2023 Road Trip: Day 3 – Let’s Take the Scenic Route

I got better sleep last night. Part of it might be because it didn’t get quite as cold. Part of it might also be the Benadryl I took before bed. Either way, I’m ready to move onto the next location!

I decided that I wanted to spend a couple of days around the Ouray, Colorado area. A straight-shot drive would’ve been about a 4-ish hour drive, but I’ve always wanted to drive the Million Dollar Highway, so I took the longer scenic route instead. I ended up driving through the San Luis Valley and towards Durango. Once I got on Highway 160, I ended up driving through a lot of rain. My windshield was completely caked in bug guts, so this ended up giving me a free windshield cleaning. Sweet!

After making my way through a rainy Wolf Creek Pass, I made a pit stop at the Wolf Creek Valley Overlook to stretch my legs and have a snack. Quite the view, too!

By this point, the rain was starting to wind down, so I got in my car and made a quick second pit stop at Treasure Falls Observation Site just down the road. It was a relatively short but steep hike to the falls, and it felt good to get a little exercise in the middle of all the driving.

I snapped a few pictures of the falls, then made my way back to my car. As I was coming up on the town of Bayfield, traffic came to a sudden stop. There was nasty wreck just ahead, around the corner. It must’ve just happened, as paramedics weren’t there yet. Unfortunately, from what I could see, I’m… not sure they survived. I did not take any pictures for obvious reasons. Once paramedics arrived, they had us turn around and take a dirt road detour. It was clear that the road was going to be blocked for a while.

Eventually, I passed through Durango, and hit a pretty heavy thunderstorm on my approach. I must’ve annihilated dozens of tumble weeds as they blew across the highway. From here, the highway turned North to Highway 550, and through Silverton came the famed Million Dollar Highway.

OH EM GEE, that whole stretch between Durango and Ouray is BEAUTIFUL! Pictures really don’t do it justice. This is something you just need to experience for yourself. It was raining the whole drive, so I didn’t take many pictures along the way. I just drove and took in the sights, but also kept hyper-focused on the road. This is one of those drives where you really can’t look away from the road because, 1: it’s super narrow, 2: there are a lot of hairpin curves, and 3: there are straight drops down steep cliffs with no guardrails. They say this is where Coloradoans get their drivers’ tests. It’s a pass or fail test.

The only picture I took during my drive in (I pulled over, obviously)

I finally arrived at the town of Ouray, knuckles as white as the snow-capped mountains, and sore shoulders from navigating that beautifully terrifying highway. I decided to book a room for a couple of nights at the Hot Springs Inn. Decided to skip camping this time. I could use a proper shower, and sleeping in a real bed sounded nice. I also decided to grab a burger from Full Tilt Saloon. Man, that burger hit the spot. 10/10 do recommend.

And now, sleep.


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