Dan decided that he wanted to ride his bike from Durango to Ouray, 66 miles away. There was no way the kids and I would even consider it, so we wished him well. He left at 5:30 a.m. on Eliza’s bike, which has 21 gears, weighs 30 pounds, and will fit on the tow vehicle’s car rack when we meet him in Ouray to give him a ride back. With the additional water, he was probably carrying another 10 pounds of water. Ouch!
The kids and I left at 8 a.m. to find Potato Lake, supposedly an easy 2+ mile loop a few miles off the main highway. The website said you needed a 4-wheel drive, but we really wanted to see the lake, so we took our little Fiesta and drove as far back as we could then parked it and got out and walked the road. There were many other vehicles parked like ours, and rental Jeeps passed us a few times.
I really like this picture because of the kids, the beautiful lake and view, AND the fact that the unmarked trailhead is behind me, and we didn’t know, so we hiked 8.5 miles round trip trying to find it! Up and down a huge hill in heat so hot Nate took our handkerchiefs, climbed up to a little creek, and got them wet so we could wear them around our necks. We kept going because we wanted the exercise and the views were so good we couldn’t stop. The only reason we finally turned around was that we knew Dan was riding to Ouray and we didn’t want him to beat us.
He beat us! We had to drive up and over the two passes that he rode, and we couldn’t believe he’d done it. He gained over 7,500′ on both passes and again, our little car could barely make it up these huge mountains. Plus, the road was on the edge a few times and I was scared even driving it. I couldn’t imagine riding it and having cars pass quickly on my left. People drove like maniacs, too. I had a semi pass me on a long corner and all I could do was slow down to let him go and shake my head. Double yellow line at 11,000′. Crazy.
Ouray Hot Springs! Heaven! The hottest area of the pool was only 103 degrees, but it felt great for all of us. Dan had ridden the 66 miles in 6 1/2 hours and we had hiked the 8.5 miles in under 3 hours, so we were all sore. We did the slides a few times, but the kids wouldn’t climb up on the water trampoline with me, and I was so nice, I didn’t do it by myself and embarass them. I did swim laps for a 1/2 mile in the lanes and it was heaven, too, but I knew everyone was ready to head home, so I quit and headed over to them.
We did the 66 miles back to Durango with the windows down, the hot wind blowing in, and Nate trying to figure out how to shove one more pretzel stick in his mouth. He made it to 66 and I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. That’s what this trip of a lifetime is all about – fun, sun and memories made during yet another spectacular day. Go live your dream. I guarantee you won’t be sorry.