August 4, 2009

Hooray!

I'm in Ouray.

ADDED: From the letters of Ayn Rand:
Speaking of Atlas Shrugged, I was amused (benevolently) to hear that you chose Ouray as your favorite spot in Colorado. That is the little town I had picked for Galt's Gulch. To be exact, I marked it on a map as the right location long before I saw it. Then, when I went to Colorado for research purposes and discovered Ouray, I fell in love with it. It is the most beautifully dramatic spot in the whole state, and it's even surrounded by a ring of mountains....

33 comments:

Will said...

Ouray's a lovely town. Make sure that you and your hubby go for a swim at the Hot Springs. I highly recommend it.

John Lynch said...

Durango is nice and it's 70 miles away. Ride a steam train to Silverton. Or from Silverton.

Ouray is like being in a bowl. The hot springs are nice.

Bonus points if anyone knows why it's called Ouray, and even more points if anyone mentions CW McCall.

John Lynch said...

Red Mountain pass is pretty interesting if you're not used to mountain driving. That's the highway leaving town to the south.

Matt said...

I grew up near there. Beautiful country. Some of the most amazing mountain ranges in North America. The road from Ouray to Silverton is 30 miles but it is so steep and winding that it takes about an hour to drive. Here is the drive on youtube. Note the drop off on the right hand side of the road around 1:45 to 2:00

Big Mike said...

@Meade, she didn't say "we're" in Ouray. Where'd you run off to, Man?

jimbino said...

Ouray has to be the name of some Ute chief. Anyway, Crested Butte, which you apparently have already passed, is far nicer.

If you do stop at Mesa Verde, Ann, take a survey of the racial makeup of the visitors. You will find all of them to be white--no blacks, no hispanics and no "native Americans." Except those Affirmative Action kids who are selling trinkets.

Kurt said...

I visited Ouray 16 years ago and at the time it was still something of an undiscovered gem, compared to most of the other places we visited in Colorado on that trip. The drive to Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway is quite spectacular, but a little nerve-wracking.

traditionalguy said...

Hurrray for Colorado. Only skip Leadville. That is one strange place to live in or visit.

Donna B. said...

The trip I remember most vividly over the Million Dollar Highway was when I was 15 and riding a bus full of Montrose Indians on the way to a football game with the Durango Demons.

Just a bit north of the Yankee Girl mine, the bus came to a stop. The road was down to one lane because the east side lane had slipped down the mountain.

For years before, my brother and I played "can you spot a new wreck" in the valleys. There were so many vehicle hulls we could see. We'd mentally catalogued them, but I wish now we'd taken pictures.

I was never caught in a snowstorm on Red Mountain, but was several times on Monarch. One habit of my mother's that I've kept is always having a blanket or two in the trunk.

Cerro is another interesting pass. From the summit, you can coast all the way to Montrose if you don't come up behind somebody using their brakes.

jimbino -- while you are correct that there are very very few blacks in most of Colorado, I've never been anywhere in the state (and I was born and lived there for years) where the hispanic/native American population wasn't highly noticeable.

MamaM said...

Damn, this reminds me of a road rally. Time for bonus points:

C.W. McCall is the nom de chanteur of Bill Fries, an advertising man who created the character of C.W. McCall..Bill lives in Ouray with his wife Rena (the “RJ” of the song “Black Bear Road”) and Hannah the German Shepard, when he’s not travelling in his motorhome.

When it came time to pass out eloquent nicknames, with "Ouray eloquently nicknamed the Switzerland of America."

AND Prior to the arrival of the miners, the Tabequache Indians, a nomadic band, traveled to this idyllic setting in the summer months to hunt the abundant forest game and to soak in what they called “sacred miracle waters”. In 1873, the famous Ute Chief, Ouray, reluctantly signed a government treaty releasing the Ute’s treasured San Juan Mountains to encroaching settlers. Chief Ouray was instrumental in keeping peace between the Ute Indians and the many settlers.The town was named in his honor.

"Good to know" info here at blog fingertips, for the edification of all rally participants. Now as GrandmaM used to say, there's "no excuse for anyone to die dumb"

Jeffrey said...

