Back on the road, the last big trip before Martin heads home to good ol’ Svea. To the last minute, we were undecided where we should go. On the one hand, we have not seen Montana yet, and we have gotten to know a bunch of great people up there, so it would definitely be cool to head up north. In addition, the snow report was more promising for the north than for the south. On the other hand, Daniel Sundqvist had described Telluride in a very tempting way. In his own words: “real mountains” and “blower top to bottom” (to be honest, he said; “There is always powder in Telluride” in Swedish. “Blower top to bottom” was for the north face of Mount Superior in Wasatch I think, but it sounds so much better so I just had to write it). In addition, Telluride isn’t far from Silverton, and in Silverton you find the three guys that manufacture Venture, Martin’s splitboard. Since we were kind of tired after our Sunday tour, and since the weather report showed relatively lousy driving conditions for Monday, we decided to spend my birthday (yes, I had one, and I am now officially closer to 40 than to 30, jikes!!) working in Centennial, and to leave on Tuesday. We didn’t manage to decide where to go all day, so in the end we decided that we would decide on Tuesday morning, where our decision hinged on whether we had gotten a reply from one of the great people up north or not. Said and done, on Tuesday morning, we stuffed all our gear into Larry (including our trash for one week since we don’t have anywhere to store it) and sneaked some WiFi from The Friendly Store in Centennial. No answer from Montana implied the decision to go South. We couldn’t tell if the cabins in the Red Mountain RV park were available from the web site, and there was only an answering machine responding to our call, but we thought “what the heck, how occupied can it be?”, and decided to head for Silverton. If we could not find anywhere to stay, we could always drive to Telluride. We knew that Silverton was small, and that the skiing was mainly off pist. What we didn’t know was that Silverton was the prototype for the TV game “Fall out”, and that the road leading to the village was designed to prevent any visitor with a decent risk aversion.
Anyway before we get to Silverton and the desertness of that town, I have to say something about the road trip from Laramie to the hell way called million dollar highway that leads to Silverton. We started by heading the wrong way, thinking that we could take a short cut via road 11 and skip the detour via Laramie. We probably could have, but we missed the take off and found ourselves on a gravel road covered with snow and snowmobile tracks, until the “closed road sign”. So we turned back, and missed the fact that another road could have taken us straight out to the 230 that we wanted to hit…
So back into Laramie and then south on Rd 230 + Rd 125 to Walden.
From there we went down Rd 14 East, Rd 40 south and Rd 9 south to Silverthorn, where we (of course) had burgers for lunch. Silverthorne seems to be somewhat of a forgotten pearl. The town looks really cozy and Red Peak and Buffalo Mountain are definitely something that we want to come back to skin up sometime.
After Silverthorne, we headed out on the interstate. I wasn’t too excited after our experiences on I80. However, I70 turned out to be a completely different story. I could hardly keep my eyes on the road as we went along the Colorado River, the rock formations and the different colors of the stones are, well, I cant really accept that they are for real. It is just too surrealistic. AND there were almost no trucks (only one Uhaul that I kept overtaking and that kept over taking me)! Of course, it was completely impossible to catch any of the extravaganza on a photo, you just have to take my word for it. We definitely have to return armed with mountainbikes.
At Grand Junction, we headed down highway 50 towards Montrose, and after that, towards Silverton on hellway 550. We climbed about 600 vertical meters per 10 km. Not much if you have a wide road, but on a winding road with a vertical drop of a couple of 100 meters on your right side, when there is no shoulder on the road, and definitely no protective fence, well there was no lack of perspiration in Larry, I can tell you that much. We had sort of considered the idea of staying in Silverton and making day trips to Telluride, which would mean driving that road up and down twice per day. No thank you very much. The mountains around us was extremely beautiful though, red rocks and white snow. Unfortunately, I was too terrified to take any pictures, so once again, just believe you me. As we entered Silverton, the sun sprinkled it’s very finest rays on… an extremely wide main street with absolutely no people on it. Everything was closed. There was absolutely no one around.
On each motel, where there was a sign with a light, it said “no vacancy”. It was sometimes possible to enter, but there was no one around inside. We had no coverage on our phones and darkness was approaching. We drove up and down main street a couple of times, that took us about 5 minutes, then headed in on the muddy sideways (only main street is paved in Silverton). Nothing. Finally we found one place with three people inside, the pub. From there, we managed to make a call. Apparently, the motels were open and the rooms weren’t occupied, the owners just didn’t want to rent out rooms, but lucky us, we got one anyway. Happy days! One more “American-way-of-life” accomplishment: we have now stayed at a shabby motel. It was great. But it didn’t have a fridge, and since everything except the pub seemed to be closed all the time, we didn’t really see a future in this little mountain town. In addition, the snow conditions didn’t look so great. The magic of the sun had been rather black for the snowpack. So in the morning, we decided to take Larry to Telluride, but first we had to bring Martin’s splitboard home.
Venture is designed and manufactured in Silverton, and the workshop is open for visitors, so we passed by to say hello to the three guys doing all the work. It was a bit weird and great at the same time. Weird to step into the rugged old house (still no people), and great that, when we actually found one dude, we got to see where the boards are pressed. After that, we left Silverton behind.
I don’t expect to return anytime soon, but I still crave to climb some of those mountains.
So now, we are in Telluride. The drive down hell road 550 was not at all as daunting as driving up it, and the road to Telluride was a walk in the park. In Telluride, there are people everywhere, and we found a motel with a kitchenette in 5 minutes, but the snow still looks crap, so we have spent the day working. It is supposed to snow, but I haven’t gotten my hopes up too high. In any case, it was still worth coming here just for the road trip. I don’t think I’ve said WOW (ok, I might have said FAAN och HELVETE rather than wow, but anyway) so many times in my life, I can live without the best pow I guess. Im still hoping a bit though, just a tiny bit.