We’re taking a much-deserved trip in a couple of weeks. We’re booking a funky, little casita outside Taos, New Mexico. Right now, there’s major snow on the ground but we’ve got a 4×4 Tacoma and the old man is an excellent snow-driver so this is going to be a blast.
We’ve been through New Mexico before. We used to be bikers for many years and rode our Harley on amazing trips all over this country. One of the most incredible trips we took was 3000+ mile trip from Fort Worth, Texas up through the panhandle, across that little finger of Oklahoma and into Colorado. We rode up through Colorado Springs, took a day trip to Canon City (apparently pronounced Canyon City due the 1000 foot deep gorge there. I took a video of my husband swinging out over this gorge! They strapped him into bungee type outfit and this huge contraption that was perched on the edge of this gigantic precipice swung him waaaay out over that incredible canyon. There’s not enough money in the world to get me to do something like that. I don’t even like ferries wheels, frankly.) then up through Highway 82 (incredible!!!) into Aspen.
Just an aside here. Aspen was the the very, very least interesting part of our entire trip. Outside the town the scenery was awe-inspiring, as so much of Colorado is, but the town was nothing more than a high-class shopping center…Bloomingdales, Newman Marcus, Gucci, etc. We literally got off our bike for ten minutes to rest and then left town. Boring.
We traveled down through Grand Junction, through Montrose, then east through Gunnison and the Gunnison National Forest (awe-inspiring ride) to Del Norte. From there, we took a right and headed to Durango and the beginning of the ride that would literally blow my mind and the memory of it continues to blow my mind to this day.
We headed north on Hwy 550, otherwise known as the eastern arm of the million dollar highway. We took this Harley trip in September and by the time we reached Durango, the weather had turned preeeetty dang chilly and it had started to sprinkle rain. We bundled up in our thermals and rain suits before heading up and it’s a good thing because by the time we reached Silverton, we were wet, cold…but with a glitter in our eyes at the unbelievable beauty we were traveling through. We pulled off in Silverton and went into a saloon there and got a nice, hot cup of freshly pressed coffee to warm us a little then we mounted up in the drizzle again and headed north to Ouray.
O M G.
This leg of that drive was simply indescribable. This road in Colorado is counted as one of the most dangerous highways in the world during winter months and it’s very clear why. No guard rails anywhere and we were traveling on a narrow road that appeared to be cut directly from the sheer rock canyon walls that soared over our heads and disappeared into the vastness below. It was absolutely terrifying and exhilarating and frankly, the experience bordered on visionary on a Harley. There was no car roof to block the 360 degree view we had. I’m sure my husband didn’t get the experience I had since he was focused on navigating that narrow, winding strip of blacktop to keep us from plunging hundreds, if not thousands, of feet to our death. Every few miles, there were avalanche shelters with sloped roofs that we drove through. They don’t use guard rails here because in the winter months, this area gets such a phenomenal amount of snow, the plows have to just go through and push it off the sides. But this road is actually closed completely during the worst of the winter. If any of you have the opportunity to take a trip around this loop, I highly encourage it. Go in warm weather and just drive slowly and attentively and you will be astounded.
As we left Ouray, it was really starting to rain hard and we had to go slowly, just fast enough to keep the bike upright, so my babe could see the road. Our goggles and the windshield were covered with water and almost impossible to see through. It was also starting to get dark as we finally pulled into Telluride. We had no clue where we could stay…this trip was all flying by the seat of our pants, which is the only way to travel, honestly. But as we pulled off to look at our map, we noticed we’d stopped in front of a bed and breakfast, Sophia’s. We spent two nights there in Telluride because we loved that town so much. I picked up a real estate magazine just out of curiosity and got the shock of my life. At that time in Telluride, real estate prices were so off the charts that people were renovating their SHEDS and selling them for close to a million bucks!
From Telluride, we meandered our way back down to Durango and took a quick, final thrilling trip up to the top of Pike’s Peak. Again, no guard rails and looking over the edge to the right to see the road winding down 10, 12, 14 thousand feet below you…absolutely amazing. We stood on top and looked down at the clouds!!
We’re taking our 8 year old granddaughter with us to New Mexico. Yes, she’s going to miss several days of school but she’s going to love this and undoubtedly learn more on this trip than she ever would confined in a desk at stupid robot school. I’m sure I’ll be ranting about enforced government schools again soon so stayed tuned, weirdos.