For today’s trek we drove the west side of the San Juan Skyway, one of the top ten scenic drives in the United States so I’m told. And I see no reason to dispute that claim.
The drive from Grand Junction to Ridgway wasn’t that far, probably an hour and a half but even so the scenery changed once again. Going from the borderline desert look of the sandy ridges to grass and mountains and trees. Ridgway itself was a quaint little place, none of the streets were paved save for the Skyway which once you’re on raises up about a 1000 feet quite quickly.
The west side of the San Juan Skyway didn’t much exceed 10,000 ft / 3,050 m so we didn’t encounter any snow. We did however see snow capped mountains peaking up over 14,000 ft / 4,260 m and experienced weather and temperatures as if it were late summer. Could have been out in shorts and a t-shirt if that’s what I’d put on. But no, jeans and a t-shirt sufficed.
After stopping a whole bunch on the skyway we decided while we were near New Mexico we’d check it out just to say we’d been there. So we hit up Farmington, NM and ate Thai food. Where I saw the strangest sight for the day, a real cowboy… at a Thai food restaurant. Now truly, the Thai food place was the item out of it’s element, but it was still a strange sight.
On the way back to Durango, CO we decided to drive off the highway into the country side and view the stars. There were many of them, but still there was some light pollution from some surrounding cities which meant we were unable to see the International Space Station as it made it’s 9:39 pass, though it was low on the horizon. Regardless, we were able to see the Milky Way and a million other stars so all was not lost. I made many attempts to take pictures but I don’t think any really turned out as I wanted. I’m curious how the professionals do it. They can get all the colour in and all the stars without the stars moving during the extended shutter duration.
Tomorrow’s plans are to head up the east side of the San Juan Skyway, though perhaps by steam train if we’re awake in time. Though, given I’m writing this at 1am (-7 GMT) it’s not looking likely.