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Durango (Continued)

Bus Ride Back To Durango





Our driver gave excellent commentary during the drive. His voice reminded me of the baseball commentator, Harry Kalas. He told about everything from the history of the railroad to current happenings in Durango. He provided great suggestions for things to do in Durango such as visit the railroad museum and dining at the Serious Texas Bar-B-Q Restaurant. As we all exited the bus in town, he continued to chat with Traci and me. I could tell he has a great love for the railroad and the city of Durango.

Traci and I took our bus driver's recommendation and toured the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. It is located next to the train station and the ticket stub from our train ride entitled us to free admission. This place pleasantly exceeded my expectations. The museum is very nicely done. They have everything on display from actual steam locomotives to the type of luggage people traveled with in the 1800's. It is a very hands-on museum. I enjoyed climbing aboard the steam engines and admiring the complex controller valves. Traci and I also watched an interesting film on the 1980's restoration of the vintage Durango & Silverton Railroad train that we rode earlier that day.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

"I've been workin' on the railroad..."


like a kid


I noted the location of the Serious Texas Bar-B-Q restaurant our bus driver pointed out during our ride back to town. After our railroad museum visit, Traci and I got in the car and found our way there. I know what you're thinking. Why were we eating at a Texas BBQ joint in Colorado? Well, it turns out the owners are from Texas and the name of their restaurant says it all. This place definitely hit the spot. It is a no-frills restaurant. You order your meal at the counter. Your cooked meat is sliced and served to you on a piece of paper much like you would get at the deli counter of a grocery store. Your sides are served in small styrofoam containers. I ordered beef brisket with a side of beans and Traci ordered smoked turkey with a side of mac&cheese. On each table is barbeque sauce in liquor bottles. Our meal here was outstanding. I was too full to finish all of my beef brisket. Traci and I dined at the restaurant at the right time. There was no wait when we arrived but as we were leaving, the line was almost out the door and the parking lot was full. After eating here I could understand why.

The name says it all.


almost full on beef brisket


After dinner, Traci and I returned to our hotel to do our ritual pack-up in preparation for our morning departure to the next leg of our trip - Albuquerque, New Mexico. Just when we were starting to get good at this packing thing, we realized Albuquerque would be our final destination before our flight home.

Four Places At The Same Time

We checked out of the Quality Inn & Suites Friday morning and began our 330-mile drive to Albuquerque. We had two planned stops along the way: Mesa Verde National Park and The Four Corners Monument.

Mesa Verde National Park was only a 30-minute drive from our hotel in Durango. I had to endure a little well-deserved criticism from Traci. I had done no research on Mesa Verde. The only thing I knew before our trip was that it is one of the top ten national parks in the country and that it was on the way to the Four Corners Monument. I found out that you really need to plan your visit to the park - especially if you will only be there for a few hours. Otherwise, you miss out on the opportunity to go on some of the guided tours. This day was a learning experience for me.

The first thing I learned about the park was why it is named Mesa Verde. Its name is Spanish for green table. The park is on top of an 8500-foot flat-topped green (and red and yellow this time of the year) mountain called a mesa. To get to the visitor center I had to negotiate 15 miles of winding roads along the steep cliffs of this mountain. For someone like me who has a general fear of heights, this drive was scary at times. The higher elevations had no guard rails. Sometimes I would come around a hairpin turn and see nothing but the sky. I even saw a helicopter fly by at the same altitude and we still weren't at the top yet. On the positive side, Traci was able to get some nice views of the landscape below while I was praying we wouldn't ride off a cliff. Continue...


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