Ann,
I've been going to Ouray for years. If your looking for some beautiful glass to take back home stop in to see glassblower Sam Rushing at Ouray Glassworks. And, buy plenty of his homemade wassail too. He's fun and he's a left wing nut. But, you'll love talking to him. I blogged about him at http://jeffreymark.typepad.com/myfolder/2007/07/ourays-big-name.html
Jeffrey Mark

Bruce Hayden said...

I was never caught in a snowstorm on Red Mountain, but was several times on Monarch. One habit of my mother's that I've kept is always having a blanket or two in the trunk.

We were, about 4 or 5 years ago. We had been skiing at the Silverton ski area, and had come into Durango via Wolf Creek pass, and so left up through Silverton and Ouray. Probably the steepest ski area in the country, with only two single black diamond runs, and everything else double diamond. We had hit the area between snow storms, and our skis were not fat enough. Now I have a pair of really fat ones, JIC I can get back there.

Oh, and then a couple of years ago, a couple guys from work at the ski area near Dillon managed to bag work a couple days claiming Red Mtn. Pass was closed - ignoring all the other routes back from Silverton.

My father still carries a blanket in his trunk for Colorado Mtn. driving, though nearing 90, he doesn't do much any more. I carry a sleeping bag instead, plus other msc. emergency stuff that I never need, but would if I didn't carry it.

KLDAVIS said...

Looks like you missed Independence Pass (between Aspen and Leadville). Besides being the route Lance Armstrong uses to train for the Tour de France, it happens to be the most terrifying drive I've ever taken. I clenched the wheel and willed myself to somehow preserve the life of my new bride as we rounded hairpin turns on single lane road with two-way traffic, where the white stripe marking the road's edge had long ago crumbled down the shear face of the mountain. Guard rail? Hah, never heard of 'em. It's open about 4 months of the year, and that's about 3 months too many.

KLDAVIS said...

Durango is beautiful country...will be heading out there next month for our anniversary. There are hot springs around there, or there were when I was a kid growing up across the border in New Mexico. I'm not much for the steam trains...one nearly ran my sister down when we were young and stupid playing on the tracks at the bottom of a canyon. I guess they cut the engines when they're running downhill. Sure didn't hear it coming, either way.

Bruce Hayden said...

jimbino -- while you are correct that there are very very few blacks in most of Colorado.

I am pretty sure that the heaviest concentration is in east Denver and Aurora. Without forced busing, my memory is that East HS is maybe 1/2 Black (again), and newly reopened Manual HS also has a high percentage.

Ken Hamblin, a conservative radio show talk show host and columnist for the Denver Post, called himself the "Black Avenger" and was nationally syndicated for awhile. He used to live part time up in the mountains in, I think Frisco, but could have been somewhere like Fairplay.

Bruce Hayden said...

Looks like you missed Independence Pass (between Aspen and Leadville). Besides being the route Lance Armstrong uses to train for the Tour de France, it happens to be the most terrifying drive I've ever taken. I clenched the wheel and willed myself to somehow preserve the life of my new bride as we rounded hairpin turns on single lane road with two-way traffic, where the white stripe marking the road's edge had long ago crumbled down the shear face of the mountain. Guard rail? Hah, never heard of 'em. It's open about 4 months of the year, and that's about 3 months too many.

You do exaggerate a bit. But it is beautiful, somewhat akin to Trail Ridge. Actually, instead of guard rails, it has those Depression WPA era stone road boundaries which IMHO make things worse, because it seems to have been designed for cars of that vintage. It is two lanes wide, all the way, but with those stone boundaries, a narrow two lanes.

The problem is the bicyclists. Yes, they move fairly good going downhill, but not so good going up. So, you have people trying to pass them, and there is barely enough room for two cars, and the corners really are often blind. Add to that some of the nuts from Aspen with their Turbo Porsches, etc., and it can get exciting.

Peter Stevens said...

Did you travel on US 550 south out of Silverton on the way to Durango? If so, did you spot the sign proclaiming the roadside was kept clean by the Silverton Gunfighters Association?

elc said...

Bill ("C.W. McCall") Fries was mayor of Ouray for a term or two, wasn't he? One of the great undiscovered talents out there, IMO.

And let me take this opportunity to delurk and wish Althouse and Meade all the happiness in the world.

Kurt said...

Actually, now that I think about it, the summer I visited Ouray was also the same summer I read Atlas Shrugged. The two events were completely disconnected for me, though. I read Atlas Shrugged because a college friend had given me a copy to read, and was not especially impressed. I visited Ouray with my family on our trip to Colorado later that summer because some of my parent's friends had recommended it as an interesting place that was off the beaten path.

