I have done some exploring of the area near my camp here at Caddis Flats in Placerville, Colorado. Two days ago I rode 25 miles to Ridgeway and checked out a few forest roads along the way. I found some nice isolated campsites but none of them had any cell signal. I would probably move if I could find a more private spot with all the amenities I look for in a temporary home. This campground is okay but a little to close to the main road.
Yesterday I rode to Telluride. The town reminds me of Jerome, AZ., or Julian, CA. There were lots of stores selling trinkets or souvenirs, and restaurants that I could only guess at their prices. The one gas station just outside town had regular for $3.00/gal. I get the sense that the tourists who come here are not worried about what anything costs.
Telluride, Colorado is famous for a world class ski resort, golf course, and even – I found this kind of amusing – an opera house. I didn’t go to the opera or play golf, but the ski resort runs a gondola to the top of the mountain, and it is totally free. You just walk up and get in the gondola. In the summer, mountain bikers ride the gondolas to the top and ride their bikes down several different trails.
The view from the summit was fantastic. At 10,500 feet, 1800 feet higher than Telluride, you get a splendid panoramic view in all directions. I liked that ride very much.
The only other time I got to ride a ski resort gondola for free was when I was hiking the AT. Killington Mountain in Vermont offered free rides in their gondolas to any thruhikers that showed up. The difference was that we were hiking over the top of the mountain and got to ride down and back up. Both places are happy if you get something to eat in their restaurant. I remember buying snacks at a vending machine on Killington.
I was fascinated to learn that there are four stores in Telluride that sell Marijuana. I guess there is more than riding the gondolas that will get you high on the ski slope. Years ago I would have been too shy to go into a store like that just to look around, but my exploratory nature has made me more bold in the last few years.
The shop was small with a glass display of all the smoking pipes and supplies on one side and a chalkboard with prices above a counter on the other. On a shelf above the counter there were several glass jars of different varieties that customers could choose from depending on how they wanted the drug to make them feel. I talked with the young lady behind the counter for a few minutes, asking about the business and then asked if I could take pictures. She let me take one of the display case but she did not want me to photograph the price blackboard behind the counter.
Today I rode west along the San Miguel River. There were several recreation areas, spaced every few miles along the road, and I stopped at several to see what they offered. I sometimes wish I liked to fish or had a kayak to enjoy on rivers like these.
I did find places where it is legal to prospect for gold, and later in the afternoon I returned with my gold pan and spent about an hour panning beside the river. I found several flecks of gold, but they were so small I washed most of them back into the river. The gold found along this river is mostly tiny grains and hardly worth the time.
I have explored every road north, east, and west of here. After the weekend it will be time to move on.