We arrived at Ridgeway around noon (it was only 30 miles from Black Canyon of the Gunnison) and got our sites and got settled. This campground has electric hookups so it’s like living in luxury after a week of dry camping in Dillon and Black Canyon. Black Canyon was tough because you weren’t allowed to run your generator! I was glad we were only there 2 nights because my battery was almost dead!
After lunch we had the afternoon to do something with so we decided to drive up to Telluride. The motorcycle guy we’d met at the overlook the night before had said Telluride was neat so we thought we’d check it out.
On the way up Dad found a dirt road to shortcut across so we took it, it was a nice dirt road, not really “off roading”, but it took us past some big ranches and we got great views of the mountains!
The mountains were very different near Telluride, they had layers of color in the rocks at the bottom – whites and some bright red!
On the way into town there was a pullout to check out the mountains. Right next to the pull out was a huge herd of elk! All females and calves but there were tons of them. At first we didn’t see the elk, just the view, then Dad turned around to park at the overlook and we saw the elk! Crazy that we all missed them the first time!
Once in town we stopped at the visitor center to ask some questions and figure out what we wanted to do. The town is very cute! All the houses are Victorian and many are painted funky colors. The main street area is on the National Register of historic places and is very interesting. The whole town had kind of a hippie feel to it, except that it was very upscale. All the stores were high end, kinda glitzy, the people were all white and wore expensive hippy clothes – I think this is the market that Sahalie (one of my favorite catalogs) plays to… We checked out some real estate listings and most of the houses were over a million dollars! So, it’s hippies with money that live there…odd.
We drove out of town to a view of Bridal Veil Falls. There was a road to get closer but it was a serious off roading road and Dad didn’t want to go up there.
After that we took the free gondola up (and over ) the mountain to Mountain Village, which is where the Telluride Ski area is, and had dinner! The gondola ride was pretty cool. You went way up the mountain and had a view of Telluride and then there was a station in the middle where you could get off or you could continue down the other side to Mountain Village.
Mountain Village was your typical ski village – stores and restaurants with condos on top, right on the edge of the ski trails. We found a pizza place that looked good and after wandering the village looking for it, finally found it! It was really good! No crappy ski lodge food here! The veggie pizza was covered with mushrooms, tomatoes, red onion and artichoke hearts! Mom’s salad was field greens with cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese. The pizza place didn’t have fries so at the recommendation of the guy who took our order, Mom walked next door to get an order of fries to go…they were amazing! They’d put old bay & rosemary and maybe something else on them!
After dinner we headed down (well, up, then down!) back to Telluride. I’d found an ice cream place on Google Maps and looked up their website and saw that they had about a million flavors of ice cream. It was only a few blocks from where we’d parked so we walked. As we were approaching Main Street I could hear a lot of people cheering and there were crowds of people standing around. I said to Dad “looks like there’s an event!” With that I saw a bicyclist ride by… Oh I said “it’s a bike race”. It was then that I noticed that the bikers were not wearing any clothes! A naked bike race! By the time we got up to get a good view the bikers had gone by so I thought we’d missed it. Right as we were about to cross the street though, they all came back! There were probably 50, maybe more, people, of all ages, sizes etc, all riding bikes, all naked! At first I thought this was just the local color of Telluride and I was beginning to think it was less yuppie and more hippie, but then I found out from Susan that today was World Naked Bike Ride Day! Ahhh, that explains it!
Not that you can top a bunch of folks riding bikes naked but we continued the quest for ice cream. The place I’d found online didn’t seem to exist so we found a Mexican restaurant/coffee shop/ice cream place that had about 8 flavors and a long line out the door and a slow worker manning the ice cream. They had passion fruit, blood orange, guava ice cream – we tasted it and it was really good! Kind of like a dreamsiclie but a little different.
By now the sun was setting and it was almost 9. We still had an hour’s drive back to Ridgeway so we headed out!