We just got back from Ouray, Colorado, nestled in a valley in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado.
We spent 6 days at the KOA with high temperatures and bloodthirsty mosquitoes, but with excellent customer service, a well-kept, clean campground, and friendly campers. Overall, it was a great experience. Our oldest son caught some snakes in the pond (YIKES!), our little guy had a ball getting down in the dirt, and sweet baby girl did her best to stay cool and happy (most days, she was neither). I'm not much of a camper, so I spent the first few days whining like a spoiled brat and making everyone miserable around me. I've apologized for that...and I'm thankful I have such a merciful family.
We shopped, ate out, hiked, swam in the hot springs pool, watched the water fights (teams with fire hoses trying to shoot each other off the hose!)and fireworks, ate out, played at two great parks, ate out, visited the Ouray County History Museum, ate out.
My boys went on a mine tour, white water rafting and rode the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Hubby said the train was the highlight of the whole trip. I didn't go with sweet baby girl. We went shopping and out to lunch in Durango then I drove to Silverton to pick them up after their ride. Boy, were they dirty from that soot! I'll find a link to our vacation theme song soon and edit this post on my PC with hyperlinks (I know I always say that and never do it...maybe this time I'll make the effort!).
We stayed in a clean, relatively comfortable MOTEL. I've already mentioned this, but it goes to show you how friendly innkeepers can make all the difference. Had these folks sympathized with the fact that we wanted to veg out on some satellite TV instead of blowing us off and making excuses for their false advertising, it would have been no big deal. But, see, we don't have TV at home so it's a treat whenever we're gone to watch Food Network, the History Channel, stuff like that. And after camping for 6 days, I was ready for some a/c and TV! The owners, who I discovered are trying to sell the property, acted like their guests were more of an inconvenience than a source of income. They seemed to have a philosophy of business that WE were doing THEM a favor by staying there. So their bad attitudes colored the whole experience there for us so that we will not go back. Just be nice already!
While we enjoyed Ouray, we feel like for us it's something you do once and that's it. There wasn't enough down there for us to want to return every year.
I will say that there is some mighty fine eating out in this area. If you know us well, you know how much we LOVE to eat out. We found Mouse's Chocolates and Coffee in Ouray (oh, baby) and restaurants in nearby Ridgway, CO that we frequented the most: the True Grit Cafe, The Dog House BBQ, Oriental Chinese and Thai Restaurant, the Adobe Inn, the Holy Grounds Cafe, Panny's Eats and Treats, and the best vanilla organic ice cream at the Season's Harvest. We'd go out to eat, then play in Ridgway's park. I got a fabulous local cookbook from Ridgway.
I also bought two books about some of the local history. Plain Anne Ellis is about a mountain woman who beat the odds (I'll do a post on her-she's fascinating!) and another one about the Walsh family, who found millions of dollars worth of gold in the Camp Bird mine near Ouray.
Reflecting back, it was a great trip. The San Juans are just stunning Maybe I'll post a few pictures soon, too.