The weather finally cleared and we decided to drive the San Juan Skyway Loop, 232 miles, one of the most scenic drives in America today. The sun was shining brightly and the mountain peaks were covered in freshly covered snow. From Durango, Colorado we drove north following the Animas River valley and then climbed up to the Molas Pass at 10,899 feet, and all the way down into Silverton, Colorado, founded in 1874. The town’s elaborate Victorian architecture reflects the millions of dollars in gold and silver that were mined here during the 1800’s. Leaving Silverton we climbed the Million Dollar Highway winding through the iron-clad Red Mountains, along the sheer sides of the Uncompahgre Gorge, through tunnels and past cascading waterfalls over the highest elevation at 11,075 feet, and arrived in the town of Ouray, Colorado, known as the “Switzerland of America”. Most of the buildings here were built between 1880 and 1900 and the entire town is a National Historic District. We stopped at the spectacular Box Canyon Falls and the famous hot springs.
On to Telluride, Colorado where we ate lunch at The Brown Dog and explored the town that Bob worked and lived in during the summer of 2009. Telluride was founded in the 1800’s and the town’s heritage includes the first bank robbery by the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch gang on June 24th, 1889. It is now a popular ski resort and international summer festival. It was after 5 o’clock when we left here and we were only half way around the loop, it took us 3 hours to drive on through Rico, Dolores, and Mancos to our RV in Bayfield but it was worth the drive as the scenery was amazing.