Durango

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.

The Jeep in 1976

1966 CJ5 freshly re-done circa 1976.

Disaster Strikes

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. 

The Smell

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.

The 1981 family Colorado Trip

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.

What If?

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.

Jeep roll outside Ouray, CO in 1997.

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?

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?

By the train terminal

By the train terminal

At the train terminal

At the train terminal

Train passenger cars

Train passenger cars

Train controls

Train controls

Not today's train

Not today's train

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

I want this guys job for a week!

I want this guys job for a week!

I remember when.. a deserted Scout 80 body

I remember when.. a deserted Scout 80 body

Sad target

Sad target

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango

What's this??!!??

What's this??!!??

The adventure turns white

The adventure turns white

Data heading up the 4x4 trail

Data heading up the 4x4 trail

Our faux Jeep trip.

Our faux Jeep trip.

The office view I have dreamed of

The office view I have dreamed of

Lake Haviland north of Durango - so clear!

Lake Haviland north of Durango - so clear!

Lake Haviland

Lake Haviland

Lake Haviland north of Durango

Lake Haviland north of Durango

Storybird feeds chipmunk

Boyink feeds chipmunk

A National Forest Stay

We ended up moving sites - some neighbors clued us into the Lake Haviland National Forest campground just up the road that was just opening for the season.  Reservations don’t start until after this weekend so it was first-come first-serve. 

We moved up and got a beautiful lake-front spot.  It’s our first National Forest experience (no park showers, flush toilets, or water connection) so we’re getting some practice being a bit more rustic getting by on just an electric connection.

Jeep Rental Plans

Our plan was to continue to move north, making our way up through Silverton, Ouray, Montrose and Grand Junction then west into Utah. I was hoping to rent a Jeep in the area and do some of the trails we did when I was a kid - but it’s way too early in the season and the Jeep trails are all snowed shut yet. 

Actually the weather further north and higher up isn’t looking favorable at this point so we’ve changed our plan to head back south then over into Utah, heading up through Moab.  I’ll get my Jeep rental there instead..:)

6 Comments Durango

  1. Picture of Dad B Dad B May 15, 2011

    Wow, that brings back memories.  You can remember all those dates of when we were there. You remember my dream was to retire early and buy or run a campground in Ouary?  At least the retire early part came true.

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink May 15, 2011

    I remember the retire early part, but not the run a campground part. Did you ever look into it more seriously? I think you and Mom would have made great campground owner/hosts.

  3. Picture of John John May 17, 2011

    Yea, we have a thing with Colorado too ;-)  We’ve spent a bunch of time in Durango and the Denver area and one of my favorite drives is Durango - Silverton - Ouray - Telluride - Moab.  I love that area!

  4. Picture of Roger & Erika Good & Casey the Dog Roger & Erika Good & Casey the Dog May 21, 2011

    Remember us, we saw you guys in Abiquiu, NM at the campground! So glad your trip through Durango went well. The pictures you took reminds us of why we live here! Thanks for sharing your trip and we will keep an eye on you as you travel. Take Care!

  5. Picture of Boyink Boyink May 22, 2011

    Sure - we remember you!

    Thanks for the comments here…and look for us to possibly be back in your area next summer…

  6. Picture of Data Data June 27, 2011

    I loved this area! Seems it’s a family thing. I can’t wait to return next summer!

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