Durango. Silverton. Ouray. Telluride. Animas. Cinnamon. Engineer. Black Bear. Jeeps. C.W. McCall. Fools Gold.
These words have been woven into stories and memories since I was 9 years old, when my Dad purchased a 1966 CJ5 Jeep from a neighbor, hitched it up to the back of our Winnebago motorhome and took the family to Southwest Colorado for a month-long vacation.
Teens On the Loose
Four years later, we did it again only my older brother and I rode Honda 90 trail bikes because the Jeep was too small to sit three kids in the rear. My brother and I didn’t have to stick with the Jeep - we had some freedom to explore local Jeep trails on our own.
To a 13 year old boy this was magic. A motorcycle, incredible scenery, and freedom from parents.
Nine years later at age 18 I purchased that CJ5 from my Dad and 11 years after that as a new parents my wife and I rented a Class C motorhome with my in-laws, again hitched up that CJ5, and came back to this area for another round of Jeeping, sight-seeing and train-riding.
That trip ended on a sour note as I rolled the Jeep 1.25 times on a high mountain trail outside of Ouray.
I didn’t lose my love for this area, however, so just could not continue on to California without a detour back through Colorado and Utah.
MsBoyink found a private park just north of Durango and we made the drive up from New Mexico. Once we had the trailer setup in the spot I went for a walk down by the Animas river and was overwhelmed with nostalgia, sentiment, history, and excitement. The flow of the river heard while looking up at the hills, and the smell.
Yes - the smell. Colorado has always had a distinct smell to me. I’m not sure if it’s the Pines, the water, or just my memory but just breathing in the air is more enjoyable here than anywhere we’ve been yet. We’ve explored downtown. We’ve listened to the steam-powered train chugging up the hill behind the campground. We’ve driven the truck up a rustic mountain road to incredible views. Data and I did mountain biking (more like a long push up a 4x4 trail then a bumpy but exhilarating ride down).
And we started to ponder. Really ponder.
This RV park isn’t quite in full-swing yet, but has a pool. A game room. An ice cream shack. A small gift-shop. Outdoor movies. Dog-sitting.
Durango is nicely located just hours from friends and attractions in NM and AZ. Locally there’s Jeeping, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking. Durango is a decent size town - having a Wal-Mart and a local college.
What if we camp-hosted here? Would they be interested in a family? Could the park put the kids to work? Could we fulfill the park commitment and keep our current businesses going? Could we spend a summer here?
No real answers yet, but there have been conversations. MsBoyink was able to speak to the park owner, who said “I wouldn’t normally consider a family for camp-hosting, but your kids are so well-behaved.” We took an application.
What if indeed?