Thursday – October 3, 2013
We departed the Walmart in Cortez, Colorado at 8:50 a.m. We enjoyed a peaceful night’s rest there last night, along with a few other RV’s.
Since the National Parks are closed we decided we would check out the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The fiesta takes place from October 5 to 13. More than 550 hot-air balloons take flight at the world’s premier ballooning event. The fiesta presents morning mass ascensions, races, evening balloon glows and fireworks. Our challenge will be to find a camping spot near Albuquerque, since nearly 700,000 visitor’s flock here to view this event. We’re always up for a challenge, so we will see what unfolds when we get there.
A funny thing happened on the way to Albuquerque! We were eastbound on US-160 to pick up US-550 in Durango, Colorado. South on US-550 would then take us towards Albuquerque. Last minute change in plans! We decided we would spend two nights in Durango. A stop at the Durango Visitor Center steered us to a United Campground; a private campground located 4 miles north of Durango.
United Campground is your typical private campground. They pack the RV’s as close to one another as possible in order to maximize their revenue. However, what differentiates this campground from others are the following features:
- The Animas River runs through the campground.
- The town of Durango provides free trolley service from the campground into town.
- The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad runs through the campground.
The railroad employs historic, coal-fired steam-powered locomotives to pull vintage train cars through the backcountry wilderness of the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. The train car service consists of Presidential Class ($189), First Class ($175), Deluxe Class ($134) and Standard Class ($85).
The five-hour roundtrip train ride takes the visitor to the historic mining town of Silverton through some of the most breathtaking scenery Colorado has to offer. The train follows the Animas River through valleys, canyons and forests. The train gains 3,000 feet in elevation during its journey from Durango to Silverton.
Durango is a quaint, small, mountain town, with a population of close to 17,000. We shall explore it on Friday.
We shall enjoy the electric and water hookups, plus the free security-enabled WiFi service, during our stay here at the United Campground.
Total miles traveled today: 50
Tomorrow another adventure begins.