Tom & Charlene's Excellent Adventures travel blog

Little shop we spotted on the way out of Colorado Springs

Along the Million $ Hwy

M $ Hwy

M $ Hwy

Just a little curve in the road

on the mine tour

mine car we rode on

Bar D Chuckwagon Show


Took the scenic route to Silverton. Road construction caused several delays but the waits gave us a chance to admire the spectacular scenery. We drove 6 miles up then 7 mile down through Monarch Pass – 11,316 ft. Took several hours to drive the Million Dollar Highway. We stopped at every pull over to take pictures. Not sure if the Million Dollar designation referred to the construction cost or to the views – probably both. We saw 5 mule deer near the road. They were cautious but barely moved as we passed.

Silverton is a mining town that has been refurbished but still keeps the old time feel. Many of the shops were closed on Monday. The streets were lined with 4-wheelers and motorcycles. We wandered into the Brown Bear Café, so glad we did. We tried their chicken & sausage gumbo and corned beef on rye sandwich – great choice. The bar and bar back were original and refurbished for the restaurant. The interior definitely had that old west feeling.

We drove a few miles out of town to boondock at the South Mineral Access in the San Juan Forest. Probably 30-40 campers tucked into the woods. Another quiet peaceful night.

Tuesday started out a sunny and cool 50⁰. Our 1st stop was at the Visitors Center. Then we found the Brown Bag Café and picked up a couple of muffins for breakfast dessert. A several mile trip on a dirt road brought us to the 100 Mine. We had a great leader for the tour. Dan worked 18 yrs. in the mines and 16 yrs. giving tours. He was on oxygen because of lung damage from the mine dust. He was especially good with the kids and made sure they were part of the demonstrations. The tour began by riding a mine cart about ¼ mile into the mine. Dan demonstrated the tools used to drill into the ore veins, how they drilled holes and planted dynamite to break up the rock. Then how the rock was processed and taken to the top of the mountain. Gold, silver, lead and copper were taken from this mine. The mine never produced enough ore to make it a success for the owners.

Back in town we browsed the shops and enjoyed lunch at Natalia’s off the main drag. The train was in town and tourists were buying! The train that runs from Durango to Silverton. It is quite a tourist attraction.

Started to rain as we headed out to Durango. Luckily the scenery was mainly pine forest and not as picturesque as the upper part of the road so we weren’t tempted to stop for pictures. Had sticker shock when gas was 2.999/gallon. Found the Visitor Info office downtown. They were very friendly but not very helpful with activity ideas. Basically handed us a sheet with activities but didn’t offer any suggestions for vendors. We had reservations for Bar D Chuckwagon Dinner & Show. Another visitor in the Silverton information office this morning suggested we go there. Her recommendation was right on target. Dinner was your choice of BBQ beef or chicken, beans, applesauce, roll & spice cake – a chuckwagon meal. After dinner the entertainment began – it was excellent. A cowboy quartet sang new and old western songs. Reminded us of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers in the old movies. Very nostalgic. Comedy was mixed into the show. We enjoyed the evening very much. Headed to the Durango Walmart to boondock – nice quiet evening.

As we were driving out to the Bar D the RV turned over 70,000 miles! It had 18,000 when we bought it November, 2013. We have enjoyed every mile of owning it.

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