Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ROAD TRIP - Taos, NM to Silverton, CO

On our way to God's Country!

Out of Taos, we took Highway 68/285 north, up to Antonito, CO then left to Chama, NM on Highway 64/17.

The north leg is a great road, easy to drive and with great scenery. Next time through, a stop will be scheduled to check out the sustainable-dwelling hobbyists and their structures at Earth Ship.  You have heard me lambaste the "Dirt Worshipers" in the past in this Blog but, let me be clear that I admire any type of technical ingenuity and the dwellings at Earth Ship are pretty much the top of that class.

You can find more about Earth Ship, HERE.

The leg west of Antonito really starts to put you in beautiful country as the road parallels the Conejo River. This area had a lot of Fly Fisherman at work on a Monday! We will be back to check this out. The highway starts climbing like a Cable Car in San Francisco. My guess is that the Monsterhome steamed up a 8-10% grade on that route topping off at La Manga Pass, over 10,000' feet up.

I love my Lowrance IWay!
On this grade was an intrepid and very fit soul peddling to the top!

Find out more about Colorado, Highway 17 HERE.

At the summit we intersect the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway. Much the same livery runs this railroad as does the Durango and Silverton, NG RR.

At the Osier, CO yard.

The Cumbres and Toltec operation claims to be America;s Highest & Longest Coal Fired, Steam Operation, Narrow-Gauge Railroad. You can find more about the RR here:

Cumbres & Toltec Website
Wikipedia Page


The route down into Caham, NM was much more gradual and just as beautiful. Chama is a cool little town with a lot of history and some "genuine characters".  I will be back to this locale again for a longer stay. A few photos of the rail yard and around town.

An old Rotary Snowplow
The old station in Chama, NM
There were a few vehicles adorned with stickers in political
statement. This one is a good read!
The best sticker of all!
It's 4x4 country. This old M38 as seen in Chama is very cool!
Onward to Durango and then Silverton.

Out of Chama, we head west again and then north to Pagossa Springs, CO via Highway 84. This is an easy road with light traffic. Once in Pagossa Springs we take Highway 160 west to Durango. I hate this road ! It's a winding, sometimes narrow, two lane road with tons of traffic. I'd rather deal with the old, Interstate Highway intersections in El Paso, TX than this route.

Once in Durango, we head north on Highway 550. This road is simply superb up to the San Juan County line where it narrows a bit and then even more right before you descend into Silverton. Take your time here, make sure your rig is not overloaded. Make sure your brakes are top notch and be rested and alert before you take this route.

It is truly spectacular scenery on this route through God's Country with Silverton as a place that we come back to time and time again like a second home.

You can find out more about the Highway, Durango and Silverton as follows:

Highway 550
Durango, CO - Official Website
Silverton, CO - Offical Website
Silverton Standard - On-line Newspaper

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