Ended the month of January with a road trip, just seemed fitting to start the new year with a good ending! So, we packed up the car, made arrangements to keep the critters fed and pulled out of the drive in good spirits ready to hit the road!
Our first stop was in Fountain CO to meet a good friend for a quick coffee stop. You could see the snowpack on the Sangre de Cristos to the west. The air was crisp and sun was shining and it made for a great day of driving. We had the radio filled with a new list of songs to listen to over and over on the drive that we are adding to our list of covers as we spend the next few months working on new stuff.
As we pulled back onto the interstate towards Fort Collins CO we could see the Rockies beginning to show themselves shining like a beacon with their whitecaps gleaming under the bright afternoon sun overhead. Traffic held out pretty good for us until we hit north Denver, but it didn't last long and soon enough we found our way back up to speed pushing for Fort Collins for a dinner date with Cip. We arrived on time and had dinner at a great Cajun restaurant in the Fort downtown. After spending a good part of the evening hanging we made our way to Loveland to stay overnight at some great friends I met during my first years in Colorado several years ago.
It's always encouraging to meet with old friends and talk about lessons learned, future plans and dreams. The encouragement came easy as we filled our bellies with homemade apple crisp topped with ice cream. I have learned over the years to cherish the nurturing that comes with sitting with friends. It can inspire and drive one to reflect enabling better decisions and directives as we move forward. For that, I am always grateful. We were captured in the warmth of friendship till the early morning hour at which we were all a bit surprised and jumped up to hit the rack for an early morning breakfast.
We ate, said our goodbyes and hugged till we should meet again, and Karl and I pulled out of the parking lot towards the western front range with Durango in our sights. The snowpack has been good this season, once we hit the mountain range off the interstate it was as far as the eye could see, for the next two days of travel we would swim in a sea of white. We caught hwy 50, it was dark as we made it down the road still hours away from Durango. If you haven't traveled Ridgway thru to Purgatory, well, let me tell you... be sure you prepare yourself, lol! With the snowfall, and melt off, by dark the roads were freezing up in spots and as we were moving uphill we started a soft slide...I won't tell you what came out of my mouth, but by the time we stopped sliding we both had rubber legs and our stomachs felt like they ended up on the seat. Karl managed to pull us out of a 'slippery' situation, but it left both of us contemplating the necessity of having our wills arranged by the time we would get back home. The rest of the drive was surreal, with avalanche signs posted every couple of miles, tight hairpin curves with no guardrails, and drop offs in the dark abis leaving a 4" gap from the shoulder line between life and death. I think I contemplated the meaning of life during those 3 hours more than I ever have, haha!
But we made it, and pulled into a snowy Durango by 9pm that night, making our way up to our room at the 'Strater Hotel' tired and hungry, but just happy to be alive! The Strater Hotel was built in 1837 and remains true of the west with its decor of heavy wood work, lavish wallpaper and draperies. We made some music contact there, perhaps in the future we will perform there.
Durango is a small college town filled with breweries and coffee shops, with a mix of terrain from long range mountain views to arid mesa views and typical big skies above. We spent a good part of the day checking things out for future venues as we plan for spring and summer excursions visiting wild horse range just north and west of the borders of the four corners. We walked the sidewalks entering doorways of galleries meandering making connections for art and music through the day.
The ride home was long as we stayed off the interstate and took back roads, some new, some familiar, giving me the opportunity to reflect on my travels down those roads traveled years prior. There was a horizon of snowpack all the way home till we hit Taos, where we were greeted with watercolor sunsets to welcome us home.
It was good trip in a lot of ways, seeing Cip, old friends, being inspired by new faces and places. I woke up this morning with a new appreciation for living after the roads we gripped the day before, thankful that we were kept safe by the spirits that surrounded us. We live in a land that is so generous with its beauty, its risk, and its giving. Hope you enjoy the pictures posted, I know I am fortunate and blessed to have a gypsy heart, and feet that don't fail, eyes that can see and heart that has the zeal to keep moving, hoping and believing for those things that are true and right.
Live hard, live happy, keep your grit...
Running with the Horses,