.

Our enthusiasm increased when the left hand side of the train appeared to be suspended on very little ground. Here is a shot looking at the back of the train.…looking into the canyon; there is no zoom on this at all, this is exactly what we were seeing.A little further ahead someone of the left of the train said they could see people, considering this was our view, we all had a look. There were indeed two men sat on some rocks as the train moved away from the edge. One was filming, the other was playing a guitar!As we neared Durango we came out of the mountains and onto flat plains alongside roads and through towns. We perked up once again when someone noticed Prairie Dogs scampering about in the fields near the track. As we had not yet had much luck seeing any animals this was exciting! You just about make out one in the middle of this picture.So we arrived in Durango, thankful that we had made it! Once again we only had a short time in the town, and in fact no time to actually explore as we would be leaving early the next morning. In the evening I went to dinner at a Denny’s with Peter, Ern and Sue. I had a burger topped with a fried egg, bacon and cheese, proper healthy!