Saturday, August 6, 2022

September 13

One of the things we were really looking forward to on this part of our trip was the short drive south to Ouray to experience their famous hot springs. Once a mining town Ouray now was a tourist destination enclosed on three and a half sides by mountains. Though we saw no evidence of it I guess it’s a big biker town. It leads to what is known as “The Million Dollar Highway,” (Rt. 550) which is said to be one the most beautiful and dangerous roads in Colorado because of its sharp turns and lack of guardrails. From the north it’s the gateway to Silverton, Telluride and Durango.

But we had seen and driven enough “Million Dollar Highways” all the way out here and we were going to instead luxuriate in the natural thermal pools, vapor caves and hot springs of Ouray. There were public pools, but Donna found a more private experience at the Wesbaden Motel on 5th Street which had a spa kind of vibe and an enthusiastic person manning the desk. It was $25 to use the little hot spring pool and vapor cave for two-hours. Also available for an additional $25 was a private natural pool enclosed by a fence and surrounded with leafy birch trees. It also featured entrancing spa music that made you want to snatch a pebble from a master’s hand.  

At over a hundred degrees these wellsprings were much like a swimming pool hot tub, yet your skin was more or less moisturized from the minerals in the water rather dried out by swimming pool chemicals. It was a really cool experience. This was to be our last day together before Donna had to fly home and she really enjoyed it. She also enjoyed the quaint little town with its shops and their “cutesy” two-hundred-dollar teacups. She and Caroline did a little walking tour while I held my breath waiting outside the Ouray Brewery for a table, hoping to avoid the purchase of another teacup—rarely in our house did anybody even drink tea yet we had all these cups. 

As I waited I took in some of the old-time brick architecture that dotted Main Street. The brick buildings didn’t exactly conger an old west kind of ambiance but did remind you of a time when things were meant to last and weren’t so disposable. These were thick and heavy structures that probably hosted decades of town board meetings with men in wire rim glasses and where the Elks Lodge held court since the 1930’s in their tasseled fez hats.

We were brought back to reality when our table was ready at the brewery. Though I had escaped Donna finding a two-hundred-dollar teacup, we couldn't escape the touristy prices of the brewery which featured a couple of salads and twenty different kinds of burgers and fries at twenty bucks a pop. They had something called “Burger of the Moment,” which as you might have guessed, was a hamburger patty served up in a unique way. Today it came with mountain goat cheese and Donna declared it the best burger ever. I got to finish half of it, and it was pretty good, but everybody knows, the best burger is the next burger.

I had something called the Cluck Norris. Not only was it a funny play on words, it was funny how they tried to dress up what was essentially a chicken sandwich—topped with green apple arugula slaw, smoked gouda, a drizzle of BBQ sauce and jalapeno aioli—what's aioli? That too was pretty good as was the Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger Caroline ordered. 

They came with a not so healthy side of fries. Normally, places like this go a little overboard on the fries to create the illusion of value. It’s like, yes, the burgers are twenty bucks, but look at all the fries that come with it. The Ouray Brewery didn’t even try that. They were more like—Ha, ha, the burger is twenty and here’s a little shitty side order of fries to go with it. By the way, the Cream Ale you just ordered is $7.50 a pint.

Of course, I would never complain about spending a hundred dollars, when you added in the tip, for three sandwiches and three undersized orders of fries—it was the atmosphere, experience and being together that counted. 

We drove back to the Staywise and for a change our swipe cards worked. I did some more laundry while the girls semi-packed up for our departure in the morning and watched some T.V.  

How we got here...
An Ode to Fire and Donna
Chronological Posts From The Road 
Going Mobile: What We Learned
Our Rig: A Pictorial Essay


1 comment:

  1. Some of the opening scenes from The Ranch were filmed in Ouray. Looks like a nice place to visit, but for $7.50 a pint! There's a place in Kenmore that still charges just 4 bucks.