May 26 – Jon & I drove to Durango from Navajo National Monument. We found a great campground, Lightner Creek Campground to the west of town.
We needed a campground with all the bells and whistles after spending the last several nights without any services. After getting settled in, I worked on laundry and Jon checked on the truck.
Once done, we took the motorcycle out to Durango. We had purchased tickets for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road (D&SNGRR) on May 27.
So we watched the train come in, picked up our tickets, figured out where to park, etc. We spent quite a bit of time walking around Durango checking out the sights. It is a very nice downtown area with lots of restaurants and shops.
We stopped at the Visitor Center to find out a little more about the area before heading back to our campsite.
We had to get an early start to be there in time for the train. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was completed in 1882. Its primary purpose was to haul silver & gold ore to Durango.
We had tickets for the Silver Vista car. It is an car with open windows and a glass top.
Here are details about the Silver Vista car.
They were cleaning the glass on the top of the car when we arrived.
Our train car attendant, Bob, is passionate about the train and provided us with snacks, drinks and lots of information. He was very useful at pointing out really great views to photograph.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was completed in 1882. Its primary purpose was to haul silver & gold ore to Durango. The scenic narrow gauge steam trail follows a 45-mile route that runs along the Animas River which has some pretty dramatic views of the river gorge. The first several miles are through the outskirts of Durango which is not particularly exciting. It did give us a chance to settle in and we saw 3 mule deer eating breakfast by the side of the river.
The rest of the ride is picturesque. Lots of mountains, cliffs, rapids, and small waterfalls.
The river was running really high due to rain and snow melt.
Silverton is a tourist town that caters to the train visitors. Unfortunately, the town has not been doing a thriving business and there are a lot of empty storefronts. Plus, the season hadn’t quite started when we were there and a number of businesses weren’t open yet.
We ate at Grumpy’s. It had the expected sort of 1880’s saloon with a live person playing upright piano. The menu was also the predictable bar food. The food was pretty good considering. They did a great job of moving people through.
We wandered around town for a while. Talked with several shop owners. We found out that Grumpy’s had one of the cleaner kitchens in Silverton.
We wandered down to the riverside and followed a little trail there. We stopped at the train station & toured the museum there. I talked with the dispatcher and petted her boxer puppy.
We caught the train and headed back to Durango. Our trip back was uneventful except for a large number of college students from Lee College in Cleveland, TN on a field trip. We did see a marmot on the way back.
We ate dinner at Francisco’s Restaurante y Cantina in downtown Durango. The food was very good. I had a great margarita.
We rode back to the campsite very tired.