“Fall Down & Around Tour” Days 46-50 (of 104)
Friday October 16-Tuesday October 20
Day 1: Friday
We left Denver early in the morning with our truck packed full of music equipment, camping equipment and clothes/supplies for 5 days, not entirely knowing what our plan was. In addition, we had our two boys and my sisters dog, Revy, with us.
The drive was gorgeous!
The last 10 miles or so driving into Telluride, which is nestled at the bottom of a boxed canyon, meaning there is one way in and one way out, was a gorgeous drive lined with the colors of fall. The road followed a river that was surrounded by vibrant yellow & orange fall leaves, with bright red leaves sprinkled throughout the landscape and green pine to round out the colors. The backdrop to the fall trees was a deep red & gray rock canyon.
The drive in is so incredible it nearly takes your breath away.
Once we arrived we stopped in to grab our key to the condo we’d call home for two nights. Alongside our entire condo building and into the town of Telluride was a well-kept, very clean trail that followed a river. The dogs particularly loved stretching their legs and playing on the trail! We loved the quiet serenity of the trail.
Curtiss had a show Friday night at Fly Me To The Moon Saloon. It was a great venue with a stage, dance floor and full-on light show.
We were warmly welcomed, which had been the initial trend in Telluride – everyone we had met so far was very friendly & always smiling.
Late that night, around 2am, my sister, niece, and best friend, Meg, made it in to town from Denver. They were crashing with us in Telluride for the weekend!
Day 2: Saturday
Sawyer woke me up around 7:30, his usual wake-up time, and I took all 3 dogs out to go potty. Smelling the fall air and feeling the crispness on my cheeks was the best way to wake-up. When I went inside, Syniah, my niece, had been awake for a while now, and anxious to go outside “to the mountains.” I bundled her up, changed my clothes and we went on a walk to the gondola, which uniquely is the only free gondola in the United States. It’s a 13-minute ride from Telluride (pictured below), over the mountain, and into Mountain Village.
Mountain Village (pictured above) is a beautiful, resort style, ski town village full of shops and eateries. We stopped into Telluride Coffee to get a hot drink and muffin to share.
By the time we made it back to the condo I was so full of energy and excitement being in such an incredible spot. Everyone at the condo was laughing at me, asking if they put some kind of drug in my coffee I was so excited. I told them, just wait! Just wait until they get outside and experience some of Telluride!
After we made a big breakfast we all (including the dogs) headed to the gondola. We got off at the halfway point and walked around, letting the dogs run free, and taking tons of pictures of the incredible views in every direction.
Here’s our crew!
The dogs tore it up:
We spent about an hour at the top mesmerized by the mountains. We were surrounded by mountains on all sides. In the distance you could see the airport:
We couldn’t believe that the runway ended on a cliff. My first gondola ride up, Syniah and I rode with a pilot who used to live in Telluride. He said it’s one of the scariest airports he’s had to land in. He laughed and commented that he’s seen many pilots step out of their plane white-faced, and thankful they were able to land.
After exploring the top a bit, we headed back down the gondola into downtown Telluride.
The town looks like an old western mountain town, that has been very well maintained. The view of the boxed canyon from town is just incredible. Main street is filled with boutiques, a few tourist t-shirt shops, name-brand outdoor adventure stores, such as Patagonia, and a ton of taverns, restaurants, bars & coffee shops.
Curtiss had a show that night in Mountain Village at Tomboy Tavern. To drive to Mountain Village (as opposed to taking the gondola) it’s about a 10-minute drive, up a steep windy road that hugs the side of the mountain. The ski lodges at the top are breathtakingly beautiful.
Before the show, we had dinner with a couple, Jeff & Shine who have lived in Telluride the past 30 years. Jeff spent his childhood summers in Onekama, and his brother now lives in Onekama, which is how we got connected with Jeff. Coincidently Jeff and Shine saw Curtiss play last summer at Onekama Days and loved his music.
Jeff & Shine are two of the kindest, most welcoming people we have met in all of our travels. Their story of how they landed in Telluride was interesting to hear, and listening to stories of the mountain 30 years ago versus where it’s at now, and the role Jeff has had in that, was fascinating to listen to.
We were warmly introduced to several people who worked on the mountain, or were part of booking concerts in Telluride. Again, everyone was kind, welcoming and very happy. It’s as if we could feel the passion they had for the area, in their voices and through conversation.
As per the usual, Curtiss’s music was loved by all in attendance at Tomboy Tavern. He was invited to come back again, and we eagerly accepted the invites. Any reason to come back to Telluride, we were game!
Day 3: Sunday
Sunday we drove the road that led us to the boxed canyon. We saw a road that winded up the edge, and cars driving it, so figured we’d give it a shot. It was one of the scarier roads we have ever driven! Some of the hairpin turns were so sharp we had to pull forward, back up, and then complete the turn.
The road led us to a parking lot at the base of this waterfall:
At the top of the waterfall sat an old hydroelectric plant from the early 1900’s. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. It’s position on the side of this sheer cliff was wild.
Once at the top we had incredible views.
We could see this old railroad track that went INTO the mountain. We didn’t have time to check it out this trip, but Curtiss said, “next time we are definitely going down there!” (yikes!) Here’s a close-up and one a bit further to give you some perspective.
Along side the canyon where we were at, there is a climb you can do called the via ferrata. It’s on my bucket list for our next visit!
We had dinner that night at Brown Dog Pizza, an internationally award winning pizza spot, coincidently owned by a past UofM football player. The pizza was really good, but a small pizza, which consisted of only 4 slices, was $15.
That night we stayed in Placerville, about a 30-minute drive from Telluride, at Jeff & Shine’s cabin behind their house. It was a rustic, old cabin, with that mountain town charm to it. Initially, Curtiss and I had planned to camp, but were thrilled when Jeff & Shine offered us a spot to sleep, as it dropped into the 30’s during the nights and stormed.
Day 4: Monday
Today we drove to Mountain Village and explored some of the mountain trails. Of course in the winter, it’s all skiable terrain, but in the non-snowy months there are miles upon miles of hiking and biking trails.
As per the entire trip, the views were incredible! Here are some of our favorites from the hike:
We had dinner that night with Jeff & Shine at their place. It was so fun hearing them talk of their love for Telluride, why the came and why they have never left. Curtiss and I could easily see ourselves spending a season in Telluride…that turns into a lifetime. Pictures and words simply do not do it justice!
Day 5: Tuesday
Before we left town, we stopped into the Telluride Elementary school (it is the elementary, even though it says high school)
Since we were in town, we took the opportunity to introduce ourselves, hint that I’d love a job, and see what kind of an environment the school had. It was an old building that had been renovated. There were huge windows throughout the school that brought in an incredible amount of natural light. The teachers we met were all very friendly, talked of their love for Telluride, and a few laughed at how they came for a season, and did what so many do…they stayed.
The downside to teaching in Telluride is the cost of living. Most houses in Telluride fall within the $500,000 range and up, with several houses falling in the multi-million dollar category. This of course effects the cost of rent…and the overall cost of living. We were told most teachers live outside of Telluride and commute.
We were sad to leave Telluride that morning, but anxious to come back and explore more. With all fingers and toes crossed, we can be back the end of March to catch the tail end of their winter season!