Monday, May 30, 2022

Driving southwest to Ouray, Silverton and Durango.

The weather around the 23rd was predicting snow over most of Colorado so we made a reservation at a B&B in Durango for 2 nights and headed that way. We had a snowy drive through Ouray, but the roads were dry, thank goodness no ice or chains required! 

Snowy ride through Ouray

Check out this route through the mountain range between Ouray and Silverton!

It was a nice drive down from Paonia and we were welcomed at the Country Sunshine B&B where we had a nice room for a couple of nights.

The Aspen Room

Here's our view from our room, the deck you see is on the bank of the Animas River. Not a very sunny day, but the grounds were sure peaceful.

View from the Aspen Room @ Country Sunshine B&B.

The next day was sunny and bright, so we did some small touring, had a good burger at the James Ranch Grill, and I made a shopping stop at Honeyville, (a local bee attraction & shop), for some lemon flavored whipped honey, (and cinnamon too).  One spot we checked out was the Butch Cassidy Bridge, from the famous jump scene in the movie. What a gorgeous view of the Animas River! You had to be there, the picture doesn't nearly do it justice.

Animas River, Durango, CO

We also checked out the Lemon Reservoir, one of the many we saw whose levels were low. The area by the reservoir had a huge grassy meadow upon which there were a few people practicing obedience training with their dogs - always a treat to see a well-behaved dog/person combo. 

Lemon Reservoir, looking pretty low at this, the shallow end.

Another reservoir we perused was the Vellecito Lake Reservoir. It too was low, but what a lovely spot to have a lake house. (I'll bet the prices are sky-high during this housing boom.)  

It was a short but sweet stay here in Durango which we enjoyed if just for the great drive through the mountains. Next up we head even further west to Cortez. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Next stop was in Paonia, Colorado

After leaving Cuchara it was time to move on to Paonia, a town I had never heard of, which is just north of the Grand Mesa and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  What a pretty area this part of Colorado is with some red rock formations and impressive mountains in main view. OK, I admit, as a Floridian any mountain in impressive! 

A lot of great scenery on the way, some shots taken 
while driving along so there may be some blur.

Our digs in Paonia, courtesy of Airbnb, was the finished "basement" floor of a home. Lovely property, with it's own little manicured forest and rock gardens, it was a wonderful stay. Our hosts were Californian transplants, following their son & family to Colorado some years back. They were excellent hosts. Janice even provided 1/2 n 1/2, farm fresh eggs, fresh fruit and home-baked breakfast breads and dessert offerings too!

Our first breakfast (which  was cooked in the tiny kitchenette
of the unit) was fresh scrambled eggs, blueberry coffee cake, ham
and fresh navel orange makes for a delicious start to the day.

I wouldn't be game for the upkeep but what a gorgeous yard!
It was just getting going with the peonies and irises coming on too.

Outside seating with the "local" mountain in view.

The whole bottom floor was ours to enjoy. We stayed 5 nights.

This town prides itself on being an organic, farm to table type town with locally grown fruits and veggies, wineries, and organically fed beef, lamb and poultry. I stopped at the Blue Sage Gallery and saw some great work from some of the local artists and artisans.  A story was told that one of the Dollar stores wanted to open in town and was denied, "not havin' it".  

While driving through we spotted this curiosity, someone's idea of a joke?
or someone's dream camper - doesn't look real towable.

Surely a novel rig, bound to bring plenty of stares.

Since we spent 5 nights there we did plenty of driving around. One  day we drove up to Carbondale then back down to Marble for a delicious lunch at Slow Groovin' BBQ. They had a small portion section on the menu, so I chose a slice of brisket - oh man! So delicious; tender and juicy, even Ed, the "straight-up" pork-lovin' guy", thought it was excellent. It must have been 7or 8" long - YUM!! The carnivore for the win! 

Here's a taste of the marble statuary seen out and about.

Lots of wildlife statues.

Another day we took a detour to drive through the Redstone Historic District and saw lots of red rock, a quirky main drag and blooming trees. Passed by some coke smelting ovens, and more mountains.

Having a peek and a leg stretcher.

We found it to be a really nice part of Colorado, still a bit on the sleepy side. A great leg of this trip and very enjoyable.  

Hey thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Finally stepped foot into Colorado, down south into the Spanish Peaks.

 I'm still playing catch-up on the blog but these events takes place around May 13th.

After leaving Arkansas we made a quick boogie through Oklahoma stopping about 2/3rds way for the night. The next day we finished up driving through Oklahoma and entered Colorado from the Southeastern corner at Trinidad. From there it was a fairly short jaunt up into the 8400' town of Cuchara, situated in between the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the nearby Spanish Peaks. Wow, what a beautiful area.  We rented a "cabin" right on the Cuchara River and were treated to a very nice house offering tons of peace and quiet, plus full amenities. This was a direct booking through Cuchara Cabins & Condos.  This trip is a mix of direct bookings and Airbnb bookings and we haven't been disappointed in any of our choices.  

After getting settled we went out for a short tour along the Highway of Legends and over the nearly 10,000' Cuchara Pass before dinner.

Some great views to be had, and a fair share of snow too.  

A lot of snow around, and thankfully,
the pines around here look relatively beetle-free.

While driving up to Cuchara we passed by this lovely lake and had to stop for a leg-stretcher. So pretty.

Several of these lakes are turquois due to
mineral deposits in the glacial fields.

The next day we packed some sandwiches and headed out for a hike. We found a likely road into the San Isabel Nat'l Forest which showed a 1/2 mile+ easy (handicapped accessible) trail to a scenic overlook. Sounds good right? Just my speed we thought, what with my foot problems and all. Well, it was a heavily-wooded trail with some big patches of snow to traverse, but it was fun! The diversity of the pine trees was incredible, some were tall, and had slim limbs with short sparse needles and some were fat-limbed with super bushy needles. I rubbed my hands over the needles and then smelled them - memory-blasted with childhood memories of live pines at Christmastime - wonderful! So long since I'd smelled that. The whole forest smelled that way, but super fresh too because of the snow.

