August 3, 2020 Durango to Alamosa, CO

We weren’t in any rush, so we pulled out around 10:30. The skies were partly cloudy with a temp of 75. We were only a few miles out of town when a deer ran across the road in front of us while another was lurking on the side of the road. Bob slammed on the brakes as the first deer made it to the other side of the road and the second one ran back into the woods. What a way to start the drive today! We took Highway 160 east toward Pagosa Springs. From there, Highway 160 is considered a scenic byway climbing into the San Juan Mountains and over the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass. I was looking forward to the drive today. The road had a fair amount of traffic on it as it took us through the San Juan National Forest.

We passed by the Ute Indian Reservation and Chimney Rock National Monument.

As we neared Pagosa Springs, Pagosa Peak (12,640 ft.) and Eagle Mountain (12,007 ft) came into view.

Pagosa Springs was a very busy place with traffic and tourists. but it seemed to be a “happenin’ kind of place” in the downtown area.

After Pagosa Springs, we started our climb on scenic Highway 160 to Wolf Creek Pass. The terrain was forested hillsides with craggy rock formations peeking through the trees.

These fins were very interesting looking with their gray color. We had seen many in the mountains all over Colorado and Utah, but none this color.

There were also fertile valleys along the San Juan River and large ranches dotting the area.

The climb up to the pass was long and steep. We were getting about 6.5 mpg on the average and climbing at 35 mph.

We could see up ahead to where the road would take us.

The views of the valley from the top were outstanding! It was cool to see the road we had driven up the mountain on.

We even saw a small waterfall coming down the hillside.

We reached the summit of Wolf Creek Pass at an elevation of 10,856 ft.

There was a sign there to designate the Continental Divide.

It was all downhill from there. Wolf Creek Ski Area was located near the top.

There were many hillsides filled with dead trees. They looked like brown sticks on the hills.

We passed through a snow shed which is meant to keep the snow off of the road.

To make matters more difficult, they were painting the yellow stripe down the center of the road.

The road cut through the canyon where we passed through a tunnel.

The road used to go around the rock bluff until the tunnel was built.

As we were descending the mountain, a woman going up the pass was standing up through the sunroof waving her arms. That was a sight! On a very narrow section of 2 lane road that ran along the river, a semi truck decided he didn’t want to follow us anymore, so he passed us just before a curve and over the double yellow line. I guess he was in a big hurry. What a jerk!

Farther up ahead, there was construction, so traffic was stopped for a one-lane road passage. When we reached the line of stopped traffic, we were right behind that same truck. I guess it didn’t pay to pass us in a rush.

While we sat there for about 10 minutes, we took the opportunity to eat our lunch. Once traffic started again, we could see that they were repaving and striping the road.

Coming the mountain, there were 3 or 4 huge campgrounds and they were all full. Amazing!

They were in a beautiful setting along Wolf Creek.

The town of South Fork was nearby and it seemed to be the supply hub for that area. We emerged from the mountains into the San Luis Valley.

We did get a few drops of rain and the wind picked up. We saw the Cochetopa Hills off in the distance that looked like huge sand dunes.

The town of Del Norte was at the end of the scenic part of Highway 160. This huge elk statue could be seen on the top of a hill above the town.

These metal decorations were hung down the main street in town on every street light. Each light pole had a different figure on it.

The skies cleared as we headed east, but the winds hung on. To the south, the skies were dark.

The forecasters were predicting the possibility of severe storms in the area this afternoon. We could see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as we continued east towards Alamosa.

We arrived in Alamosa around 1:45 and found our campground, Cool Sunshine RV Park in town.

We checked in at the office and were assigned to site B4.

We got all set up and relaxed after a long drive through the mountains. Auggie was anxious to get outside and see his new surroundings.

Once he got outside, Auggie proceeded to find a patch of sunshine and took a nap.

This is our view of the mountains from our campsite.

Bob had to make a run to the Walgreens in town, about 2 blocks from the campground, to pick up a prescription that he had filled for some eye drops. While he was gone, the winds picked up and really rocked the bus with strong gusts. The site next to us was empty, so we were fully exposed to the wind. After awhile, another bus pulled in and blocked some of the wind gusts, but it continued to be windy. Around 3:30, Bob’s sister, Mary and her friend, John stopped over for a visit. They had come to Alamosa from their campground in Antonito, about 26 miles south of us. Mary was doing some laundry at the laundromat while John got the oil changed in the truck in town and then they would stop by to see us. It would have been a shame to be this close to each other without getting together. The four of us sat around and talked and then picked up some pizza for dinner. After dinner, we posed for a picture of the 4 of us with our masks on. Auggie did too.

Mary and John left to head back to Antonito around 6:30. Auggie and I took our evening walk as the temperature dropped quite a bit with the sunset.

Mary and John are going on to New Mexico on Wednesday. We are in Alamosa for one more day, so we’ll spend some time exploring the area and check out the Rio Grande River tomorrow. Then on to Great Sand Dunes National Park on Wednesday.

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