Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Vacation Part 6 - Durango

We drove back from Moab to Durango Thursday afternoon. The only thing that we had completely nailed down for the whole trip other than the hotel reservations were tickets on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR on Friday.

Thursday night was spent at what must be the locals hangout - the Old Tymer's Cafe. There was a couple at a table next to us that must have known everyone in Durango, apparent by the number of people that stopped by to say Hi. The food was really good there as well. Durango is an interesting looking city, but it's obvious that tourism is high on its attractions. Moab was the same way.

The next morning we got up and got to the train station really early to pick up our tickets. I was thinking that on a weekday in December, we ought to have a pretty light crowd - WRONG!!! There were 3 different school groups, other families with pre-schoolers and a wedding party. Mark didn't enjoy the trip as much because of the crowds, and I admit that by the end of the day, the kids had gotten on my nerves. But it was really cool riding on the train, and again the scenery was WOW!!!! I got some good shots of the train as we made the curves - steam and smoke belching. And I tried to do justice to the moutains and the Animas River. At one point the river was 700' below the train tracks and the train was hugging the side of a cliff.

I was also surprised that in spite of the cooler weather, the open cars were crowded. Everyone wanted to see the views and get photos of the train as it made its way. And of course, with that many kids, there was some jostling to see.

The train only goes about halfway in the wintertime, then turns around at Cascade Canyon. It was strange being in the train while it backed into one leg of the wye that is used to turn the train. We also stayed at the turnaround point for almost an hour so that everyone could eat and the kids could play in the snow. There were lots of snowball fights!

I grabbed some lunch and staked out my spot on the open car for the return trip so that I could try to get some decent photos. It was a good thing that I did - the car filled up immediately after we started up again.

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