Day 26: The Million-Dollar Highway

The road between Ouray and Silverton is called the Million-Dollar Highway – either because it was very expensive to build or because low-quality ore from the silver or gold mines was used to paved the road. Wednesday morning we followed this road down to Silverton which was a silver mining town. The expensive road went through fantastic mountain landscapes eg. the Mountain Pass (11075 feet). Silverton is a fun city with lots of old houses and very broad dirt streets where it was easy to imagine former days’ horse carts driving through them and the miners coming into town to seek booze, gambling and women (at some point there were 30-40 bordellos in the town!)

We walked round and explored the town until the old train from Durango arrived on the narrow-gauge railway and poured its load of tourists out over the city. Then we left and went south ourselves to Durango – in our little dusty Mazda, though.

Again the road took us through several mountain passes – the Molas pass (10910 feet) and the Coal Bank pass – with more amazing views.

Durango is a larger town, so we had a little lunch at the Carver Brewing Company, before setting out to explore it – delicious lamb burgers and for dessert we shared a Oreo Nutella Tart (which had a crust of oreos, a kind of chocolate mousse and on top a sprinkling of salted peanuts and crispy bacon bits! Which was actually quite delicious! Then we were ready for a walk up and down the Main Street – I mostly looked at the old houses (and a little at the shops in them) and Ole went to have a look at the old railway station and museum.

On our way back over the mountains to Ouray we had to drive through lightening and thunder showers, which made the temperature drop from 80 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes and enveloped the mountains in fog.

In the evening we invited kind our hosts for dinner in downtown Ouray as it was our 31st wedding anniversary. They recommended the Bon Ton restaurant, which served some delicious Italian inspired food.

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