Day 8: Durango (Colorado) to Chama (New Mexico)

A two hour drive to Chama today.  This takes us into New Mexico - our final state of the trip.  Before leaving Durango we thought we'd give it another chance.  It has a population of 1.5 million so it can't just be what we saw when we were looking for a supermarket.  Turns out downtown is very nice.  Below is 'Iris Bridge' named after Durango Madam, Nellie "Iris" Spencer.

I enjoyed being a sporting person. Some of the guys were nice, some were sons of guns.
— Nellie "Iris" Spencer

Every hundred steps or so was a small picture of a rabbit with the slogan; "Books this way" and an arrow.  We followed them until we eventually got to some coloured chalk on the road with an arrow leading to a book store.  It was closed.


We hung a right to try and find some food.  Turns out Colorado is closed on a Sunday.  There were some prettily coloured houses, but food?  No.


Seeing a sign for another named rock (this time Chimney Rock) we headed over.  It was closed.  How do you close a rock?  No idea, but they had.

Further down the highway, we saw the Turkey Springs Trading Post.  I saw some cheeseburgers wrapped in foil vaguely heating.  Looked like the kind of thing that would come back and bite you.  Still - I was hungry.  The sign below was outside.  I decided against stealing anything.


Leaving the red rocks of Utah behind the landscape somehow knew to change and was replaced by lot of hills in what I assume were pines or spruces.


And then... goodbye to Colorado and hello to New Mexico.


We couldn't seem to type the address into the GPS so we just headed for the centre of Chama.  We drove up and down the main street but no joy.  Back at the far end of town we stopped outside a bar and decided to go in, have a drink and ask.  The lemonade tasted like death.  We did, however, get instructions.  "Two miles down the road.  Over the river.  On the right."  Then there it was.  Booked into room 105 we unpacked then went for a small walk to stretch our legs before getting back in the car to look for old buildings to photograph.


On the way back we dropped into the local shop to pick up some food.  I saw some "Fireball" Cinnamon Whiskey.  It was either going to be surprisingly nice, or we'd use it to unblock a drain. (Spoiler: It was actually quite nice - in moderation.)

I was ID'd.  Me.  They asked for ID.  I had to show my driving licence.

Day 7: Monticello to Durango (Colorado)

It was nice having a house after some hotels so we made the most of it and hung around until 11 am.  The next hotel was in Durango (Colorado) and was only two hours away with a check-in time of 3 pm so we had a few hours to kill.

First port of call was the Stateline Bar & Grill just over the border into Colorado in a town called Dove Creek.  You're probably thinking; "Dove Creek - Why does that ring a bell?"  Well, it's the self-proclaimed Pinto Bean Capital of the World.  That's probably it.


Driving out of Dove Creek we hung a quick right when we saw a town called Yellow Jacket.  Nothing but a post office (which opened in 1915).  A population of zero I suspect.  The name, I later learnt, came from the abundance of yellow jackets (a type of wasp) near the original site of the town.


A quick walk around the Narraguinnep Reservoir and the back in the car to the Anasazi Heritage Center.  The centre is an archaeological museum of Native American pueblo and hunter-gatherer cultures.


Around the side of the centre you can work your way up the hill and from the top you can see McPhee Reservoir.  When the reservoir was constructed it covered the original resting place of the artefacts now found in the museum.


On to the hotel in Durango.  It's full and proper name is the Free and Sovereign State of Durango.  Wikipedia says it's called both "the land of the scorpions" and as "the land of cinema".  I'm pretty sure Hollywood is the land of cinema, but hey - what do I know?

The major occupations in Durango are farming, logging, mining, and ranching.

All very interesting I know.