The weather was overcast and spitting but we arrived in Durango pretty dry and in plenty of time to get to the station and take photos of this old narrow gauge locomotive. After it departed we enjoyed a walk along Durango's pleasant main street and dropped into a coffee bar for a culpa. Liz gave it the big tick for flavour and quality and we strolled back to the bikes - only to find the fire brigade had deployed three engines with a ladder and were tidying up after A fire in a small shop. Big excitement in the immediate area! I did notice a number of unmarked police cars.....
We agreed to meet John and Anne for lunch in Ouray, about seventy miles up the road. They set off while we went to top up the tank. We were soon on our way and once we had cleared the city limits, settled down for some higher speed touring through the side bends and ever increasing majesty of the Rocky Mountains. I was quite impressed when we crested a pass at 10,600 feet, only to find that a short while later we were cruising at close to 11,000 feet. It was cool at about twelve degrees (C), but although quite overcast, there was no precipitation.
As we approached Silverton (the end of the railway line), we made a very scenic but quite dramatic descent to the outskirts. The road became increasingly twisty which normally means more fun for bikers, but the number of ultra low speed hairpins took some of the shine off it. Up and down we went, through those most magnificent mountains, disappointed though that the light and visibility deterred us from stopping to take photos. About ten miles out of Ouray we observed heavy, black cloud and I opened the microphone to inform Liz that we were about to get wet. Not so much a prophecy as just recognizing the obvious. Having successfully dodged rain storms from Montana, through Wyoming, Utah and Arizona, we were going to luck-out in Colorado. Shortly thereafter the rain was coming down in columns of three. The cars slowed to a crawl and with double solid center lines all the way we were crawling with them. As we entered Ouray, the heavens opened. I was riding slowly down the main street, looking for John and Anne and hoping to find them under the canopy at a service station I can inform the reader that the Ourayans have invented the wheel but the canopied service station? No.at the end of the business district and no John I make a very gingerly u-turn and pull up outside a coffee shop. We dismounted, gave up on putting the cover on an already soaked sheepskin and flee inside, dripping like freshly laundered towels. Liz was not happy, and I was a little less phlegmatic than usual..we ordered our hot chocolates and then observed John coming slowly down the hill. He saw our bike and made an even more gingerly u-turn than had I.
Safely inside we had alight lunch and when the rain had eased to a drizzle we agreed that they would head east at Montrose while we would continue north. In due course we waved them goodbye and set course for Delta, where we turned off for Carbondale. Not quite. We were once again head I g towards the mountains and there, settled in like an angry Neptune with lowering brow, sat these heavy clouds and told Liz we would be getting wet. Ten miles short of Ouray this prophecy proved accurate. The traffic slowed to a crawl and we were compelled to crawl with them courtesy of the double center line.
Eventually we reached Ouray and I was keeping a look out for John, hoping to find him at a service station under a canopy now the good citizens of Ouray had already invented the wheel and indeed use it extensively, but they as yet have not invented the service station with canopy. Sad, really! Thus we proceeded to the end of the businesses at about walking pace. No John, no canopy. I made a u-turn and parked, in the rain, outside a coffee shop we went inside, dripping like freshly laundered towels, and ordered hot chocolate a few minutes later, John and Anne appeared, closely representing our earlier speed and appearance.
After a warm drink and light lunch, the rain eased and then stopped and wee prepared to depart. John and Anne would turn east at Montrose to attend to family business and we hope to meet in a few days, perhaps on the way to Mount Rushmore.
As we descended from the mountains the sky cleared and the temperature soared, peaking at29C in Delta, where we ourselves branched off east, towards Carbondale. Once again heading towards the Rockies, dark clouds and lightning were dominating the direction of proposed travel. We entered a small town and I spotted a motel straight in. If they had a room, we were taking it.
We are now in Hotchkiss CO. Never on our map, but serendipitously we are dry, warm and leaving in the morning!