Sky Ute Casino Resort Basecamp
With our exciting new re-route plan settling in, we made our way north into Colorado. We found a very nice place to set up basecamp for a short time in Ignacio, Colorado at the RV Park at Sky Ute Casino Resort. From here we can set out to explore in our car and see some of the cool towns and mountain vistas that would be more difficult in the motorhome. A nice bonus to staying in Casino Resorts is that they usually have some great restaurants and who knows, I might just find a felt top table calling my name. The Sky Ute Casino Resort RV Park also has security, it’s well lit at night, offers full access to their Bowling Alley-Miniature Golf-Day Spa and Pool facilities, and it’s a Passport America RV Park.
As a sidebar, we can highly recommend the Passport America travel club. If you’re doing any amount of travelling, this will save you money. The current cost is $49 per year and that affords you half price rates at all of their member RV Parks and Resorts. We found that staying at a Passport America member park for just one weekend paid for the whole years membership. On this adventure the Passport America membership has saved us $1800 so far. If you are going to sign up, tell them we sent you. Our member # is: C-647936.
The following morning we set out to explore the Mesa Verde National Park which is famous for the “Cliff Dwellings” which are Ancestral Pueblos carved into the side of mountains. National Geographic Traveler chose it as one of “80 World Destinations for Travel in the 21st Century”, one of only nine places selected in the US. We had done enough research to know that to get “up-close and personal” on our excursion was going to take some hiking, so we planned accordingly with backpacks, water and good hiking shoes. There are a variety of these cliff dwellings and we chose to explore the Cliff Palace. This multi-storied ruin, the best-known cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde, is located in the largest alcove in the center of the Great Mesa. It faced south by southwest providing greater warmth from the sun in the winter. Dating back more than 700 years, the dwelling is constructed of sandstone, wooden beams, and mortar. Getting to the Cliff Palace was mostly a downhill hike. However, the hike back which in turn was mostly uphill, reminded us of two things:
- Youth is fleeting
- For the past 25 years we have lived in Florida at sea level and were endeavoring to hike in the mountains at an elevation of more than 7000 feet.
The following day, sore from our athletic escapades in Mesa Verde, we chose to go sightseeing by car to Durango and over Red Mountain Pass and down into Telluride. Durango is an old railroad town from the 1880’s that served the mining industry. It has been restored and is a picturesque and fun tourist town and also where you board the Durango and Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad which travels from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado on steam-powered trains with rolling stock dating back to the 1920s.
All aboard! Next stop Silverton, and off we went.
Silverton today exists primarily for the tourist, with a population of approximately 500, it is representative of what a one street town with a few restaurants and tourist shops should look like. The scenery was beautiful and the steam engine was pretty cool.
We underestimated the time that Durango and Silverton would take and needed to turn back and head to our motorhome for the evening. Red Mountain Pass and Telluride would have to be our next adventure.