Chip Ahoy said...

I did not know that about Ouray and Atlas Shrugged. I'll try not to hold that against it. I keed, I keed.

Do you notice, surely you do with your remarkable camera eyes, as you drive around the mountain curves the color palette changes with each turn? Pine trees on one slope, silver sage dotted against red iron soil the next slope, Aspen and pine on the next curve, and so forth. It is like driving through a vast incredible painting that changes with the season, in'nit.

I believe it is in Ouray, or upon exiting, when you look up to one one the mountain tops high above, a frame house was built a long time ago that seems to teeter on the edge precariously with only a cable for access. Makes you want to go right up there. Not.

Donna B. said...

All my time in Colorado was spent on the Western slope. Denver was almost a "foreign" city.

My parents lived in Sapinero when I was born, but my Mom went to the hospital in Gunnison. This was quite an expense for my parents, but she'd suffered a stillborn child a few years earlier. The Sapinero they lived in is now under the waters of the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

My earliest memories (say ages 3-5) are of living in a sawmill shack in the mountains. The only electricity was provided by a generator to the sawmill. Our food was kept in an icebox insulated with sawdust and light was provided with kerosene lanterns. Heat was from the wood cookstove and handmade quilts.

When my father started making money running a sawmill in Montrose, we "vacationed" in a new cabin built about 20 feet from the original shack. In fact, we had a family reunion picnic there last year. It's still private land owned by cousins and it's still beautiful.

The first few years my father sawmilled there, we "wintered" in Arkansas. That changed when the doctor said my mother, pregnant with my little sister, couldn't make the trip back to Arkansas. And that's when my Dad started making "real" money managing (and eventually owning) his own big sawmill in town.

As soon as snowmobiles were invented, we couldn't wait to get back to the old sawmill site in the winter. We had to dig 6 ft to get to the doorway, but we had awesome fun there.

My cousins that still live around Montrose run sheep and cattle on the lands their fathers and grandfathers owned. My family married into theirs and it's a great Scots-Irish/Italian/Greek mix.

Before returning to the South, we also lived a few years in Chama NM. Google Reies Tijerina to understand why my parents sent me to a boarding school instead of to the HS in Tierra Amarilla.

If I were Althouse and Meade, I'd stay in Ouray. I really miss being in that part of Colorado.

Terry said...

I still wear the sweatshirt I bought in Ouray because I nearly froze to death there in the middle of July. Breakfast at the Durango diner is great if you get that far.

jacksonianlawyer said...

A "second that" made in re the Durango Diner recommendation. You would be well-advised to go there should your time allow.

Juris Dentist said...

"I am in Ouray."

Hey wait! Where's the stunt husband??!!

Pogo said...

Ouray?
Ayn Raynd?
Aytlas Shruygged?


Outrayge!

Chris said...

When but wee lad on summer vacation with my folks, I saw a Neil Simon play in Ouray. I don't remember which one now, but I remember being surprised that plays can be funny.

Michael said...

Ann - While in Ouray, you must find Mouse's - the best chocolate shop in the world. The truffles are fantastic! We begin and ended our visit at this wonderful store - and they ship chocolates anywhere! My wife and I spent an afternoon in Ouray two weeks ago while vacationing in CO.

Fred4Pres said...

You guys have fun. You should go four wheeling there.

Bart DePalma said...

Welcome to our little slice of paradise here in Colorado. I was zip lining a few miles south of you yesterday.

Ann Althouse said...

About the "I" instead of the "we"... I'm going to get in trouble either way. If I say "we" every time Meade is with me, people will complain. Think about it. It will look like a "royal we" or it will seem too sticky sweet, etc. etc.

Lem said...

My mentor and carpool driver George, related to me that Mesa Verde is relatively near where you guys are and worth the visit.

George is planning to retire to Colorado; it's all he talks about.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Who would complain about "we", aside from the people who come here for the purpose of complaining about something? The only time people ever say "I" when describing their travels is when they're traveling alone.

Big Mike said...

IMAO a weak response, Professor. You're expected to be cloyingly sweet (I believe the word is "twee") in the first few days of your honeymoon.

If you haven't worked it out by now, we're all very happy for you and Meade.