Friday, May 9, 2014

Durango

 
On Apil 30th, we had a wonderful time riding the Durango-Silverton scenic railway.   Unforunately, due to the danger of avalanche in the early Spring,  the train only goes halfway to Silverton (26 miles).  We missed the full ride to Silverton by only a few days.  The first full 40-some mile run for the season was slated to begin the next Saturday.  It was still a good ride since the railroad is one of the few scenic railroads running vintage coal fired steam engines.

I selected an RV campground (United RV) just north of town right next to the tracks.  After settling in, that evening we noticed a herd of deer wandering around the grounds.

I was taking Barney for a walk at the time.  He, of course decided start barking at the deer.  Which caused them to run a little ways away.
I got this shot of the herd just watching the barking dog.  After a few minutes they wandered further away and resumed grazing.
Here is a photo of the park from the train which we boarded the next day.
The First Class fare has very comfortable leather aircraft style seats in a glass-topped observation car.
Although comfortable, the open air coach car would be preferable for picture taking.   
I did get some good shots of the train under full head of steam.  However, I was annoyed by couple of German tourists who seemed to monopolize the car's viewing platform.


The train stopped for an hour at Cascade valley for a turn around and a lunch break.

Grandson Joshua would have loved the up-close experience of a working steam locomotive.  Most little boys are fascinated by the awesome power of  the engine. It made me feel like a kid again.  







I had a fellow passenger take this picture of Ina and me at the Durango station.


Ina found a boyfriend, but he's kind of boring. :)

The railroad museum at the Durango station is worth visiting.  Access is free.  There I spied this turn of the century printing of downtown Durango (below).  The classic architecture of the hotel on the right side of the street is still impressive today (above).
Among the antique locomotives are several beautifully restored Ford autos.



We lingered at the RV park the next day waiting for the train to pass by the park on it's morning run.  The train as it passes the park is on an upgrade and is chugging away under full throttle.  I figured it would make a great picture (at the top of this page) and a great video (below).

Finally, we headed eastward across central Colorado for Pueblo.   It was a long drive including one of the longest mountain grades we have seen.  Aptly called "30 miles of hell" in CW MCall's song: Wolf Creek pass.  Both East and West sides of the pass are about 30 miles of grades ranging in steepness from 3% to 8% .  The best the Georgetown could do through most of the steep grades was about 30mph in second gear.  I don't consider that too bad since I passed three semi's who could do more than 20 mph.  We went West-to-East.  The song and the video travels the other direction.