Today we departed for Durango, a 90-mile drive on some mountain roads for part of the way. The first 25 miles back to Dolores and 10 more miles back to Cortez are the same roads we drove to get here. From Cortez to Durango is a 44-mile drive that we haven’t done yet on this trip. It was 47 degrees when we got up this morning to have breakfast and get the bus ready to go. Bob didn’t want to forget his hummingbird feeder, so that was the first thing he packed up. Bob washed the front and the back of the bus first. He gave the sides of the slides a quick wash before pulling them in to finish washing the body. It took the two of us about an hour to wash and dry the body of the bus. There was so much pollen on it! We even had pollen on the dashboard and in some of the compartments, even though we tried to keep the doors and windows closed. I read up on pine pollen to learn that it is heaviest in April and May, but depending on the year, it may last into June. It reminds me of Big Bend, TX when we had the issue with all the dust. Oh well, it’s the camping life we lead! After all that, we were ready to pull out at 10:30. We hit the road with sunny blue skies. The sun was lighting up the red cliffs as we headed for Dolores.
Leaving the San Juan National Forest, we got one last look at the rocky cliffs.
The town of Dolores was quiet for a Sunday. As we left the mountains around Dolores, we headed downhill towards the valley where the city of Cortez is located. We coasted most of the way into Cortez. Bob didn’t have his foot on the gas pedal for over 5 minutes and we were getting 10 mpg going downhill. The mountains off in the distance were now devoid of snow.
We took Highway 160 out of Cortez for 46 miles to Durango. We traveled through the flatlands of Mancos Valley with the La Plata Mountains paralleling us most of the way.
We climbed slowly into the hills and passed Mesa Verde National Park and the campground we stayed at when we visited here last.
We had a great view of this beautiful butte for many miles.
We passed this trading post where there must have been some really big Indians.
We went up and over and down again where the valley was lush and green with pastureland.
Today was a day for wildlife–a wild turkey crossed the road in front of us, a golden eagle flew over us, and two cute little beagles were wandering together alongside the road. We made a steady climb to 8300 ft. to the town of Hesperus which had a ski hill with one chair lift and one rope tow.
From there, we descended the mountains with a great view of the valley below. Bob had to use the brakes a lot, pumping intermittently, so the brakes wouldn’t heat up.
We went down, down, down towards the city of Durango. As we made our descent, we saw the dark gray tailings of an old mine.
There were great views all around.
We came down 1800 ft. to the Durango city limits.
In town, we crossed the Animas River twice. They were having a celebration of some sorts in the park down at the river this past weekend.
We saw rafters and kayakers enjoying the river today.
We arrived at 12:30 at Oasis RV Resort and Cottages. We have camped here before on our last trip so we were familiar with it. It sits on a hill on the outskirts of town overlooking Durango.
We checked in at the office to get our assignment.
We were led to site #12, a drive-through site on a ledge. They called it a “room with a view”. It was perfect!
The bus sits parallel to the road, so we can look out any of the windows on the side of the bus and get a great view of the mountains.
We got all set up and settled in. Auggie likes his new location, too. There isn’t any grass, but there are a lot of bushes to explore.
We made a trip to Walmart which is just a couple miles from the campground to pick up a few things and got back to the bus in time for Happy Hour. We watched quite a few campers arrive throughout the afternoon. We had brats on the grill for dinner and the 3 of us took our walk around the campground like we like to do to see who is all here. There is a river flowing through the park as well as lots of things for the kids to do. It also has a heated pool and dog park. Tomorrow we want to go down to the river and check it out. It looked like it was really roaring when we came through town and there seemed to be a lot more rapids that we remember. Of course, it’s still spring and the water coming off of the mountains is still plentiful. When we were here last time it was August and less water was flowing at that time.
We also want to take a drive into the mountains if was can find a decent 4WD trail. We watched the sunset from our campsite and look forward to a new day tomorrow.