Very pungent - smelled just like Christmas!

So we walk the 1/2 mile and there's a sign that points left and says "Scenic Overlook 1/2 mile" WTH?!? Nope, no way am I walking another 1/2 mile then a mile back, no can do.  Ed says "no problem", and scouted ahead and found a perfectly situated hillside with a great panoramic view - YAY! (Wouldn't you know it, I can't find a picture of it, lol). We use both phones and my trusty Kodak pocket camera for photo op's, so there's usually scads of shots to choose from, too many really, but not this time. 

These booked stays of ours are 2 nights in length, so we have to split the time between trying to do too much and being lazy. We did some other auto-touring but also relaxed and rested-up too. 

Thanks for checking in, the next post will be up soon, so check back.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Having a peek at North Central Arkansas

 After our 2 night stay in Alabama, we headed over to the Norfolk Lake area in northern Arkansas. The drive was most excellent with beautiful and lush scenery. In particular, the roses!! So many homes and businesses had large red rosebushes, obviously they know the secret of growing/tending them just right. Best of all they had a delicate fragrance which has been bred out of many of the hybrids.

The drive from Alabama through Mississippi and into Arkansas was very pretty. Dandelions are in full pop-out mode and carpeted the gently rolling hills and verges along the highways. Lots of rural farm land and cattle pastures, great eye candy to say the least. Miles and miles of it.

This is how every roadside looked. What a great drive!

Once in Arkansas we passed by a lot of creeks, rivers and lakes. There seemed to be plentiful water about, and it seemed like we were crossing the White River over and over.

Lush, grassy banks make for a pretty backyard.

A couple of fellas set up camp right river side and get out 
in their john boats for some fishing. Looks like a great vacation.

The weather was warm but not bad, and our cabin at the Mockingbird Bay Resort on Lake Norfolk was pleasant.  The owners of the resort were really great, friendly and funny and more than willing to bend over backwards to meet expectations. Loretta was an amazing quilter and stitch-wizard as well and we had a fun conversation about crafting of all sorts. I learned a lot about quilting, and she too had skads of bright and colorful batik squares etc.

During our day touring we crossed the White River and while on the bridge, the swifts were swarming and swooping. So cool.

Check out the swifts having a field day.

Later we checked out the historic City Rock Bluff or Calico Bluff. It's a bit of an historic site which you can read about here; 

City Rock Bluff, looking one way..

and the other. Pretty special.

Really great views in both directions from the top of approx. 150' cliffs above the White River.  All in all a beautiful glimpse of Arkansas. We didn't go fishing but the lake is reputed to produce some huge fish.

"The bite’s on at Norfork Lake, and they’re hitting hard. For the best crappie, striper, bass, and walleye fishing, it’s clean water, clear water Norfork Lake. Both morning and evening you can expect to catch bass & BIG stripers, so now is the time to come fish the best lake in the mid-south for stripers." 

Snippet coutesy of

                                       Shot also courtesy of  the afforementioned website.

Our last day there we took sandwiches and had lunch in a fun little creekside park running through the town of Calico Rock. 

Picnic spot, waterside.

After lunch we took a good, long look through the Calico Rock Historic Museum which was fascinating; many diorama's depicting the Native Americans and ways of life for the early settlers, and the folks up through the mid-1900's. So great to see it preserved and to realize just how far we have come in 100 yrs. These folks have done an excellent job of sourcing artifacts and putting it all together in a unique way.

Courtesy of the Calico Rock Museum

Here's a link to it:

From there we headed out west through Oklahoma and into the southern part of Colorado. I'll cover that in the next post.

Thanks for reading along - it was a great stop through a very pretty state and we're sure glad we went through and spent a little time there. I, for one, wouldn't be at all opposed to going back for further visiting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Heading out west the slow-poke way.

 This blog is a week late getting written, our departure date was actually May 9th, but here goes..

We did a good job getting things squared away and thoroughly locked-up at home, and got on the road towards Cheaha State Park, AL on Monday morning.  We had reserved a chalet for 2 nights inside the park. Very pretty spot at about 2400' so things were budded-out and blooming. Rhododendrons, iris, peonys and others. We saw deer early in the morning. 

Chalet in Cheaha State Park, AL

The people around here were super friendly and interested in engaging with us in conversation at the drop of a hat.  The park was built as a CCC project, and as such most buildings (all?) are stonework.

They had a great trailhead with an impressive entrance "gateway". The wings of the gateway had leaf impressions of the varieties of trees in this area. Very cool.

We found the lush vegetation so very appealing, especially when combined with mid-70's temps.Lots of stuff in bloom, here's a few.

We saw more roses! Gorgeous, big bushes
of them all up in GA, AL and MS. I wish!

The big draw around here is the overlook from clifftop to the small mountainsin the distance. The Clifftop restaurant (closed - covid), has an incredible outdoor seating area and balcony out at the edge. From here you can see the lake way down the way.

A bit hazy for viewing but this is the highest spot in Alabama.

Close-up of the lake far down below the main buildings.

Lots of smallish lakes around the area, which we saw while auto-touring. We pack a lunch and find a suitable spot.  The first lake had lots of deer flys that wanted to buzz and buzz around your head so we skipped it,  but did take a few pics.

Pretty little lake, the place was deserted.

Just one example of the "neat & tidy" mentality around the area.

Next up we head to the Mockingbird Bay Resort on Lake Norfolk, AR. Stay tuned for that and thanks for dropping by.